It’s hard to imagine anyone hating anything more than Bill Snyder hates penalties.
Garfield and Mondays might come close. Same goes for Michael Scott and Toby Flenderson. But those rivalries have got nothing on K-State’s football coach and his aversion for yellow flags.
“He hammers it,” K-State right tackle Dalton Risner said. “It’s one of those things where, you know when you hear the saying, ‘I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed?’ Well, he’s mad and he’s disappointed.”
Snyder had lots to be mad and disappointed about following K-State’s sloppy opening victory against South Dakota in which the Wildcats were penalized 13 times for 129 yards.
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“To have 13 penalties during the course of a ballgame,” Snyder said, “I can’t remember during my tenure here having 13 penalties in one ballgame … you’d certainly have to go back some time.”
Some of them were more costly than others. An illegal block negated a punt-return touchdown by Duke Shelley and holding penalties erased first downs. The worst sequence of the game occurred on an Eli Walker interception. Not only was it wiped away by a pass-interference penalty, Walker was subsequently flagged for spiking the football. Not only did South Dakota retain possession, they benefited from 30 yards of field position.
Several days later, Snyder remains displeased.
“We left a lot of points on the stadium floor through our own mistakes,” Snyder said. “It goes to that old adage of ‘don’t beat yourself,’ and that’s probably been the byword at Kansas State for an awful long time. It jumped up and bit us this time. Those are the things we have to go back and work on. It stems from being able to readdress where we are in focus and self-discipline.”
On Tuesday, at his weekly news conference, Snyder was asked to evaluate a number of different players and positions after reviewing K-State’s 27-24 victory over South Dakota. And he found a way to circle back to penalties in nearly every answer.
It felt like he was talking directly to his team.
“They stopped significant drives,” Snyder said. “Third-down penalties just take away the opportunity for you to make a first down. We had too many penalties. I won’t go through them all … But the mistakes we made were critical. They weren’t just for five yards.”
How will Snyder go about cleaning up those mistakes?
“I don’t clean it up. They do,” he said. “Either you define what self discipline really means and adhere to it or you are going to continue to cost us until we make a firm decision that you can’t play anymore until you get this fixed.”
Snyder’s hatred for penalties is as strong as it’s ever been.
K-State football players were reminded of that the hard way this week.
“Those are issues you can’t have,” Risner said. “I know it’s the first game, and there are a million excuses for it, but if there is a coach in the world who doesn’t care about excuses it’s Coach Snyder. As an offense and as a team we have to take pride in that. It’s embarrassing.”