Strong defense necessary for winning football season


Can K-State football be relevant in the Big 12 Conference, and can K-State be the dominant school in the state of Kansas again?

A simple answer to that question is none other than “The Legend” himself, Bill Snyder. During Snyder’s previous stint as head coach, the Wildcats won 136 games and went to 11 consecutive bowl games while posting a record of 13-4 against that other Kansas team.

The Big 12 is much different this time around as the conference now features a plethora of teams that have pass-happy offenses. Texas is no longer a running team, Texas Tech never runs the ball and Oklahoma returns a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.

The Big 12 North Division also features teams that like to air it out. Nebraska no longer runs the Power-I formation. KU quarterback Todd Reesing has thrown for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons.

The way to contend with teams like those and win the Sunflower Showdown is to play solid defense. Snyder knows defense wins championships, and that’s why he hired two defensive coordinators with BCS coaching experience — Chris Cosh and Vic Koenning.

Defense was one of the staple points in Snyder’s first tenure at K-State. Past defensive coordinators Bob Stoops, Jim Leavitt and Phil Bennett each continued to become head coaches at Division 1A football programs.

Snyder returns a defense that left a lot to be desired in 2008. The 2008 Wildcat defense ranked near the bottom in every major statistical category after giving up 500 yards of total offense eight out of the last 10 contests.

The 2009 Wildcats do boast a new defensive look; they switched from the ineffective 3-4 scheme to the 4-2-5 look. The new defense should better suit the players on K-State’s roster and put more athletes on the field against the pass-happy offenses of the conference.

Players like junior cornerback Josh Moore and sophomore defensive end Brandon Harold provide much-needed talent and experience for a defense that had few, if any, bright spots in 2008. Returning linebackers sophomore Alex Hrebec and senior John Houlik also look to make a difference for the Wildcats this season. Koenning and Cosh have been inserting new players like junior safety Emmanuel Lamur, junior cornerback David Garrett, senior defensive tackle Jeffrey Fitzgerald and sophomore defensive end Kadero Terrell in hopes of regaining the “Lynch Mob” defensive mentality that K-State once had in Snyder’s first stint.

If K-State’s defense can again become a staple point of Snyder’s team, they should definitely surprise a lot of critics by becoming relevant again in the Big 12. By the time the Jayhawks come to town on Nov. 7, the Wildcats should have a stingy defense ready to bring the Governor’s Cup back to where it belongs.

Grizzlies make offer to Iverson

Allen Iverson twittered again Wednesday, saying the Grizzlies have made him an offer — and Memphis says it’s true.

Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace told Wednesday night that negotiations between the sides have heated up to the point where the Grizzlies have made their first formal offer.

“We’ve been in touch on a fairly consistent basis and had dialogue with his agent, Leon Rose, since the beginning of free agency,” Wallace said.

Bradley feels hated in Chicago

Milton Bradley said he’s experienced plenty of hatred during his rough first season with the Chicago Cubs after signing a three-year, $30 million contract.

Bradley has been booed at times by the impatient fans at Wrigley Field during Chicago’s disappointing season.

“When I go home and look in the mirror, I like what I see. I have people I can talk to who are very supportive, in spite of everything and all the adversity and the hatred you face on a daily basis. But I’ll be all right. I always have.”

Jets name Sanchez starter

The future is now for the new face of the New York Jets, Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez was selected as the team’s starting quarterback by coach Rex Ryan on Wednesday, making him the first rookie slated to open a season under center for the Jets.

“This comes with a lot of responsibility,” a beaming Sanchez said. “As happy as I am, I know that this is just the beginning, and I’m just excited, really excited to get to play with such great players.”

The fifth overall draft pick out of Southern California beat out Kellen Clemens for the job and will make his regular-season debut at Houston on Sept. 13.

Raiders coach to be questioned The Napa, Calif., police department plans to question Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable about his alleged role in a skirmish that left assistant coach Randy Hanson with a broken bone in his face. A spokesperson said Cable would be interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation. Hanson was hospitalized following the Aug. 5 attack that he told police was initiated by a member of the Raiders coaching staff at the team’s training camp hotel. According to reports, Cable attacked Hanson during a meeting with some of the team’s defensive coaches.

“When all the facts come out, everything will be fine,” he said.

Hanson has spoken to Napa police and has not been seen at Raiders camp since the incident. The case was initially closed and then reopened Friday when Hanson agreed to cooperate with authorities.

“Hanson’s future with the team is currently being addressed,” a Raiders executive said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Hanson has retained an attorney specializing in employment law, potentially signaling yet another lawsuit for team owner Al Davis, who’s already locked in a legal battle with former Oakland coach Lane Kiffin.