Wildcats spring football practice began on Wednesday, and the team coached by the wily veteran Bill Snyder, have several key questions which need to be addressed as they look to improve on last year’s 8 win season.
What will the Wildcats do with Daniel Sams?
Sams is a dynamic dual threat quarterback who is far more efficient with his legs than he is his arm. In the 2013 season Sams led all Big 12 quarterbacks with 807 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, but problems occurred when he was required to throw the ball. He had 7.5% of his passes intercepted, by far the worst in the Big 12, this poor throwing ability led to his benching. The problem facing Sams in the upcoming season is that Jake Waters has established a firm grip on the starting job. The problem for the Wildcats is that Sams is a unique talent whose ability will be wasted if he remains on the bench. Look for the Wildcats to utilise Sams’ unique athletic ability, but not from the quarterback position.
Who is the starting running back?
K-States’ offence seeks to fill a glaring hole left by departing John Huburt. In the 2013 season Huburt amassed 1048 yards and 10 touchdowns. It is an open battle for the starting job, with the top three candidates all lacking college experience. Demarcus Robinson is firm favourite to land the starting job, but he has only had 11 carries for 45 yards at the collegiate level. Sophomore Dalwin Warmack and highly regarded freshman Jarvis Leverett will likely battle it out for the No. 2 spot, but expect the Wildcats to spread the workload throughout the season.
Can the defence step up?
In the 2013 season the Wildcats had a stifling defence, who gave up just 22.9 points per game, third best in the Big 12. Since the 2013 season the defence has lost seven starters including All Big 12 safety Ty Zimmerman. The question now is who will step up and fill the vacant leadership void? Former walk on Ryan Mueller, the Big 12 defensive lineman of the year will be expected to take a leadership role as well as continuing to dominant play at the line of scrimmage.
The offensive line:
Apart from the returning B J Finney at centre, who is a rock solid starter, the entire offensive line is a question mark. Three starters are gone, including both tackles, but thankfully for Wildcats’ fans they are set to be replaced by two of the top prospects available in A J Allen and Luke Hayes. It is imperative that the offensive line is dominant at the line of scrimmage to ease the pressure on the Wildcats inexperienced running attack. If they fail then this team could be in for a long season.
Can they carry on where they left off?
After what can only be described as a woeful start to the season the Wildcats went on a tear, winning 6 of their last 7 games, including a dominant victory over Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. If they can once again show the dominant form they did in the latter part of 2013 then they will very much be in the hunt come the end of the season for the Big 12 championship.