Tag Archives: Kansas State turnovers

Health benefits of drinking the purple Kool-Aid

10 Nov

No other team in the country is as good at keeping ahold of the football as the Kansas State Wildcats. (Photo by Shane Keyser, Austin American-Statesman)

Mistake-free football. It’s not a particularly sexy slogan. In fact, it’s kind of boring.

Glitzy or not, the embrace of this mentality gives Kansas State a chance to win every game. I would even say it gives the Wildcats the advantage in every game.

One would be hard-pressed not to pick Kansas State no matter who it plays, simply because the Wildcats so rarely hurt themselves. They perform consistently regardless of who is on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

While researching for the turnover story I wrote this week, I found myself stunned by how excellent Kansas State truly is when it comes to not turning over the football.

I’ll touch on some of the numbers that demonstrate that claim in a moment, but maybe a piece of anecdotal evidence is even more compelling. There was a play during the Texas Tech game that everyone noticed at that instant but which did not receive near the attention it deserved.

On third and 10 on Kansas State’s first drive of the Texas Tech game, Collin Klein had his arm cocked back to throw when a Red Raider stormed in from Klein’s blind side and tackled the quarterback by the wrist of his throwing arm. Sack.

Klein held onto the ball.

I don’t know how. I don’t know if he could tell you how. You can the situation in the photo above, or you can watch the video clip here, at the 13:25 mark, and try to figure it out for yourself.

Maintaining possession never looked so unlikely. The composure and toughness shown by Klein to keep ahold of that football feels indicative of the gritty, determined mindset that coach Bill Snyder has cultivated in this group.

As a result of that emphasis, through nine games the Wildcats have committed only four turnovers _ and just one happened in conference play.

Kansas State is one of just two teams in the nation who can count the number of turnovers it has committed on one hand. The other is unranked Ohio.

 

Mighty Alabama has eight giveaways. Noble Notre Dame has 11. High-flying Oregon has 18.

What makes the difference for the Wildcats? Kansas State puts an emphasis on avoiding and creating turnovers in practice. Coaches instruct defensive players to go all out and try to strip the ball from the offensive starters. Ball carriers go through security drills every single day. There is always someone yelling to keep the ball up high. Putting the ball on the ground results in live practice results in consequences – though players say that doesn’t happen often.

Sure, avoiding turnovers and creating turnovers are only two factors, but they are important ones. They’ve sure made a difference so far, and they will continue to going forward.

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