Season still could turn around


    Sure, the K-State defense hasn’t quite gotten things turned around. The Wildcats gave up more than 500 yards of total offense and 30 points to an awful Texas A&M team.
    They realize there is plenty of room for improvement. If the Wildcats want to make a bowl game this season, they’ll need to do a lot better than they did Saturday against the Aggies.
    But it was not all bad.
    In the first quarter, Josh Freeman fumbled and the defense responded by holding the Aggies to a three-and-out. K-State then blocked the A&M punt and scored a touchdown.
    In the fourth quarter with K-State up 30-16, the Aggies had the ball on the Wildcats’ two-yard line on third down. Texas A&M brought in Jorvorskie Lane, the 270-pound battering ram who specializes in short-yardage situations.
    Instead of allowing the big bruiser to score, the defense stopped Lane twice. The offense took over on downs and drove 98 yards for a touchdown in 16 plays to ice the game.
    “We’ve got a lot of young guys who haven’t played in that environment,” linebacker Reggie Walker said. “So anytime we can get any type of momentum, it helps us.”
    Confidence is important for any team. The Wildcats didn’t have a perfect afternoon by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a start.
    It’s not like they weren’t trying to make big plays before Saturday. They were.
    The reality is that this defense is still not very good. Even with improvements, they will not dominate any Big 12 Conference team even on a good day.
    But they can get better.
    “I just think it helps because the coaches can give us good examples of what we’re supposed to do,” Walker said. “It just really helps us with our psyche, knowing that we can get big stops and we can make big plays.”
    The Wildcats offense can score points. K-State’s special teams units are some of the best in the Big 12.
    The defense doesn’t have to dominate anyone — they just have to make plays every once in a while.
    It’s hard to make plays when your confidence is drained.
    Before the A&M game, the defense’s shortcomings were beginning to snowball in the negative direction.
    It’s hard to go to practice when the coaches have nothing good to point out. It’s hard to improve when you’re surrounded by negativity.
    I don’t know if this defense can turn it around, but with a performance like it had Saturday, there’s a chance that they can.

Jon Garten is a senior in print journalism. Send comments to