Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

72 Days To K-State Football: K-State’s Defensive Depth

Continuing our march to kick-off against North Dakota State, today we are 72 days from football, with our daily tie-in being the number of cumulative points K-State allowed in the fourth quarter last year. And yes, 72 points is significant, as it tells a story of defensive depth that went completely unreported (or at least underreported) both in 2012 and in previews of 2013.

For some perspective, here are the points scored by quarter last year:

Quarter 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Kansas State 78 139 136 152 505
Opponents 66 81 69 72 288
Differential 12 58 67 80 217

There’s not much separation in the first quarter, as K-State was playing its opponents just about even with a 12-point differential (average of one point per game). The second quarter saw the defense allow the most ponts in 72, although the high offensive output still provided a 58-point differential. The third quarter jumps to 67 before exploding in the fourth with 80. And while the offense should be commended for its output, equally impressive is the low number of 72 allowed by the defense.

More points are scored in the final quarter of games than the first. Not always, but if someone offers you the bet, take it. Teams are more tired, and it only takes one missed assignment by one defender for a three yard run to turn into a fifty yard dash to the end zone. Importantly, K-State’s running game placed a premium on controlling the clock and wearing down opponents all 60 minutes. However, the defense’s consistency was impressive. It yielded an average of exactly 72 points each quarter – the same total as it allowed in the fourth.

There’s an underlying sliver of silver here that not many people are talking about – K-State’s depth last year. It’s true that Ty Zimmerman is the only starter returning on defense (not counting Tre Walker), but the Wildcats had competent back ups that could sub in and provide the first string players a rest if necessary. The first name that comes to mind is Ryan Mueller (pictured above). The defensive end has played in 13 games each of the past two years and provided 14 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, and six passes defended in 2013. In the secondary was Carl Miles, a senior defensive back that played in 12 games last year while provided three tackles and a forced fumble.

In addition, Tre Walker will be returning to man the linebacker position. Blake Slaughter should start at middle linebacker after taking a redshirt last year to make way for Arthur Brown. He played in 12 games in 2011 as a junior and started four games as a sophomore in 2010 with 13 tackles against UCF and ten against Texas.

This list of names won’t replace the tremendous list of names exiting Manhattan this year, but it’s the other side of a story the media doesn’t tell very well. K-State retains most of the back ups from 2012 that kept the first team fresh and will field a team of players with some degree of playing time in 2013. Will it be an uphill battle to get them ready for a Big 12 season that opens with a trip to Austin? Absolutely. But between the returning players and key JUCO recruits, there’s more optimism for this team’s prospects than most seem to be willing acknowledge.

To continue working backwards in our countdown, visit Day 73, where we preview a player with the potential to play at the next level in Tavon Rooks.

Tags: Blake Slaughter Carl Miles Countdown Defense Football K-State Kansas State Point Differential Ryan Mueller

  • http://www.bringonthecats.com/ ksuwild

    I agree Dave. Barring injuries I think we are going to be just fine on defense this year. Snyder actually mentioned that the defense was ahead of the offense a few weeks ago, and that’s saying something.

    We have very good quality through our 3 deep, but beyond that there could be some issues. I would imagine that most teams would have a drop off in talent once you get past their 3 deep as well, so it doesn’t worry me (too much!).

    The other thing the defense has going for them is that they get to practice every day against (what I believe will be) the best offense in the Big XII in 2013. Sharpening your skills against guys like B.J. Finney, Cornelius Lucas, Tavon Rooks etc etc is a luxury many teams don’t have, and I think it will really pay off down the stretch.

