K-State ready for Baylor after bye week

K-State football players exit the tunnel for the game against Oklahoma State on Nov. 5, 2016, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Abby Cambiano | The Collegian)

The Kansas State football team is coming off a bye week after eight straight games and a tough 43-37 loss to Oklahoma State. Head coach Bill Snyder and select players held their weekly press conference on Tuesday. Here are two things that stood out:

1. K-State is ready for Baylor and true freshman quarterback Zach Smith.

Baylor’s starting quarterback senior Seth Russell fractured his left ankle in the Bears’ loss to Oklahoma on Saturday and is done for the season. That leaves freshman quarterback Zach Smith to take the reins of the Baylor offense on Saturday against the Wildcats.

Smith came in against Oklahoma on Saturday and threw for 144 yards and a touchdown. Snyder said he thinks Smith is capable of leading the Bears offense just fine.

“He is a good, young guy,” Snyder said. “I like the poise in which he seemed to handle himself, thrust into the situation he was in this past week. In the previous ballgames, it was substantial leads that put him on the field and he handled those fine, but under the pressure that existed in that ballgame, I thought he was as collected as anybody you can imagine.”

While Baylor has been known for airing it out frequently in past years, this year’s offense has relied heavily on the run, which is something that should help the young quarterback out.

The Bears will have senior running back Shock Linwood back to help out the run game after being suspended against Oklahoma. Linwood is the school’s all-time leading rusher.

“I think he will be everything that he has always been,” Snyder said. “I do not think there has been any let up in that regard and he is a very talented running back. I like the others that they have as well, three young guys that I think do quite well and they have proven that.”

2. The bye week proved beneficial.

While the sting of losing late in such a close game against Oklahoma State had to last a while, the bye week came at a good time for the Wildcats. Snyder and players said the bye week was beneficial, as K-State played eight straight games since their last Saturday off.

“It was pretty good to get the mental break,” freshman running back Alex Barnes said. “Being able to wake up on Saturday and watch football for a change was nice.”

Snyder said the bye week can be good and bad, depending on how you look at it.

“Well, as I have said so many recent times, open weeks can be different from time to time,” Snyder said. “Part of it has to do with who you are playing against, part of it is how the young people in your program — and the coaches — handle that period of time. … The downside is you can lose the continuity, to a certain degree, of playing every single week. Obviously, there are positive things like giving the players a peace of mind, so to speak, not that there are any real significant days off, but nevertheless the opportunity to not be under the gun constantly.”

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