Continuation without repetition: Wildcats look to build off of 2013-14 season

Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian Junior defensive end Ryan Mueller prepares to sack KU quarterback Jake Heaps for a loss of ten yards during the first quarter of the annual Sunflower Showdown Saturday in Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. Mueller is now tied for the K-State sacks per season record at 11.5 sacks this season. The Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks 31-10, bringing their current win streak in the series against their intrastate rivals to five. Mueller is now tied for the K-State sacks per season record at 11.5 sacks this season.

Deante Burton said he remembers, all too well, what it was like to walk off the field in a season-opening loss.

Rest assured, the Manhattan native and his teammates are prepared to change the conversation this Saturday against Stephen F. Austin.

“Losing to North Dakota State is something that those guys, who were on that team who are still here, will never forget,” Burton said. “We talk about it all the time, not taking anything for granted and not getting out to a slow start. That’s something that Coach Snyder and our senior class harps on all the time. We’re not going to play any teams that are slouches. You’re playing college football, there’s no small schools or easy teams to beat.”

Following the loss to the Bison, K-State head coach Bill Snyder was quite candid over his team’s performance. Nearly a year later, his message of daily improvements hasn’t changed.

“Number one: not taking anything for granted, not taking their own performance for granted, not taking their improvement for granted and not taking opponents for granted,” Snyder said. “I think the other component is just to continue to improve. It is just not a week of preparation that you plateau in your improvement. That has to be ongoing throughout the course of the year. Just keep getting better and that is virtually what we talk about.”

Jake Waters has been vocal in his excitement that has extended from last year’s bowl victory over Michigan, but the senior signal-caller was the first to say it’s important to recognize the beginning of a new chapter on Saturday.

“You’ve got a guy like Tyler (Lockett), experience with Curry (Sexton) and me having the experience from last year, but that doesn’t really mean anything until we go out and prove it this Saturday,” Waters said. “From Saturday, it goes on with a couple of Thursdays, but it doesn’t really matter until we go out and prove it.”

For the first time since the Big 12’s inaugural season in 1996, K-State will play its opening conference in the first two weeks of the season against Iowa State on Sept. 6.

Just 12 days later, Auburn (the defending national runner-up) await the Wildcats on ESPN’s national Thursday night broadcast.

However, Lockett said the Wildcats are zoned in on Saturday.

“Everybody on the team is looking forward to that game, but there are times when people could have been looking forward to the Texas game last year and we ended up getting beat by a great North Dakota State team,” Lockett said. “Teams are going to play to compete. They aren’t just going to lay down and let you win. We understand everything we have here and we understand that we have a great opportunity when we play Auburn, but we can’t forget about the other two games.”