    Here is my projected 3 deep rotation for our defense this year. Feel free to let me know if I missed anyone. :o)

    44 Ryan Mueller 6-2, 245 Jr.
    94 Alauna Finau 6-1, 258 Sr.
    42 Devon Nash 6-5 260 Jr.

    95 Travis Britz 6-4, 293 So.
    97 Demontre Hood 6-0, 303 RFr.
    92 Matt Seiwert 6-3 289 Fr.

    98 Chaquil Reed 6-3, 309 Sr.
    62 Xavier Gates 6-3, 316 So.
    34 Valentino Coleman 6-2, 285 Jr.

    45 Marquel Bryant 6-3, 241 So.
    90 Laton Dowling 6-3 254 Jr.
    34 Tanner Wood 6-5, 240 Fr.

    52 Mike Moore 6-1, 217 So.
    21 Jonathan Truman 5-11, 219 Jr.
    23 Nick Ramirez 6-2, 235 Fr.

    53 Blake Slaughter 5-10, 227 Sr.
    35 Will Davis 6-0, 223 RFr.
    37 Cody Marley 5-11, 243 Jr.

    50 Tre Walker 6-3, 225 Sr.
    15 Dakorey Johnson 6-3, 205 Jr.*
    5 Isaiah Williams 6-1, 223 Fr.

    15 Randall Evans 6-0, 190 Jr.
    33 Morgan Burns 5-11, 195 So.
    2 Carl Miles Jr. 5-11, 190 Sr.

    12 Ty Zimmerman 6-1, 204 Sr.
    9 Kent Gainous 6-1, 205 RJr.
    25 Joseph Bonugli 6-0 188 Jr.

    22 Dante Barnett 6-1, 186 So.
    15 Dakorey Johnson 6-3, 205 Jr.*
    11 Travis Green 6-1 210 Jr.

    7 Kip Daily 5-11, 180 Sr.
    24 Nate Jackson 5-11, 185 Jr.
    31 Cre Moore 6-0, 175 Fr.

    • davethoman

      I’m curious to see how the strongside linebacker shakes out, but I’d write in Walker and Slaughter as starters. More than anything, I want to see the havoc Britz and Mueller can cause lined up side-by-side.

      • http://www.bringonthecats.com/ ksuwild

        I’m thinking it will be Mike Moore or Dakorey Johnson. Jonathan Truman might make a push too.

        Also, I was under the impression that Chris Brown (all 6-4, 330 lbs of him) wasn’t on campus yet… but apparently he is. That is great news and should really help to shore up the D-Line.

        Keep up the good work Dave!

      • http://www.bringonthecats.com/ ksuwild

        Mueller was definitely impressive, especially in passing down situations. He has a good motor and seems to always be around the ball. Hopefully he’s teaching everyone how to swat down balls when they get stood up, because he was amazing at that last year (even on limited downs).

        Travis Britz was a Bull, even as a true Freshman. He’s one of those kids that’s a lot stronger than he looks, even though he stands at 6-4/293 lbs. Combine Britz with 6-4/330 lb Chris Brown, 6-3/309 lb Chaquil Reed, 6-3/319 lb Xavier Gates, 6-0/303 lb Demontre Hood and 6-2/285 lb Valentino Coleman and you have the makings of a damn good interior defensive line.

  • http://www.bringonthecats.com/ ksuwild

    I came across this interview (link below) with B.J. Finney. He says the O-Line is not dominating the D-Line in practice… and that’s music to my ears.


    Question: Just out of curiosity, with so many experienced guys on the offensive
    line and a relatively new and inexperienced defensive line, were you
    guys just dominating in practice this spring?

    FINNEY: “Well the thing that people got to realize is this
    defensive line has been practicing against this offensive line for the
    last two years and so we know each other very well. We’re on the same
    team and we practice with each other everyday so they know us, we know
    them and it makes it very difficult for us to block. So no, we’re not
    dominating like people think. It’s a lot of fun.”

    • skylights

      What if the O-line is not as good as we thought? Biting my fingernails…

      • davethoman

        I believe in the O-Line. You look – OT Cornelius Lucas is the #1 lineman in the conference according to several independent media sources. Finney is expected to be among the best centers in the nation. We return every starter from last year, and I was very impressed with what they did last year. I believe in the talent there.

      • http://www.bringonthecats.com/ ksuwild

        The O-Line is definitely going to be good this year. I just think the D-Line is much better than people think. The fact that they haven’t truly been tested, does not mean they can’t play (which seems to be the assumption by the prognosticators).