If you were confused by the fact that Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder brought two quarterbacks to Big 12 Media Days, you weren’t the only one.
Snyder brought Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson with him on Tuesday and he wasn’t trying to create a quarterback controversy by doing so. But he was trying to get a head start on getting both used to the idea of being “the man” and what comes with it.
“I thought this was a great opportunity to apply some preseason pressure so you’ve to practice the things you’re going to experience, so there is a little bit of pressure in them being here,” Snyder said.
But Snyder was also quick to point out that both deserved to be here, citing their leadership in the offseason program and the fact that both are captains.
But which player gets the nod on opening weekend will be one of the key battles to watch in Manhattan when fall camp starts next month. It has the potential to impact K-State’s entire offense, which is also turning over talent at wide receiver, where Byron Pringle left for the NFL and Dominique Heath left the program. Plus, based on K-State’s recent history, both could see time on the field in 2018.
Both Delton and Thompson last year, but it was supposed to be Jesse Ertz that handled the job full-time. Instead, Ertz played only five games and saw his season and Wildcats career end with a knee injury. In stepped Delton, then a sophomore, for the next four games as K-State’s leading passer. After that Thompson, then a freshman, got a turn, serving as K-State’s leading passer for the final three games of the regular season before Delton stepped back in to lead the Wildcats to a Cactus Bowl win over UCLA.
In that game Delton earned Offensive MVP honors, throwing for 52 yards and a touchdowns and rushing for another 158 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Last season Delton’s and Thompson’s passing numbers weren’t that different. Delton threw for 637 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, while Thompson threw for 689 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
But it was the rushing numbers that saw a significant difference. Delton was the team’s second-leading rusher with 500 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns. Thompson, meanwhile, rushed for only 267 yards and 3 touchdowns.
It could be that dual athleticism that gives Delton an edge in this race. But Thompson was the Big 12 Honorable Mention Offensive Freshman of the Year and earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors twice last season against Oklahoma State and Iowa State, both of which were wins for the Wildcats.
That’s part of the reason why the competition to be the starter isn’t nearly over yet.
“Both of them are just very, very capable young guys and as I said very competitive and they’re still in extreme competition for the starting position,” Snyder said. “I don’t know what else to tell you. I hope that answers the question.”
It doesn’t. But to be fair the question can’t be answered until sometime before the Wildcats’ opener with South Dakota on Sept. 1.
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