As a K-State football fan, I want to know who will start this year. I need to know. We’ve done a little of our own analysis and even prognosis in trying to predict what will happen, but perhaps we’re asking the wrong question. So with Big 12 Media Days getting underway and less than 40 days until football season, The Jug has moved on to asking when the quarterbacks will start.
I still believe the line up that gives this team the best opportunity to win is Jake Waters starting with Daniel Sams seeing elevated time in the background through various formations to confuse defenses and keep opponents on edge. Yet we’ve all suffered through multiple quarterback controversies under Bill Snyder and know he dislikes settling on a quarterback – particularly if they bring such difference skill sets to the field. So here’s my speculation; each quarterback will see at least three starts this year, based on whose talents are best able to exploit the opposition in the Big 12.
The team starts the conference season against Texas, and Sams could get the call here. The Longhorns are pretty evenly talented at every unit, and the defensive backfield, linebackers, and line all have a superstar in DE Jackson Jeffcoat, LB Jordan Hicks and CB Quandre Diggs. However, this may be a grind-it-out game and the Longhorns were awful against the run last year. I’d go with Sams to manage the game and try to wear down the Texas defense.
The Wildcats then travel to Oklahoma State where the offense is a little more stacked, the defense is a little shakier, but the talent is still spread throughout. The linebacker position should be stouter than the secondary, making passing easier than rushing. Given the threat this game may turn into a shoot-out early, Waters could easily get the start here.
The third game sees Baylor visit Manhattan. With two of the league’s best linebackers and a loaded secondary, this team’s only weakness is the defensive line (and it’s a noticeable one). I say run, run, play-action and beat the Bears with a traditional offensive approach that features Waters but allows Sams to get some time at tailback and possibly split wide (with at least two trick plays).
You can continue running through the list of teams on the schedule to find the best ways to exploit offenses, and probably make an argument for starting Waters against Texas but not Oklahoma State or Baylor. The coaching staff will be entrusted to find the best weaknesses to exploit. But as these two quarterback appear to remain neck-and-neck, I say force opposing defenses to prepare for two different quarterbacks every week and see how off-balance the Wildcats can keep teams this season. On that note, I say give one player the start against North Dakota State and the other against Louisiana LaFayette. Doesn’t matter which. Tavon Rooks could probably start against UMass and get the win.