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2011 Kansas State Preview - Offense
Kansas State QB Collin Klein
Kansas State QB Collin Klein
Posted Jun 30, 2011 2011 Preview - Kansas State Wildcat Offense

Kansas State Wildcats

Preview 2011 - Offense

- 2011 Kansas State Preview | 2011 Kansas State Offense
- 2011 Kansas State Defense | 2011 Kansas State Depth Chart
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What You Need To Know: The Kansas State offense revolved around Daniel Thomas and the running game, finishing second in the Big 12 and 22nd in the nation in rushing. The passing attack finished 92nd in the nation in passing, but was efficient. Now the balance could be even more skewed to the rushing offense with one-time super-recruit Bryce Brown looking to take over for Thomas, while the quarterbacks should add even more to the totals with Justin Tuggle and Collin Klein both runners more than passers. The receiving corps will be underutilized, but it should be terrific if everyone stays healthy, while the line will be serviceable, but nothing special.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Collin Klein
11-18, 138 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Collin Klein
76 carries, 432 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Chris Harper
25 catches, 330 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore RB Bryce Brown
Player who has to step up and be a star: Brown
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Tramaine Thompson
Best pro prospect: Brown
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Brown, 2) WR Brodrick Smith, 3) WR Chris Harper
Strength of the offense: Running Game, Receivers
Weakness of the offense: Passing Game, Line Interior


State of the Unit: Forget about the passing game. Kansas State didn’t have much of one last year, but it still averaged a reasonable 179 yards per game and was the fourth most efficient in the Big 12. Gone is Carson Coffman, the team’s best passer, and now it’ll be all about who can run the offense the best and who can be the most dangerous playmaker on the ground.

Junior Collin Klein looks like a pro-style quarterback at a tall, athletic 6-5 and 226 pounds, but he’s a runner. He completed 11-of-18 passes for 138 yards and a score when he got his chances, but his game revolved around running the ball finishing second on the team with 432 yards and six touchdowns highlighted by a 127-yard, two score game in the win over Texas, and followed up by a 141-yard day against Missouri. It’s not that he can’t throw, and he has the smarts to spread around the offense, but he’s at his best when he gets on the move.

Transfer Justin Tuggle came in from Blinn College where he was considered the nation’s top JUCO dual-threat quarterback throwing for 2,015 yards and 17 scores and running for 733 yards and 12 scores. At 6-3 and 227 pounds he has great size, a live arm, and great mobility. While he’s the best all-around option for the quarterback job, he’ll almost certainly have to split time with Klein.

Senior Sammuel Lamur, brother of star linebacker/safety, Emmanuel Lamur, is a 6-4, 221-pound potential playmaker saw a little time last year completing all three of his passes for 28 yards and ran for 20 yards. The former JUCO transfer from Joliet JC doesn’t have the most accurate of arms, but he has the size and the athleticism to be a dangerous threat whenever he’s on the field. There’s a chance he switches positions just to get his size and speed into the mix somewhere.

Watch Out For … Tuggle. Klein showed last year that he could handle the starting job if he gets it, but Tuggle has the speed and running ability to go along with the live passing arm. He’s ready to go right out of the box.
Strength: Running. Klein is one of the best running quarterbacks in the Big 12, or at least one of the most effective, and Tuggle and Lamur will always be threats to take off. The quarterback always has to be accounted for in the ground game.
Weakness: Passing. The Wildcats only threw for 2,331 yards and 16 touchdown passes, and Carson Coffman threw for 2,060 of the yards and 14 of the scores. Tuggle can throw, but even so, it’ll be a bit of a shocker if KSU isn’t in the bottom two of Big 12 passing games.
Outlook: The quarterback situation should be fascinating with Tuggle and Klein each getting their chances to produce. In a perfect world, one of them takes the job by the horns and is too good to keep off the field, but it’s possible that both see regular time and the two combine for over 1,000 yards rushing.
Unit Rating: 6.5

Running Backs

State of the Unit: Daniel Thomas did everything for the KSU ground game with 1,585 yards and 19 touchdowns on 298 carries. Now he’s a Miami Dolphin, and while taking away the entire offense would normally be a problem, the situation should be more than fine thanks to a huge recruit who needs to live up to the hype.

Sophomore Bryce Brown was considered by some to the nation’s top recruit in the 2009 class. After a ton of drama and plenty of goofy posturing from the Brown camp – including talk about trying to turn pro early and going to the CFL – he ended up at Tennessee and ran for 460 yards in his first year. Lane Kiffin took off, and so did Brown, who moved to Kansas State when his brother, great-looking linebacker Arthur Brown, decided to transfer. Now it’s time to see what he can do. The 6-0, 220-pounder has the talent and the skill to be one of the nation’s best backs, but he needs his attitude to be right, he has to bust his tail, and he has to use his speed and power to be a dangerous workhorse.

