Jonathan Truman heard the reporter’s question clear as day as he looked down at his hands thinking of how he would phrase his response. After a few seconds, he glanced back up and answered.
“As a team, we talk about getting better every day, and to this point I think we’ve done that,” he said. “We want to continue doing that.”
Straightforward, check. Predictable, check. True? You better believe it.
Ten weeks into the season, K-State (6-1, 4-0) is the only team in the Big 12 that can say it controls its own destiny when it comes to the conference title and College Football Playoff race.
They can say that because they beat Stephen F. Austin and Iowa State despite everyone asking about their clash with SEC powerhouse Auburn.
They can say that because they trampled over one of the nation’s top running backs in UTEP’s Aaron Jones and out-performed a dangerous Texas Tech offense before ever turning their attention over to Oklahoma.
They can say that because they just endured two grueling games in a span of two weeks and came out on top in both, earning their first conference shutout since the peak of the Darren Sproles and Ell Roberson era in 2003 along the way.
“Every game is a different challenge, and I think we kind of like that,” Truman said. “We like to have new challenges each week.”
K-State players and coaches speak about the value of daily improvement like it’s the only thing hanging in the balance between them winning or losing — and, in a way, it is.
The cornerstone of this program isn’t a big football cathedral in the form of a stadium. It’s not jersey combinations or high-profile recruits. Rather, it’s a roster of hard-working, often blue-collar-type players, who recognize the importance of every day on the calendar as it relates to football.
“Nothing changes for us,” head coach Bill Snyder said. “We still take it a day at a time and a snap at a time. They all mean a significant amount. Like I said before, this will be the most important game they will play.”
It’s easy to talk about the importance of every practice and every game, but Snyder and his staff have done an excellent job at getting their players to buy into the value of actually believing it — and it’s easy to see that they do.
“We are trying to get better every day and go out there and improve,” senior offensive lineman Drew Liddle said earlier this season. “We are trying to make it about ourselves and not our opponent.”
So when Jonathan Truman stands up in front of a dozen recorders and cameras and proclaims that his teammates are focused on the daily grind, there’s no reason to doubt him. When Bill Snyder says Oklahoma State is the most important game on their schedule right now, you best believe him.
K-State has given us every reason to believe in their idea of daily improvement. If you haven’t yet bought into it, now’s the time.