Jayd Kirby has a bold prediction for Kansas State’s upcoming football game against Charlotte.
“We are definitely going to be ready for the option,” he said.
Kirby, a senior K-State linebacker, is confident in his team’s ability to stuff Charlotte every time it runs the option, despite the Wildcats’ struggles in that area against Central Arkansas. On Saturday, the Bears continually found success with their option attack and rushed for 223 yards. It was one of the few negatives to come out of an otherwise feel-good victory.
K-State coach Bill Snyder was so displeased with the defensive effort that he joked about holding a special midnight practice following the game that would focus entirely on stopping the option. He never took things that far, but the Wildcats have spent considerable time defending quarterback runs and pitches to running backs in their regularly scheduled practices.
“The option was the main thing (we worked on),” Kirby said. “That is what they hurt us with a lot last week. At practice, we got that fixed.”
So what went wrong against Central Arkansas? How did Carlos Blackman rush for 114 yards? How did Brandon Cox break free for a 37-yard touchdown? How did five different players finish with runs of at least 10 yards?
There are many answers, but here is the most pertinent one: K-State players weren’t prepared.
“First game, you do not know what the other team is going to do,” defensive tackle Will Geary said. “We did not know they were going to run an option like that.”
The Wildcats say they have a better understanding of Charlotte, a Conference USA member that began playing football in 2013, after watching the 49ers play their first game, a 24-7 loss to Eastern Michigan.
Charlotte quarterback Hasaan Klugh is mobile, and will occasionally run the option. He rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries over the weekend.
“They have a mobile offensive line that runs well,” Snyder said. “They have a good running back that can run downhill well, but the key to their offense is the quarterback. He is very talented. He is (fast). He has good range and runs well. They have option football, which was a nemesis for us last week. We have got to work that out, and that is just becoming more responsible in regards to what one’s responsibility happens to be.”
Those responsibilities aren’t complicated.
“Somebody has to be on the dive, somebody has to be on the quarterback and somebody has to be on the pitch,” defensive back Brogan Barry said. “You have to know where you have to be and how to defeat a block, if need be. You have to stay on top of your responsibility no matter what. Sometimes, that is hard, because you want to jump off and help somebody else, but you can’t.”
Devoting time and resources to option defense is an unusual task for K-State, considering the Wildcats see much different offenses in the Big 12. But they are determined to improve against the old-school running scheme.
They don’t want to repeat what happened against Central Arkansas.
“Coach Snyder has a word that he really likes, and that is discipline,” Barry said. “So we are trying to be a more disciplined defense, to get our assignments down pat. Yesterday, we worked on the option just about half the pracitce, and then a bunch of bootleg stuff, as well. We are really just getting everybody to know their responsibilities and to figure out what everyone can do to improve.”
Player of the Week
D.J. Reed was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week on Tuesday, following his big game against Central Arkansas.
The junior defensive back was an obvious choice for the award. He returned the opening kickoff of the season 96 yards and later returned a punt for a touchdown.
Waco offensive lineman commits to K-State
Kaitori Leveston, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman from Waco, Texas, orally committed to the Wildcats on Tuesday.
“I plan to further my education and football career at Kansas State,” he wrote on Twitter. “I couldn’t have made a better decision.”
He also had scholarship offers from Arizona State, Houston, Missouri and Texas Tech.
Leveston is a three-star recruit and the nation’s 111th rated offensive tackle, according to 247 Sports. Rivals rates him as a two-star recruit.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett