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Kansas Football Opponent Prospectus | Kansas State Wildcats

Head Coach | Bill Snyder

2010 Record | 7-6 (3-5) Big 12 Record

Returning Starters | The Wildcats will return 6 starters on offense, although current QB1 Collin Klein has already seen plenty of action. KSU returns 7 starters on a defense.

Key Losses | QB Carson Coffman, RB Daniel Thomas, OL Kenneth Mayfield, OL Zach Kendall, WR Aubrey Quarles, WR Adrian Hillburn, K Josh Cherry, DE Antonio Felder, DT Prizell Brown, CB Stephen Harrison, CB Terrance Sweeney

Key Additions | We will get to RB Bryce Brown in a minute, but KState addressed a few other areas of need in their recent recruiting class. KSU got a nice pickup at QB with JUCO transfer Justin Tuggle, who has great size. The Wildcats also made an effort to improve their porous front seven by signing highly rated defensive ends Meshak Williams and Marquel Bryant, and also signing DT Lamonte Clark. Brown’s older brother Arthur at LB should be a big boost to the front seven as well. Oregon transfer Chris Harper and Minnesota transfer Brodrick Smith should give the WR corps a boost… if that even matters with Klein behind center.

Impact Offensive Player | Bryce Brown – Brown enters camp with a ton of hype, and for good reason. He was the former top recruit in the country before signing with Tennessee. If you are a talented back, you can put up monster numbers in Snyder’s rush-heavy offense. However, some have already labeled Brown as a potential bust after Snyder openly questioned his work ethic to the media. With an offense that primarily focuses on the run, KSU will need Brown to be as good as advertised to replace Daniel Thomas, who will be playing his football on Sundays this fall.

Impact Defensive Player | Ty Zimmerman - KState’s front seven got absolutely abused last year, and while the Wildcats have made some efforts to fix the run defense, odds are there will still be some issues. Enter Zimmerman, a freshman All-American safety who has a knack for making big plays. Last season, Zimmerman was everywhere, registering 74 tackles, 3 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. The KSU defense is going to need plenty of turnovers and big plays, and another All-Conference season from Zimmerman could be what keeps the Wildcats in the bowl picture.

The Offense

For all of the grief that Wildcat fans gave Carson Coffman, the guy did have his moments (including a 17 of 23, 228 yard, two touchdown performance in the Pinstripe Bowl). Coffman is gone, and in comes Collin Klein, who is a dangerous runner and a complete unknown as a passer. Whether or not Klein develops into a legit passer could be somewhat irrelevant, as KSU will look to pound the rock with an old school offense featuring Klein and Brown churning out first downs with their legs. However, KSU has to plug a few holes on the offensive line, and as good as Brown could be, it will be hard to replace Daniel Thomas. Should Brown fail to meet expectations, KSU has other talented options in the backfield such as DeMarcus Robinson and John Hubert.

The Wildcats lose their top wide receivers from a year ago, but transfers Chris Harper and Brodrick Smith should contribute right away. Tramaine Thompson showed some ability before going down with an injury, and KSU will find a way to get the speedster some touches every game.

KSU will likely boast a solid offense once again, but with uncertainty in the passing game, question marks at guard and a wait-and-see approach with Brown, it is hard to see this unit putting up better numbers than last season.

The Defense

While KState’s offense varied from decent to very good week after week, the Wildcat’s defense was never able to get anything going. KSU gave up an unfathomable 231 yards per game on the ground, and didn’t create much of a pass rush either. Add in allowing opponents to convert 45% of their third down conversions and… ouch. The Wildcats numbers look even worse when you consider that their game against us is factored into these stats (you know, when we kind of just rolled over and died). KState has addressed the front seven somewhat on the recruiting trail, and the Wildcats will look to employ more of a traditional 4-3 base this year after busting out a lot of 4-2-5 looks last season.

The secondary is by far the strength of this defense, with two playmakers at safety in Tysyn Hartman and Ty Zimmerman. KSU has a talented corner in David Garrett, who led the team in tackles last season (which also shows you how bad the front seven was). The wildcats have the potential to have a very dangerous secondary, and an improved pass rush could make the DBs even better.

With playmakers in the secondary and the front seven’s reputation, expect teams to run the ball mercilessly against KSU all year. With another year under their belts and some much-needed JUCO and transfer help, this unit will be better. Problem is, it needs to be astronomically better for KSU to sniff the 8 and up win plateau.