Even if Brown becomes the real deal and even if he can handle the ball close to 300 times, sophomore John Hubert will still see plenty of carries and lots of work. A 5-7, 185-pound speed back who can be used as a dangerous kickoff returner as well as a receiver, he’s a home run hitting threat who got a little time last season but only ran 12 times for 28 yards.

5-6, 191-pound redshirt freshman DeMarcus Robinson is a speed back who was a top recruit last year and now will get every chance to be a part of the rotation. He’ll be compared to Darren Sproles because of his height, but he’s thicker and not as quick. He tore off 1,720 yards as a high school senior and he could’ve gone almost anywhere, but now he’ll be a key part of the Wildcat rotation.

6-3, 244-pound junior Braden Wilson started 11 times at fullback and grew into one of the Big 12’s best blockers. A big-time blaster of a blocker, he’s a bit tall for the position but he’s still able to get low and generate a push for the ground game. He’s not going to run much, carrying the ball just seven times for 14 yards and a score, and he caught seven passes for 63 yards, but he’s going to hit people in the mouth for the ground attack.

Watch Out For … Hubert. All the hype and all the attention will surround Brown, but Hubert should be a dangerous playmaker whenever he gets his chances. KSU doesn’t spread the carries around too much, but Hubert and Robinson will be heard from.
Strength: Bryce Brown. If Kansas State had landed Brown in February of 2009, it would’ve been hailed as the biggest and best recruit the program was ever able to bring in. Even after a mediocre offseason, that still might be true. If he has his head screwed on straight and if he decides he wants to be the best back in America, he should be special.
Weakness: Veterans. Brown is supposed to be great, but he’s still unproven as a No. 1 workhorse. Hubert didn’t exactly blow up when he got his shot last year, and Robinson still has to show why he was such a big recruit two years ago. Daniel Thomas really was great.
Outlook: Overall, this could be the most dangerous backfields the Wildcats have had in several years, but it’s long on promise and short on proven production. The quarterbacks are going to help the cause, but the running game should rely around Brown as long as he can handle the work. If Hubert and Robinson can rip off big runs now and then, and if there can be a nice rotation, the loss of Thomas won’t hurt.
Unit Rating: 8


State of the Unit: Considering the passing game should be along for the ride, the receivers have to take advantage of their limited opportunities and they have to come up with key third down grabs. Yards per catch will mean more than the bulk number of catches, and with two starters back along with the top tight end, this group will know its role. However, including running back Daniel Thomas, the top three receivers from last year are gone.

The leading returning receiver is 6-1, 225-pound junior Chris Harper doesn’t necessarily look the part, but he’s an ultra-athletic target who caught 25 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns averaging 13.2 yards per catch. The former Oregon Duck got seven starts and came on late in the year, and now it’ll be his job to be a No. 1 target. Originally a quarterback, he’s a good route runner who’s just now becoming a polished wideout. He’ll work at one spot with sophomore Torrell Miller, a former safety who played as a true freshman, but has the high school experience as a receiver to handle the new job just fine.

5-7, 165-pound sophomore Tramaine Thompson isn’t all that big, but he’s extremely quick and very fast. He didn’t get in the end zone, but he averaged 13.6 yards per catch with 19 grabs for 258 yards over the first six games of the season before getting knocked out for the year with a leg injury. He’s back now and could be the team’s most explosive target, but if there are any problems, 5-11, 180-pound senior Sheldon Smith has more size and the speed to make a big splash. The former JUCO transfer was supposed to make an impact right away in 2009, didn’t, and then redshirted last year. Now he needs to show off his skills and athleticism to become a deep threat.

Stepping in at one of the open starting spots is junior Brodrick Smith, who rocked early on last year making 14 catches for 191 yards and three scores before suffering a badly injured leg and getting knocked out for the year. At 6-1 and 209 pounds, the transfer from Minnesota has good size and a world of talent, but he has to be healthy and he has to build on the terrific first five games to become a No. 1 target. If he has any setbacks, 5-11, 193-pound freshman Curry Sexton wasn’t a top recruit, but he has good open-field running ability and is a physical player who can be used in a variety of ways.

6-3, 245-pound junior Travis Tannahill is back as the starting tight end after spending last year as a strong blocker. With ideal size and good strength, he has the tools and the athleticism to do far more, but he only caught seven passes for 103 yards and a score and did most of his work as a blocker. He’s an okay blocker, but not an elite one. On the other side is sophomore Andre McDonald, who’s like a third offensive tackle at 6-8 and 276 pounds. He caught five passes for 76 yards and a score, but his worth is as a big hitter.

