Kick-off is just six hours away before K-State opens up Big 12 play with a visit to Austin, TX. Here are the five things I’ll be watching for tonight:
1. Playing Time For Quarterbacks: While Daniel Sams has been receiving incrementally greater playing time, Jake Waters has been K-State’s starting quarterback and received the majority of the snaps each of the first three games. Waters is first on the depth chart this week, although we all know that doesn’t mean too much with Bill Snyder. The tactics here are obvious – Texas has spent more time preparing for Sams this because he’s better equipped to exploit their deficiencies. I wouldn’t be surprised if Waters is the first quarterback to trot onto the field, just to mess with Texas and see if they change personnel. The question is who has the most snaps when the game clock hits zero?
2. Who Ends The Game Playing Cornerback: Kip Daily has been impressive so far – he was the conference defensive player of the week this week after his two-interception game against UMass – but Dorrian Roberts looks like he may be moving from cornerback to nickelback (or even farther back) if he can’t turn things around. I hate to pick on the kid (opposing quarterbacks do that enough as is), but he must play his receivers closer and prevent easy gains. Otherwise, Morgan Burns will finish the game opposite Daily.
3. Early Pressure On David Ash: David Ash missed the Ole Miss game and wasn’t a full participant in practice until Wednesday this week after suffering a concussion against BYU. I’m no fan of targeting players or trying to create injuries, but Ash has missed multiple games over his career and K-State has no qualms with brutalizing him. If the Wildcats can get to him early in the game and rattle his cage a little, he may become skittish in the pocket, throwing the ball away or forcing bad throws to avoid pressure. Enter Kip Daily…
4. Player Enthusiasm: Texas claims that this isn’t a rivalry – just because the Longhorns have lost five straight to K-State, they don’t take the game too seriously. However, there’s no way Texas is even-keeled coming into this game. The Longhorns are either angry and fired up – fueled by the doubt swirling above the program and Tre Walker’s comments about Texas being known for laying down this summer – or despondent and ready to give up with their head coach sitting on the hottest seat in the nation. One of those two emotions will be very evident. On K-State’s sideline, it remains to be seen whether the Wildcats can reclaim the energy and enthusiasm we’ve been looking for all season. Hopefully this is the game that finally lights a fire under their arses.
5. The Streak Lives: I’m not phrasing this as a question. It’s a statement. Watch the game tonight, and watch the streak live on. K-State makes it six in a row with another performance leading hordes of fans across the nation to simultaneously chant “we own Texas.” It’s time, boys, now go collect your rent.