Bill Snyder didn't get to this point by being complacent.
A 7-2 record combined with a performance that saw his offense post 45 points against a top-five team hasn't quelled Snyder's thirst for offensive balance. Instead, nine games into the season, it's the one area that most concerns the veteran head coach.
Kansas State's offensive numbers this year aren't exactly what you'd call an even split. The Wildcats have posted 1,995 yards rushing the football this season and a mere 1,275 passing it. Still, the number of attempts makes the difference in those numbers look narrow. Of the 631 offensive plays K-State has run this season, only 201 have resulted in passes.
The disparity in the statistics is one that has Snyder's full attention.
"We'd like to have balance in our offense," Snyder said on Tuesday. "We've run the ball with a certain degree of success. We can enhance that by being a little bit more effective in the passing game."
Against Oklahoma State last Saturday, the numbers were more to his liking. In a 52-45 loss, the Wildcats gained 231 yards through the air and 276 on the ground. Apparently, the new look wasn't a fluke. The newfound offensive balance is something Snyder feels is a product of quarterback Collin Klein becoming more comfortable going through his full progression before pulling down the ball to run.
According to Snyder, an eight-game-long search for a serviceable passing attack finally seems to be yielding results.
"I think that took place this last week," Snyder said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to maintain that balance for the remainder of the season. It remains to be seen, but we'd like to be able to. I don't know if it's a matter of Collin gaining more confidence, but it's a matter of him throwing the ball a little bit more. He's always had confidence."
SNYDER SPEAKS ON PENN STATE SITUATION
On Tuesday, Snyder was asked to comment on the sex-abuse scandal that rocked the Penn State campus this weekend. The K-State head coach shared his thoughts about reports that head coach Joe Paterno, a personal friend, may be forced to part ways with the program because of the situation that currently consumes his the Nittany Lion program.
"I saw the newscast. I didn't necessarily garner the feeling that he was gone, and I don't know why he would be," Snyder said of Paterno. "I haven't spoken to Joe since this has taken place, and I'm really saddened by all of this. I didn't know (accused child molester and former Penn State assistant) Jerry Sandusky, but I know he was a very fine football coach. It's really is saddening. I know this: I know Joe Paterno is an honest, forthright individual. I trust immensely that whatever his response is … I trust that it's accurate. But I know it has to be a sad day there and I feel badly for all involved, whichever side it might be on."
HITS ON KLEIN PILING UP
Quarterback Collin Klein accounts for 47 percent of K-State carries this season and 48 percent of its rushing yards. The junior is also responsible for the majority of the blood spilled on Saturdays. Nearly every game has left the signal-ball visibly battered, often times resulting in extended session in the training room.
Klein was not made available to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, but his head coach was asked about what toll the weekly grind has had on his quarterback, a quarterback that has quickly built a reputation for being "hard-nosed."
"We talk about Collin, and Collin is a very tough young guy," Snyder said. "But we have a lot of guys who take hits. So does everybody else. You have running backs in the conference that carry the ball 25 times and get hit the same way. That's the nature of the game, and Collin handles it as well as anybody can."
Snyder said that he has started to cut back on practice hours in an effort to rest some of his players. The head coach noted than not many of his team's games have been in hand in the early going this season, forcing him to stick with his starters for the entirety of most contests.
The practice-field cutbacks, which Snyder said started two weeks ago, are nothing new, as shortening up workouts at this time of year has always been his policy.
"Our Monday practice is reasonable shorter," Snyder said. "Thursday's practice is reasonably short, and we cut back on our Tuesday and Wednesday practices."
Snyder also pointed out that he has concerns about depth beyond his two-deep, but such concerns have nothing to do with his choice to shorten late-season practices.
SNYDER NOT IN THE MOOD TO WAX NOSTAGIC
This Saturday will represent the seventh time a Snyder-coached Wildcat team has played Texas A&M, which will depart the Big 12 for the SEC prior to next season. When asked for his thoughts about the series potentially coming to close this weekend, the K-State head coach was apathetic.
"I have not given any thought to that whatsoever," he said. "That doesn't have any impact on me."