Kansas State Wildcats 2013 College Football Preview
Kansas State Wildcats 2013 College Football Preview 2012 Record: 11-2 (8-1)
Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium Manhattan, KS
Odds To Win The Big 12: 12 /1 See the Latest Odds
Kansas State Wildcats
Head Coach: Bill Snyder (23rd Year, 170-85-1)
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Record: (11-2, 8-1)
Last Bowl Appearance: 2013 Tostitos Fietsa Bowl L 35-17 Oregon
8/30 North Dakota State
9/7 Louisiana -Lafayette
9/21 at Texas
10/5 at Oklahoma State
10/26 West Virginia
11/2 Iowa State
11/19 at Texas Tech
11/30 at Kansas
2012 Review: By all appearances, it was the year that the SEC’s vise grip on the national title would finally end. It was the middle of November, crunch time, and Kansas State and Oregon were destined to meet for the championship. But then, as if summoned by Nick Saban and the evil empire, both Kansas State and Oregon stumbled at the exact same moment. It’s hard to argue, though, that K-State’s 52-24 meltdown against Baylor was anything more than a choke job of the highest order. Coming into the game, the Wildcat’s Heisman hopeful QB Colin Klein was in the lead group, having passed for 2,020 YDS and 12 TDS and rushed for another 798 YDS and 18 TDS. But wearing the number one ranking with a title shot essentially in hand proved too much and K-State folded. Klein managed just 39 YDS and 1 TD on 17 carries in the game. The Wildcats rebounded well in their next game, defeating Texas 42-24 and grabbed a share of the Big 12 title along with Oklahoma.
Players Ready To Shine: Senior RB John Hubert (5-7, 191) and Junior WR/KR Tyler Lockett (5-11, 175). With Klein gone and an uncertain QB situation, this offense will need to rely heavily on its two proven standouts. Hubert, who carried for 947 YDS and 15 TDS last season , should see a lot more touches and definitely go over 1,000 yards. He doesn’t have the size indicative of a bruising running style, but he’s physical as well as quick and athletic. Lockett, 44 REC for 687 YDS and 4 TDS and a jaw-dropping 32.7 yard avg. on kickoff returns, earned All-Big 12 Honors at both positions last season.
Offense: The only thing better for this offense than having Colin Klein back at QB would be having a Colin Klein clone, which, aside from three inches and twenty pounds, Soph. Daniel Sams (6-2, 211) has the potential to be. Sams looks every bit the dual threat that Bill Snyder and this offense need, rushing for 235 YDS and 3 TDS and throwing for 55 YDS on 6-of-8 passing in limited work as a true freshman last season. He’s got big shoes to fill, but he has the athleticism, running ability and arm strength to step right in. JUCO transfer Jake Walters (6-2, 215) will be the likely backup. The return of John Hubert puts the running game in a pretty good spot to open the season. Klein got most of the touches and scored more touchdowns in 2012, but Hubert led the team in yards and yards per attempt and should again this year. He’s got all the tools and a nose for the end zone, with a combined seven touchdowns inside the ten against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas. Junior Demarcus Robinson ( 5-7, 209), a speed merchant who has yet to see any real action, and diminutive Sr. Robert Rose (5-4, 176) should see increased time in the backfield this season. The WR corps must replace its most productive member in Chris Harper, who accounted for 58 REC, 857 YDS and 3 TDS, but Tyler Lockett looks poised for a breakout season. The Wildcats’ biggest home-run threat should account for much more offense than last season, with no more Klein left, right and up the middle for Snyder to rely on. Speedy Sr. WR Tremaine Thompson (5-8, 167), third on the team in 2012 with 37 grabs for 526 yards and four scores, and Jr. wideout Curry Sexton (5-11, 183), 7 REC for 75 YDS and 1 TD last season, round out the depth chart at receiver. The O-Line returns everyone and should be stellar after allowing just 14 sacks and nearly producing two thousand yard rushers. This unit’s standout is Senior LT Cornelius Lucas (6-9, 330), a tree of a pass protector who earned First Team All-Big 12 Honors last season. Leading the depth chart at RT is Soph. Cody White hair (6-4, 309), who moves over from the guard spot, where he played much of 2012. Junior B.J. Finney (6-4, 303), a two-time All-Big 12 selection should get the start at C. At the G spot, Sr. Keenan Taylor (6-4, 290) leads the depth chart on the right side, while Soph. Boston Stiverson (6-4, 312) leads at LG.
Defense: Eight starters are gone, which means defensive coordinator Tom Hayes needs to restock pretty much the entire cupboard. And K-state put up some good numbers defensively in 2012, particularly in the pass-rushing department, finishing second in theBig12 and 30th in the nation. The D-Line will obviously lack depth. Jr. Ryan Mueller (6-2, 245), a former walk-on who made 14 tackles and two sacks last season, and Sop. Marquel Bryant (6-3, 241), who coaches expect to become this unit’s top pass rusher, lead the depth chart at DE. At DT, Soph. Travis Britts (6-4, 293), 6 tackles last season as a true freshman, and JUCO transfer Sr. Chaquil Reed (6-3, 309), who saw virtually no action last season, look to get the start. The LB corps doesn’t return much experience, with its leading returning tackler, Jr. OLB Jonathan Truman (5-11, 219), recording 25 tackles last season in a backup role, but there is athleticism to burn so there’s a good foundation here. Joining Truman in the middle will be Sr. MLB Tre Waker (6-3, 225), who only saw action in four games last season, totaling 19 tackles. A big-time hitter, Walker is expected to fill in nicely for departed star Arthur Brown and become the defensive unit’s leader. Flanking Walker on the other side will be Sr. OLB Blake Slaughter (5-10, 227), a red shirt in 2012. The secondary was burned on a regular basis last season so bringing in some unproven young talent certainly can’t hurt. The Wildcats do return a next level talent, though, in Sr. Safety Ty Zimmerman (6-1, 204), an All-Big 12 performer who recorded 50 tackles and 5 interceptions last season. He’ll be joined at Safety by Sop. Dante Barnett (6-1, 186), a big hitter with good size and speed who finished with 24 tackles on the season. Leading at the corners are Soph. CB Morgan Burns (5-11, 195), a former track athlete and one of the team’s fastest players, and Jr. CB Randall Evans (6-0, 190), who finished third on the team last season with 76 tackles and one interception.
Special Teams: Soph. Kicker Jack Cantele, brother of last season’s starting K Anthony Cantele, will get the nod, while Jr. Mark Krause, a transfer from Missouri Southern, will get the start at Punter. Tyler Lockett, one of the nation’s best return men with an insane 32.7 per kickoff return avg, is back, so the Cats are looking good here, as they are in the punt return department , where another dangerous returner, WR Tramaine Thompson, is back with his outstanding 19.8 yards per punt return average.
Final Thoughts: The Cats should see a fairly big drop off in talent this season, in theory at least. Colin Klein is gone and he not only takes with him a big chunk of yards and touchdowns, but a little of this team’s identity as well. As Klein went in 2012, so did K-State, evidenced by the debacle at Baylor. But Bill Snyder’s been here before, having to replace a ton of talent in short order and we can’t wait to see what he’s got in store for 2013.
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