September 5, 2007
Kansas State's 3-4 defense nearly aced its entrance examine last Saturday, holding the Auburn offense to 291 yards and a single touchdown, while leading K-State fans to wonder if the long-awaited return of the Mob was upon them.
The defense faltered in the game's waning minutes, however, and as the Wildcats watched a win slip away, it became apparent that though the defense is certainly improved, it's still not exactly a full-fledged Mob quite yet.
"I'm disappointed in the defense for giving up that touchdown, but I'm proud of these guys. Coach (Ron Prince) put us through a hard offseason," said safety Marcus Watts. "We worked hard. We came out here and didn't back down."
Even if Prince's strict offseason conditioning regiment didn't result in an opening-game victory, it certainly did bring about drastic defensive improvement, forcing a giant first step in restoring credibility to a unit that was once among the nation's best.
Defensive coordinator, Tim Tibesar's 3-4 style of defense, which is intended to highlight K-State's speed, certainly did so Saturday, as Wildcat defenders swarmed around the Tigers' backfield routinely. The unit's swiftness was especially apparent in the team's pass rush, which they used to rack up five sacks of Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox, while knocking him down eight more times.
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