April 21, 2006

Cats know special teams are key

Tim Tibesar as a first-team Division II linebacker at North Dakota was so emphatic about studying game film that he often threw rocks at coach Dale Lennon's office window late at night to get into the building. For the first time in a long time, Kansas State has a special teams coach. Players believe Tibesar has devised ways to improve the cog often critical in deciding close games.


SPRING STORY LINE: Good thing first-year coach Ron Prince said he wasn't going to watch film of 2005. He would discover the Kansas State special teams weren't exactly special last season. At least nine mistakes in all areas of special teams cost the Wildcats 41 points during the Big 12 Conference season.

The bevy of follies that started at Oklahoma with the absent punter became most glaring at Nebraska: one blocked field goal, one blocked extra-point attempt and a penalty that negated a Wildcats' two-point conversion off of a blocked kick. K-State lost 27-25 on a last-minute 40-yard field goal, thwarting its chances of a bowl game.

"It goes to show you that special teams, in every game, have a difference on the outcome," said place-kicker Jeff Snodgrass. "If you don't show up one day on any part of special teams, it can make or break a game."

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