K-State looks at bye week as an opportunity to chisel the stone

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Junior quarterback Skylar Thompson watches K-State's defense play during their football game against Baylor in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 5, 2019. The Wildcats fell to the Bears 31-12. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State Wildcats are on their second bye week of the season, which comes at a crucial time after a loss to Baylor on Saturday.

The defeat exposed some concerns on both sides of the ball, but the Wildcats get an extra week to regroup before taking on TCU at home.

During Tuesday’s press conference, head coach Chris Klieman said the biggest aspect to work on is the offensive side.

“We have to eliminate our negative plays,” Klieman said. “We are getting seven [yards], getting eight, getting nine, and all of the sudden we miss a block. We miss a read. We miss a cut, and all of the sudden we lose two, we lose three.”

Klieman said the Wildcats will focus on cleaning up things internally this week as opposed to spending two weeks scouting TCU.

The second bye week comes in only the sixth week of the season, creating a grueling road to the end of the season with seven straight weeks of conference play.

In back-to-back losses, it can be easy to believe the sky is falling, but senior defensive tackle Trey Dishon said the team is still calm and collected.

“People think the demeanor is not good, but we lost two games,” Dishon said. “We are not 0-5. We’re 3-2, so it’s not bad at all right now.”

Dishon said K-State can right the ship after the two losses.

“We’re just keeping guys positive, keeping guys on the right track, doing things right and mostly getting fits right and playing better on Saturday, how we execute,” Dishon said.

The offensive line has struggled to open up holes for big yardage in the last two games, and junior quarterback Skylar Thompson was also sacked six times in the game against Baylor.

The offensive line needs to clean up the little things before it becomes an issue, senior offensive lineman Adam Holtorf said.

“It’s just a lot of little things, and those little things add up, and everybody realizes it,” Holtorf said. “We’ve gotta look at each different piece of our game and ways to improve that.”

But the path forward isn’t clear.

“I wouldn’t say there is a thread or a common, consistent idea that has been the issue,” Holtorf said.

With the loss of redshirt freshman wide receiver Malik Knowles to injury, the receiving core had to pick up the slack. Knowles suited up and played in the game against Baylor, but left the field early in the game and did not return.

True freshman Joshua Youngblood has been a strong addition to the receiving group and has grown to be a reliable wideout for the Wildcats. Youngblood said it’s an opportunity to step up.

“We have a lot of playmakers in the room, so we just have to step up,” Youngblood said. “We know we can do it. We do it every day in practice. We all make plays, so we just gotta do it when the lights are on.”

K-State will face off against TCU, who will also be coming off a bye week, on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 1:30 p.m. in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The game will air on the Fox Sports Network.

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