Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman spoke with media on Tuesday ahead of the Wildcats’ upcoming game against the TCU Horned Frogs.
Here is a look at the five most noteworthy things he said at his weekly press conference:
Bye week blues
It’s been an interesting few weeks for the K-State football team. Since beating Mississippi State last month, the Wildcats have only played two games.
They got a week off before opening Big 12 play at Oklahoma State and received another week off after facing Baylor. Time will tell how multiple bye weeks in a short period will ultimately impact this group, but, for now, Klieman hopes the schedule makers try something different in the future.
“Not a fan of it,” Klieman said. “I don’t know how this will play out in years to come or what it has been like in the past, all those things. Football is a rhythm sport and you need to be able to play to be able to improve. You can only practice so much with NCAA guidelines and rules and you get better by competition.”
“Bottom line: I am glad we had two bye weeks. I would have loved to have had them in Week 4 and Week 10 or Week 4 and Week 9.”
K-State’s second off week did give the Wildcats an opportunity to sort out a few issues that hurt them in their first two Big 12 games.
After watching K-State players practice against each other rather than prepare for TCU, Klieman likes their direction.
“We are getting better on both sides of the ball,” Klieman said. “I saw it over the last week or so of practice, how things are just a little bit more crisp. Will that translate over to Saturday? I don’t know, guys. But our guys are gaining confidence.”
Thoughts on Alex Delton
One of the most intriguing aspects of Saturday’s game against TCU is the presence of Alex Delton. After spending his first four seasons in Manhattan playing quarterback for the Wildcats, he is now a captain for the Horned Frogs.
Freshman Max Duggan has emerged as the starting quarterback for TCU, but Delton has played in every game this season, completing 25 of 48 passes for 312 yards.
Klieman knows the Wildcats will need to be ready for him, regardless of how much action he sees.
“He is a really good football player,” Klieman said. “He makes things happen. He is a spark for them. I think he throws the ball better than people probably give him credit for. But he is so dangerous running the football. Without question we have to be ready for his package.”
Keenan Garber makes an impression
The Wildcats asked some of their youngest players to showcase their skills during scrimmages last week, and a few true freshmen caught Klieman’s eye along the way.
Klieman said he was most impressed by three newcomers on offense — running back Joe Ervin and receivers Keenan Garber and Chris Herron.
“All of our skill kids continued to improve, those are the ones that have a better chance to see the field,” Klieman said. “Keenan Garber continues to get better. We still want to redshirt Keenan, but he is a possibility to get some playing time. Chris Herron continues to improve. (Receiver) is where we need to find some guys. Joe Ervin continues to improve.”
“The ability for some of those guys to go against some of the older guys in a highly competitive situation is good for them.”
Two K-State freshmen will no longer be able to redshirt this season if they play against TCU.
Fullback Jax Dineen and defensive back Logan Wilson have each played in four of the first five games, which means Klieman needs to make decisions about their futures in the coming days.
Klieman has previously said that Dineen will play all season, but he is not ready to commit either way with Wilson. Klieman said he will make up his mind later this week after watching him practice.
Wilson’s playing status could depend on the health of K-State’s primary pass defenders. If A.J. Parker, Walter Neil, Darreyl Patterson and Kevion McGee are all able to play, Wilson may not be needed.