Kansas State Wildcats 2012 College Football Preview Steve’s Big 12 Analysis
The Kansas State Wildcats had a successful 2011 campaign as the Wildcats hit the ten win mark on the year. Kansas State earned a right to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Cotton Bowl, but fell to Arkansas 16-29.
Kansas State 2012 Offense:
The Kansas State Wildcats offense is led by Collin Klein at quarterback. Klein led the Wildcats in both rushing and passing yards in 2011. Klein threw for 1900 yards last season while completing 57 percent of his passes, and throwing for 13 scores. Klein is also one of the top rushing quarterbacks in the nation as the Wildcats QB rushed for 1141 yards and 27 scores.
Kansas State also has high quality backs returning from a year ago in John Hubert and Angelo Pease. Hubert was second on the team only to Klein in yards gained on the ground last season with 970 yards, although the majority of the scores went to Klein as Hubert eclipsed the goal line just three times.
The Wildcats are a run first team for sure, but when KSU does put the ball up, the Wildcats have two returning starters at the wide receiver position. The Wildcats' primary target through the air this season however may be Travis Tannahill, who is one of the more talented tight end prospects in the Big 12 this season, and is a solid blocker as well as pass catcher.
Up front the Wildcats are young and largely inexperienced. KSU has just two returning starters on their offensive line from a year ago, however keep an eye on Cody Whitehair and Boston Stiverson, both are young and talented and will likely see a large amount of playing time this season.
Kansas State 2012 Defense:
The Kansas State defensive line returns both starting ends from a season ago in Adam Davis and Meshak Williams. Both Davis and Williams are solid, but will need to step up their game from a season ago if the Wildcats are going to get pressure on the quarterback this season and make things easier for the guys behind them.
Kansas State does have the luxury of having their top tackler from a season ago back in linebacker Arthur Brown, who is one of the top linebacking prospects in the Big 12 this season. Brown finished 2011 with 101 tackles, while recording 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. The only problem is Brown won't have much help back there, and KSU will rely on fellow backers Tre Walker and Justin Tuggle to help pick up the slack this year.
The pass defense was horrible last season for the Wildcats as KSU finished the year ranked 107th in total defense against the pass. A large part of that was due to the lack of a consistent pass rush, however secondary play is to blame as well. Nigel Malone is one to watch at the corner spot for the Wildcats, and Malone will be asked to shut down the top receiver for the opposing teams this season frequently. Malone will need help however, and I just don't think the talent is there for KSU to do it alone without any kind of real pass rush.
Kansas State will be solid this season, but don't look for KSU to go around surprising anyone. The Wildcats will be effective on the ground again, and I look for an improved passing attack as well. I just don't have a lot of faith in this defense, and I think KSU will at times be forced to just try and outscore their opponent in a shootout, and when you have a run dominant offense, that can be a challenge.
I am predicting a 7-5 season for the Wildcats in 2012.