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Despite two years in the system and playing time with the Wildcats, Daniel Sams should be looking at other positions to secure playing time on the field this fall.
K-State’s spring game had some significant takeaways in April. Robert Rose stepped up to replace an injured John Hubert and averaged over eight yards a carry for a total of 141. The offensive line (predictably) demonstrated the ability to manhandle its defensive counterpart. However, the takeaway everyone was looking for – who would separate themselves in the battle for starting quarterback – never came. Yet without a clear cut favorite in the race to replace Collin Klein, The Jug is confident that Jake Waters will be the starting quarterback on campus this fall.
My biggest fear is that Bill Snyder will exhibit too much trepidation in settling on a starter and substitute Waters and Sams throughout the season, as we’ve seen him do before in choosing between running and throwing ability (specifically the 2001 debacle between Marc Dunn and Ell Roberson that ended in a 6-6 campaign jammed between 11-win seasons). I’m not a fan of interchanging quarterbacks, even for situational purposes; if you’ll recall, Oklahoma’s Blake Bell was brought in to punch home a touchdown at the goal line last year but ended up fumbling the snap.
I want my quarterback to have the best rapport with my center (as well as the rest of the team) as possible. So assuming we’re able to avoid the hot mess that is unsettled quarterback controversy, Waters gets my nod. This is because of not only what he brings to the position, but what Sams can bring everywhere else on the field.
Waters was the NJCAA offensive player of the year last year after leading Iowa Western to a national championship. He was first in the nation in yards passing (3501) and touchdowns (39), while finishing second in completion percentage (73.3%) and yards per game (292). He also averaged five yards per carry and scored six touchdowns with his feet. What was particularly impressive was his championship game performance, as Iowa Western virtually telegraphed the fact that it would pass all day and Butler still failed to stop him. Waters threw for 307 yards that game while his team only rushed for 89 yards (eight credited to Waters). He completed 32 of 40 passes and spread the ball among seven different receivers on the night.
Waters was a wanted commodity coming out the JUCO ranks, and was initially believed to be headed to Penn State. And although the prospect of playing for more than pride (Penn State remains on probation) likely influenced his decision to pursue Midwest pastures, it’s difficult to imagine him agreeing to go somewhere he didn’t envision seeing playing time. This is not to say Bill bare minimum.
Sams and Waters both played on the first team in the Spring Game, and Waters turned in a slightly more promising performance. He was more accurate in completing 14-of-18 passes, while Sams connected on 18-of-28. Sams did throw for more yards, 249 to 391, but from an efficiency standpoint both quarterbacks averaged just under 14 yards per pass attempt. Yet the big observation was Waters’ ability to deliver with precision regardless of the circumstances. Observations from The Collegian following the game:
"As for Waters, he made throws that Klein simply couldn’t last year. In the first quarter, Waters was forced to leave the pocket and throw on the run on third down. In a full sprint, he rocketed a deadly accurate pass to senior wide receiver Torell Miller, who caught it and got the first down. Overall, Waters seemed more capable of making the tougher throws on Saturday."