Jan. 3, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA: Kansas State Wildcats wide receiver Stephen Johnson (2) and linebacker Blake Slaughter (53) run onto the field with teammates prior to the game against the Oregon Ducks during the 2013 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Oregon defeated Kansas State 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

K-State Football Preview: An Interview with Jug of Snyder’s Dave Thoman


Meet Dave Thoman.

Thoman is the editor over at Jug of Snyder, FanSided’s Kansas State blog. Given that Kansas State starts their season Friday in Manhattan, we thought it would be a good idea to ask FanSided’s in-house Wildcat expert to help us breakdown the Wildcats.

You can read Thorman’s work here, and you should definitely read the piece he has up today about how the Wildcats can repeat as Big 12 champions.

The interview is after the jump.

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Jake Waters was named the starting quarterback by Bill Snyder on Monday, but said Daniel Sams would see some time at quarterback as well. What percentage of the snaps do you think Waters ends up taking as the starting quarterback this season? Is the competition really over? 

I did an article about a month ago making the case for switching the two up throughout the season so that defenses never know who to expect and are forced to prepare for both week in and week out (a tact Oklahoma State recently announced it would be taking). As such, I don’t view it as a competition so much as an opportunity to exploits each opponents’ weaknesses.

The question is, is the Big 12 stronger against the run or the pass? I envision a 60/40 split, in favor of Waters.

Who benefits most from Jake Waters being named the starting quarterback?

Tyler Lockett would probably love it, but I’m going with Andre McDonald. McDonald is a beast, and can clear out linebackers in the run game, but offers a truly unique skill set as a red zone target. Waters is uniquely suited to place the ball where only the 6’8″, 280 pound tight end can catch it. Waters under center could mean a boatload of touchdowns for McDonald, assuming he stays out of trouble this year.

Kansas State is losing a lot in the running game with Collin Klein graduating. Last year he rushed for 920 yards and 23 touchdowns, and was key in short-yardage situations. Can the combination of Waters, Sams and John Hubert – who rushed for 947 yards last season – make up for that lost production? Or is there a sleeper we are all missing on in the running game? 

I say there’s a sleeper, and it’s between two players.

Robert Rose is only 5’4″, but is shifty as all getup and there’s no one I’d want on my flag football team more than Rose – good luck getting two hands on him in the open field.

The other option is DeMarcus Robinson. The redshirt junior has struggled to see the field due to a couple different issues since coming to Manhattan, but he was a four-star stud coming out of Wichita and ranked among the top 20 running backs in the nation, so the talent is assuredly there.

Glenn Gronkowski, the youngest of the famed Gronk brothers, is a redshirt freshman this year at fullback. I expect to see him get more action than Braden Wilson in 2012, who was used pretty much exclusively as another blocker last season.

The loss of Arthur Brown and Klein not only means the loss of two great players but the team’s top two on-field leaders. The offensive line unit would seem like a good group who could lead by example, but generally offensive lineman are not considered the leaders of the team. Ty Zimmerman seems to be the default guy on defense. Is leadership going to be a problem for Kansas State this season? 

I may need to duck for cover for writing this, but everything I read last year indicated Tre Walker was the true leader of that linebacker unit. Arthur Brown was the most supremely talented player, of course, but Walker had the personality.

There’s no want for leadership on the offense, but the defense was pretty decimated. So getting back Walker is huge, but Snyder is piecing a lot of new faces together this year. Expect mistakes early in the season we didn’t see last year; those blown assignments will be fixed by conference play.

Is Kansas State’s defense good enough to repeat as Big 12 champions? Brown, Meshak Williams, and Adam Davis accounted for 199 tackles, 34 for loss, 18.5 sacks, two interceptions and seven forced fumbles. Nigel Malone and Allen Chapman‘s combined 10 interceptions and 24 passes defended are gone. For a team with six seniors projected to be starters on defense, there are a lot of unknowns. 

There are unknowns, but I’d argue the reserves saw some solid playing time last year, and not many of those guys graduated.

I have full faith in the linebacking unit. I like the defensive end position. Defensive tackle and the secondary do concern me – the Wildcats will be highly susceptible to big plays in dime packages when teams go five wide.

There are too many unknowns to be definitive, but the defense will probably take a step back in 2013. Of course, it’s like we haven’t seen Snyder reload with a bunch of unknown players and found success before.

To me, the Big 12 is going to come down to either Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State. The Wildcats have OSU on the road (Oct. 5) and OU at home (Nov. 23). Split those two games and KSU will likely have at least a share of the Big 12 title again, yes? Or do Texas and TCU concern you more than they do me? 

I don’t buy into Oklahoma – the Sooners had as much turnover as K-State, if not more.

Texas is the most talented team according to every recruiting service, but that hasn’t been a recipe for success recently.

Baylor is my dark horse – other teams have a higher ceiling, but the Bears look like they have the highest floor in the Big 12.

K-State’s offense is good enough to repeat, but I worry the defense will cost the team a couple games.

I know I’m not being adventurous here, but Oklahoma State is the team to beat in my eyes.

Finish the following sentences: 

Kansas State’s MVP this season will be ______.  

Tyler Lockett, as anointed by the media. Jake Waters finds him at opportune times, and he takes at least three kick-offs to the house this year. Ty Zimmerman will also have a solid case. If left tackles ever won these awards, then Cornelius Lucas would be your man.

______ will finish the season as the Wildcats starting quarterback. 

Daniel Sams, but principally because K-State finishes against KU. Sams is the better match up.

KSU will finish with a _____ record this season. 

9-3

Bill Snyder is _______.

A demigod. If I played RPGs, I would create an all-powerful sorcerer and name him Snyder.

The best bar in Aggieville is ________.

I moved from the area, but will be at Johnny Kaw’s Friday night before the Lafayette game. I swear – I actually have a job with a real-life income – but plan on drinking like I’m still in college.

The margin of victory in the Wildcats game against Kansas this season will be _____ points. 

Does your website support the infinity symbol? In lieu of that option, I say 45. This is the best Jayhawks team we’ve seen in awhile, but KU is still alone in the cellar. Bill Snyder feels no guilt running up the score on two teams – Nebraska, and Kansas. Since Nebraska is gone, he must now take all of that frustration out on KU.

Plus, since it’s the last game of the year, it’s the team’s last chance to leave an impression on bowl game committees. Bad news for the boys from Lawrence.

Any final preseason thoughts about Kansas State football? 

K-State has a much harder nonconference schedule than appears at first glance. While the Wildcats shouldn’t, they could feasibly drop a game before Big 12 play starts. If they register blow outs in all three games, Mack Brown and the Longhorns better look out when Bill Snyder comes to visit to kick off league play.

Tags: Bill Snyder Cornelius Lucas Daniel Sams Featured Jake Waters Kansas State Wildcats Popular Tyler Lockett