Watch Out For … Thompson and Smith. The loss of Quarles and Hilburn isn’t that big a deal, and it won’t be a problem in any way if Thompson and Smith are back to form. They still might need time to be back to 100%, but if they’re close, they’ll be deadly.
Strength: Speedsters. The receiving corps averaged 12.3 yards per catch and should come up with plenty of big plays once again. There are plenty of tremendous athletes who can stretch the field and throw a scare into secondaries.
Weakness: The quarterbacks. Justin Tuggle has a good arm and has the potential to make the passing game shine, and Collin Klein shouldn’t be too bad when he has to fire, but it’s not like Peyton Manning is under center. The passing game will be more opportunistic than become a main mode of transportation.
Outlook: The talent level is there as long as everyone is healthy. Thompson and Smith could be deadly as long as they’re right, and Harper is growing into a dangerous target who should be better and better with more time. Stretching the field won’t be a problem, but it’ll be a shock if the offense completes more than 175 passes; there won’t be that much work. The talent is better than the production will be.
Unit Rating: 7

Offensive Line

State of the Unit: The Wildcat offensive front was great for the ground game and struggled in pass protection. While the line couldn’t handle the better and more athletic defensive fronts, the mobile quarterbacks got dropped for sacks when they tried to make things happen. Work is needed on the interior with three new starters needed, but the tackles are back.

6-5, 300-pound senior Manase Foketi started every game at left tackle and came up with a seven season. Active and with a good frame, the former JUCO transfer is a natural pass protector who should be more of an anchor now that he knows the system and knows what he’s doing. He’ll be backed up by the massive 6-8, 331-pound sophomore Cornelius Lucas, who saw time in every game as a key backup. Huge, he’s tough to get around.

Back on the other side is 6-6, 301-pound senior Clyde Aufner, a very long blocker with great arms and good experience. He stated eight times last season on the right side after coming back from an early injury, and now he’ll go into his third year as a starter who can hit well for the ground game and isn’t bad in pass protection. He could be fine at left tackle if needed, but he’s better on the right side. Adding even more size and length is 6-8, 313-pound senior Zach Hanson, who started three times early on, and now the former JUCO transfer from Sacramento CC will be even more of an important reserve.

Taking over at center for Wade Weibert, who started every game, will be B.J. Finney, a 6-4, 297-pound redshirt freshman who’s a mauler of a blocker with decent upside, but he’s not a top talent. The former walk-on is plucky and has decent size, but he has work to do to be Weibert. If he can’t get the job done, the bigger 6-0, 337-pound sophomore Shaun Simon will step in after being signed from Hutchinson CC. The former JUCO all-star is a short, squatty blocker who’s built for the position, but he could be moved to guard.

6-4, 301-pound senior Colten Freeze will get the longest look at the open right guard job, but he could end up starting at left guard. He has seen a little bit of time working as a key reserve last season and getting a start in 2009, and now he has to be a stalwart for the inside as a mobile run blocker. If he starts on the left side, then 6-3, 278-pound sophomore Keenan Taylor will start on the right side. If Freeze starts on the right side, then Taylor will start on the left. While Taylor isn’t all that big, and he’s built like a tackle, he’s extremely strong, smart, and versatile. A special teamer so far, he’ll start somewhere inside.

6-4, 306-pound junior Nick Puetz is a big JUCO transfer who could work at left guard. The former Wyoming Cowboy is ready to go from Day One as a top backup, while 6-3, 317-pound redshirt freshman Tomasi Mariner is a big, good-looking right guard prospect who doesn’t move all that well, but is physical.

Watch Out For … the guard situation. There weren’t any questions last season when Zach Kendall and Kenneth Mayfield locked down the positions for a full 13 games. Taylor and Freeze will be the main men this year, but where will they play? It might depend on who ends up taking over the starting quarterback job.
Strength: Run blocking. It’s easy to do; see guy, hit guy. The Wildcat linemen know they’re supposed to pound away when they step off the bus, and this group should be able to open up holes without much of a problem. This isn’t a massive line, but it’s strong and can move.
Weakness: Center. Simon will get every look for the starting job, and the plucky Finney will probably get the call. If Finney can handle the work, he’ll be the main man for the next four years. However, it’s a big task for a renovated line.
Outlook: The Wildcats always get good production for the running game, and despite all the big changes and the personnel losses, everything will turn out to be fine with a little bit of time. The tackles are experienced, there’s depth from the JUCO ranks, and as long as the center situation is settled, the production should be good enough to keep the line from being a major weakness.
Unit Rating:

- 2011 Kansas State Preview | 2011 Kansas State Offense
- 2011 Kansas State Defense | 2011 Kansas State Depth Chart
- Kansas State Previews 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006