Big 12 Sports Articles

HCS Op-Ed: Can New Faces Carry Kansas State’s Football Success into 2015?

As the college basketball season comes to a close it’s time to look ahead to the 2015 college football season. With the spring game approaching, many K-State fans are anxious to get an early glimpse of what 2015 has to offer for the football program. I am most interested to see how Bill Snyder and the Wildcats are going to replace a major loss on the offensive side of the ball in QB Jake Waters. In addition, I want to see what improvements are made defensively. Last season, the Wildcats struggled at times against many of the talented offenses in the Big 12.

A new recruit I am interested to see is a quarterback who comes straight from the “Sunflower State.” As a 6-foot, 195-pound, dual-threat quarterback, Alex Delton has the potential to fit in to the Wildcat offense rather well. Historically, Snyder has had success with mobile quarterbacks. On the high school level, Delton had an impressive season to say the least. As a senior, Delton racked up nearly 3000 yards of total offense to go along with 31 touchdowns.

Though I believe that Delton brings plenty of potential, he will most likely face stiff competition from other quarterbacks on the K-State roster. Joe Hubener served as a backup to Waters last season, and had the opportunity for little playing time. Last year, Hubener passed for 235 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Other players to watch in the quarterback race are Taylor Laird, Jesse Ertz and Zach Davidson. It will be interesting to see the performance of these quarterbacks in the spring game. It’s difficult to say who is the favorite to win the starting job at the moment, but this will definitely be a developing story throughout the summer months and leading up to the start of the season.

Last season, the Wildcats’ offense was built around the passing game of Waters. I agree that having a strong passing game is important, but traditionally, K-State football has been at its best with a dominant rushing attack. Moving forward, I hope K-State and Snyder go “back to their roots” and create an offensive scheme that is built around running the football. Former greats like Ell Roberson, Michael Bishop and Colin Klein were all instrumental pieces in establishing a standard for the quarterback position. The success of these K-State legends was built around running the football. When the next quarterback is chosen I hope that the coaching staff considers the importance of a mobile quarterback and the legacy that this has built.

On the defensive side of the ball, I believe that K-State hit a “home run” with the signing of 5-foot-9, 155-pound, Duke Shelley, a defensive back from Tucker, Ga. Rated as a four star recruit by several recruiting websites, Shelley is a guy that has the potential to develop into a leadership role for the Cats. In addition, K-State’s secondary has been a week point in the defense in recent years. The addition of Shelley is a step in the right direction. Having a reliable secondary is a must in order to combat the high flying offenses the Big 12 has become famous for.

In addition to his defensive talents, Shelley is also known for his kick return skills. Last season, Tyler Lockett shined as both a kickoff and punt return man for the Cats. It won’t be an easy feat by any means to replace the legacy Lockett left behind at K-State but I believe that Shelly could be up for the challenge.

So, no doubt there are several question marks, and key pieces that Bill Snyder and his staff need to replace and answer. But, there’s one thing we know about Coach Snyder: if you count him out, you’re going to pay.

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