Kansas State University

K-State Q&A: Hot hands, multiple quarterbacks, uniform rumors and basketball

K-State running back Charles Jones sprints downfield on a long run against Texas. (Oct 22, 2016)
K-State running back Charles Jones sprints downfield on a long run against Texas. (Oct 22, 2016) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

There is a lot to cover this week, so let’s dive right into your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Let’s put it this way: I won’t be surprised if K-State’s uniform looks slightly different on Saturday.

If K-State is going to wear any type of alternate uniform, or in this case a helmet, it will happen against Oklahoma State to honor Fort Riley Day. Bill Snyder allowed the Wildcats to play with a camouflage Powercat on their helmets on Fort Riley Day three years ago, and when team captains approached Snyder about the possibility of alternate uniforms during the offseason they asked to do it on Fort Riley Day.

I’ve had a sneaking suspicion for months that K-State would tweak its uniforms in some small way for this game. I can’t confirm or deny the rumors about it actually happening. They waited until the last minute to reveal the helmet change three years ago, and will probably do the same this time. If a change is coming, of course.

All I can say is if you are among the fans who want to see something new with K-State’s uniforms, this game is probably your best hope.

Alex Barnes is averaging 7.3 yards per run, and he hasn’t lost yardage on a single carry this season. So it’s hard to argue against the powerful freshman as K-State’s most talented running back.

The coaching staff is unlikely to use Barnes in a featured role, because of his lack of experience, but he seems to have the most upside. He’s a bruiser, and it’s hard to bring him to the ground once he gets going.

I should really be the one asking you football questions. I mean, you have a Super Bowl ring. I eat onion rings from my couch while I watch the Super Bowl. This feels backward.

But here we are, so let’s get weird.

I will be surprised if we see a major change in the way K-State handles its unpredictable running back rotation. Bill Snyder can talk all he wants about using a hot-hand approach, but after eight games we are in a situation best described by the cliche “it is what it is.” Jones is clearly the guy offensive coaches trust. He leads all K-State running backs with 88 carries, despite getting benched in two games. Justin Silmon is a distant second with 43.

Maybe Silmon gets a few more touches this game if he gets off to a hot start, but Jones will start and he has played well early in most games. Remember, he averaged more than five yards per carry on K-State’s first drive against Iowa State before getting yanked. Ideally, you would like to see a rotation of two running backs that keeps both of them fresh and limits injury risk, but I’m not expecting much different from what we’ve seen. We could see four running backs touch the ball.

On the subject of deep balls, I’m sure K-State will let Ertz try a few. His arm looked back to full strength, or at least near it, against Iowa State and with Deante Burton coming on strong that seems like a play that will get called. How often depends on Ertz. Throwing deep hasn’t been his forte.

By the way, K-State’s video department featured Nick Leckey this week. Check it out:

1. Bill Snyder said on Tuesday that he “anticipates” Dalvin Warmack will be available for the Oklahoma State game. There are no guarantees, but I’m expecting him to suit up.

2. Charles Jones should lead the way in carries, much as he has in every game.

Even though he’s a quarterback, the plays Delton got against Iowa State sure made it look like he was running a wildcat offense, similar to what we’ve seen with Charles Jones the past seasons. And K-State never let him throw. But Delton’s arm is presumably much better than Jones’, so you’d like to think there’s a chance he gets to look down field. If Delton gets in the game, here’s guessing he attempts a pop-pass or something else short.

Not sure if this is the game we finally see K-State put four quarters together. Oklahoma State is really good.

You’re right, K-State hasn’t had the best of luck against Oklahoma State when it comes to quarterback health.

Last season, we saw Kody Cook make his debut against the Cowboys when Joe Hubener was knocked out of the game and Jesse Ertz, Alex Delton and Jonathan Banks were all unavailable.

Before that, we saw Jake Waters and Daniel Sams split snaps against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were also the team that knocked Collin Klein out of a game in 2012. Not the best history.

That being said, I bet we see Ertz handle most of the snaps. He held up strong against Texas and Iowa State.

It wouldn’t be a K-State football game without at least one three-and-out on three straight incomplete passes.

No bowl representatives will be in attendance. That surprises me, but the Wildcats have already played in front of several this season.

K-State will lose seniors Charmeachealle Moore and Will Davis at the conclusion of this season. If Lee turns pro early, which is a big if, then, yes, the Wildcats would basically be starting over at linebacker.

I’ve heard good things about freshman Elijah Sullivan. Trent Tanking, Sam Sizelove and Jayd Kirby are all listed as backups. They could all get their shots next season.

Under, so long as Dante Williams and Isaiah Maurice stay healthy.

Bruce Weber waited well into the second half to use Austin Budke against Pittsburg State in an exhibition last week. He played out of necessity last season. Improved front-court depth appears to have pushed him back in the rotation. He played in all 33 games last season, averaging 13.1 minutes. That seems unlikely to happen again.

Green Bay on Nov. 30 should actually be a decent opponent, but it’s sad when the Phoenix are the highlight of your home basketball schedule.

All the attractive games (Washington State, Colorado State, Maryland, Tennessee) are on the road or at neutral sites. That seems to be the way scheduling is going lately. With games to play in Kansas City and Wichita, plus a early season tournament, no one wants to add tough games onto that slate. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

The best hope for a good nonconference opponent at Bramlage Coliseum will likely come from the Big 12/SEC challenge in future years.

Well, if you’re a K-State fan that desperately wants a coaching change, I suppose every win will terrify you this season.

But a season that produces a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament would be pretty good, even if it’s a one-and-done trip. The Wildcats have been better than a No. 9 seed just four times since 1993, with all four favored seeds coming between 2010 and 2013.

The Cubs winning a World Series after 108 years should give sports teams everywhere hope, especially if they can hire Theo Epstein in some capacity.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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