K-Stated

Kansas State Q&A: Is the wildcat formation dead? Plus Jack Cantele, Joe Hubener and Glenn Gronkowski

Charles Jones turns upfield against UTSA. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Charles Jones turns upfield against UTSA. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) AP

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

There is no game for the Wildcats this weekend, but you still have questions. Let’s dive right into them. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Never. You probably don’t want to read that answer after stomaching so many Winston Dimel handoffs and the wildcat formation this season. But Bill Snyder is insanely loyal to his assistants. He’s never fired one. No way he pulls a Charlie Strong and let’s someone other than his co-offensive coordinators call the plays.

Besides, it’s not like Dana Dimel has been that bad. Ease up on (or eliminate) 38 Dive and 24 Draw and the rest of the plays are fine.

That being said, I guarantee play calling has been a subject in coaching meetings this week. Snyder publicly criticized the predictable nature of K-State’s plays after the Louisiana Tech game, when the Bulldogs saw the wildcat formation and bum rushed Jones with nine defenders. With Big 12 games soon upon us, the playbook will certainly be opened up. There will be changes, but Dimel and Miller will be the ones to make them.

I think Snyder will definitely make his opinions known on certain formations. He already dogged the Charles Jones version of the wildcat, and K-State’s red-zone offense has been terrible. I will be shocked if the Wildcats continue handing the ball off to Winston Dimel on first downs in the red zone. The wildcat, at least in its current form, is useless. Surely, we won’t see that much at Oklahoma State. Snyder will do what he can to change some calls, likely suggesting different strategies before and during games. He wears the headset for a reason.

There is some serious hatred of the wildcat formation out there. I feel like it’s reaching Ekocat levels.

I, too, was expecting more from Kyle Klein this season. So far he has two catches for 17 yards. But you can’t really blame him for the lack of production. He has missed the past two games with an injury. The Wildcats haven’t said anything about it, but he hasn’t been able to run at full speed since the first game. Hopefully he uses the bye week to get healthy and can help during Big 12 games.

On Dante Barnett, I don’t expect him to play against Oklahoma State. I wish I had a firm grasp on when he will play again, but Snyder remains tight lipped on the subject. Earlier this week, he suggested that not even K-State’s doctors know when he will be back. I don’t believe that for a second, but I can’t say for sure when we will see Barnett again. My guess would be late October, perhaps against Oklahoma or Texas.

Though you didn’t ask about Alex Delton, I would expect the backup quarterback to be healthy sooner, perhaps in time for either TCU or Oklahoma. But, again, there is no official word on any of them.

It was telling that Hubener ran the ball just eight times against Louisiana Tech. He got 17 carries a week earlier against Texas-San Antonio before Delton hurt his knee. That tells me the coaching staff is trying to limit his workload. They certainly want him to stay healthy.

The emergence of Justin Silmon helps, but the mediocre production of Charles Jones hurts.

Hubener has looked good throwing long, so it makes sense for K-State to take advantage of that and let its running backs do most of the damage on the ground. Then again, the Wildcats seem most versatile when Hubener is a running threat. That opens up the pop pass and all kinds of different things. Ideally, they probably want to run Hubener 10 times a game. We probably won’t see another 17-carry game.

Cocoa Pebbles all the way.

I think K-State backed off the screen pass when Hubener bounced so many short throws at UTSA. I’m curious to see if the Wildcats bring it back for Big 12 games. I think Dalvin Warmack could be useful in those situations. Doubt we see much option, though. Not Hubener’s style.

I understand the hesitation, but Jack Cantele is back in the circle of trust. He has gone a perfect 7 for 7 on field goals since taking over for an injured Matthew McCrane, and he nailed a pressure kick against Louisiana Tech. I’m sure some K-State fans will want him to climb Mt. Everest before they forgive him for missing all those field goals against Auburn, but that was a year ago. Cantele has made important kicks before and he is doing so again. Kudos to him for sticking it out as a backup and staying ready when his team needed him. I can’t imagine there is a better backup kicker in college football.

K-State’s offense always gets more creative when Big 12 play begins. I think we will see several new elements, including those, next week.

Glenn Gronkowski should definitely be on the field more than he currently is. A player with his talent level deserves more than 10 plays a season. Line him up at running back. Use him more at fullback. Tight end is an interesting option. At 6-foot-3, he is smaller than the typical tight end. Blocking defensive ends and blitzing linebackers could be a challenge for him. Then again, he has soft hands and is a quality option as a receiver. It might be worth using him as a situational tight end, maybe put him in the slot. K-State hasn’t completed a single pass to a tight end this season. Anything that gets another playmaker on the field is worth a shot.

I would love to see the Dumpster Fire Bowl end in a bizarre, baseball score. Something like 3-2 or 6-5 or 11-8, anything that adds to the humorous setting. But I doubt that happens. I’m picking Rutgers to win big. As bad as the Scarlet Knights are, they should shred the Jayhawks’ defense at home.

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

  Comments