What did Kansas State football do during the bye week? Lots of recharging

Arne Green
Topeka Capital-Journal

Going into Kansas State's bye week, Chris Klieman said practices would be a mixed bag of rest and activity to prepare for the rest of the season.

And that's exactly what they were, Klieman confirmed Monday during the Big 12 Conference coaches' teleconference. The Wildcats, 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the Big 12, will try to snap a two-game losing streak when they play host to Iowa State (3-2, 1-1) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

"I think it was kind of two-fold," Klieman said of his team's bye-week focus. "We worked some of those guys that maybe had been nicked up, like Skylar (Thompson), to get some of their timing back.

"We worked a lot of our younger players to keep pushing those guys along, because we're going to need some guys that maybe are freshmen and redshirt freshmen that haven't played yet, but in this long Big 12 season (you're) going to have to rely on some of those guys."

MORE: Kansas State defense set to search for answers during the bye week

Thompson, the Wildcats' sixth-year senior quarterback, had missed two games with a knee injury before returning last week against Oklahoma. But he was on target from the start, completing 29 of 41 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-31 K-State loss.

Kansas State tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe runs for a touchdown against Nevada on Sept. 18.

"I was ready to get back out there and compete," Thompson said after the game. "I've played enough football that missing some time there I wasn't nervous or had any questions that I wouldn't be ready.

"I've had a lot of experience and understanding how the speed of the game is going to be and how the atmosphere is going to be and what type of team Oklahoma is, and I felt I was ready for all those things."

For other players who were still nursing injuries or overworked because of injuries to others at their positions, the off week was a chance to rest and recharge their batteries.

"The guys that have played a ton of snaps, they have to get their minds and their bodies fresh, too," Klieman said. "So we gave some guys a little bit of time off.

"So it was a mix, just based on how many snaps you've played and if you've been injured, what your workload was like. But I think overall our guys are going to come back pretty fresh."

MORE: K-State wide receiver Landry Weber healthy after last season's injuries

Klieman offered no update on defensive end Bronson Massie, who went down in the Oklahoma game and initially was expected to miss 2-4 weeks. But he did have good news about tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe and defensive back Reggie Stubblefield, both of whom saw limited action against the Sooners.

"We didn't see Bronson last week, which we didn't think we would," Klieman said. "We'll have a better update, probably, on Tuesday at practice.

"But we did see Daniel and we did see Reggie. They did practice at normal last week. We didn't give them a ton of reps, but nobody got a ton of reps last week — just trying to get some guys' bodies fresh. But Daniel should be a go and so should Reggie."

There was one change on the Wildcats' two-deep heading into the Iowa State game, with junior Wayne Jones moving ahead of senior Ryan Henington at strong-side linebacker. Jones had four tackles with one for loss against Oklahoma.

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, whose Cyclones also had an open week, said his team's focus was more on continuity.

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"I think our biggest goal was, going into the bye week, just to continue to do what we've really done the first five weeks, and that's just getting better," he said. "I think we took it as that.

"I thought we had some really good practices throughout the week, and you just want your team to continue to grow through the season. So you hope that we were able to do that, but look forward to getting back into practice today."