Kansas State's spring football game is rarely a must-see competition, but there is reason to hope the Wildcats will have a more entertaining scrimmage than usual at 1:10 p.m. on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
For starters, Snyder is contemplating a format change.
Instead of starters taking on backups for four full quarters, which has been the case in recent years, Snyder said earlier this week that K-State will probably switch things up and try starters against starters.
If the Wildcats go that route, fans could see top receiver Isaiah Zuber going against top cornerback Duke Shelley or up-and-coming linebacker Da'Quan Patton trying to tackle established running back Alex Barnes.
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That would be more interesting than watching the first string beat up on the second string all afternoon, even if it's only for a little while and Snyder approaching the game the same way he always does — speaking observations into a voice recorder as the players zoom up and down the field.
“We treat it a little bit differently," Snyder said. "We treat it like a game and we treat it like practice. You only get 15 opportunities throughout the course of the spring, and in my way of thinking, that is not a lot of preparation time to find about new players in your program, to implement your offense, defense, special teams, to look at things that you didn’t do the previous year or years that you might think will fit the personnel.
"There is so much to get done in that short period of time, so that just becomes another practice for us. Yet, at the same time, fans want to get an idea of what their team is going to look like, and I would project, contrary to popular belief, that they like to see a game environment and have it look like and feel like a game. We just try to make it look like a game, and fans appreciate to see it."
Some other things to watch Saturday:
Next receiver up
K-State receivers Isaiah Zuber and Dalton Schoen seem locked into starting roles, but little else is known about this position.
Who will step up and catch passes as the team's No. 3 receiver? Who will be involved in spread formations that require four and five receivers?
For now, it's anyone's guess. Snyder has said good things about redshirt freshmen Landry Weber and Chabastin Taylor, but they both spent last season on the scout team.
"We've got a couple guys who are really hungry and looking to get after it," Schoen said. "Chabastin Taylor has got incredible size and athleticism. If we can just get him to know what he is doing and in the right positions and doing all the little things right he can be really good. Landry is a guy who goes out there and does everything right every day, super consistent."
Zach Reuter and Isaiah Harris each had their moments a year ago, but they remain unproven.
This seems like the biggest question mark on the roster. Will the spring game provide clarity?
Time to shine
This could feel like a real game for a few K-State players. Linebacker Da'Quan Patton missed last year because of a broken thumb and then took a redshirt season. Saturday will be his public debut. He will want to impress, as many are expecting him to start in September.
Sophomore running back Mike McCoy could also see extended playing time after spending most of his freshman season on the sideline.
Alex Delton vs. Skylar Thompson
It's never too early to compare quarterbacks. Even though Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson are said to be dead even in this position battle, one could achieve a small degree of separation on Saturday.
Defenders aren't allowed to tackle quarterbacks, so this is an opportunity for both Delton and Thompson to show off their arms.
"The spring game is fun," Delton said. "It's our first game feel since last year. You get a little taste of the upcoming season and the progress you have made during the spring. I am excited to get out there and compete again and have the fans out there. Hopefully we can put some points on the board and give you guys a show."