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Kansas State Preview 2006 - Offense
Kansas State Wildcats
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 31, 2006


Kansas State Wildcats Preview 2006 - Wildcat Offense

What you need to know ... Gone are the days of the old Wildcat offense that was quarterback run, running back run, quarterback run. There's not going to be a true spread attack, but there should be some hybrid of styles that opens things up a bit more for the passing game. After three quarterbacks transferred, it's up to Dylan Meier and freshman Josh Freeman to run the show. The receiving corps, one of the fastest in the Big 12, should shine with more passes their way, while the backfield has interesting but uncertain options. The key to the season will be the performance of a line that suffered from major inconsistencies and injuries last season.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Allan Evridge
102-213, 1,365 yds, 6 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Thomas Clayton
137 carries, 637 yds, 5 TD
Receiving:
Jordy Nelson
45 catches, 669 yds, 8 TD

Star of the offense: Junior WR Jordy Nelson
Player that has to step up and become a star: The entire offensive line
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Val Taylor
Best pro prospect: Nelson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Nelson, 2) QB Dylan Meier, 3) RB Thomas Clayton
Strength of the offense: Wide receiver speed
Weakness of the offense:
Offensive line

Quarterbacks
The quarterback situation went from wide open to limited in a heartbeat. Last year's top starter, Allan Evridge, left the team early into fall practice. Allen Webb, the starter over the first four games, also left. Now it's up to the toughness and passing skills of Dylan Meier and the size and arm of Josh Freeman to get by. Unfortunately, other than Freeman, a true freshman who'll be more of an option next year, all could start meaning it might be Meier or bust early on.
The key to the unit: Freeman must show early on that he's ready in case Meier has issues. That'll be much harder than it might seem.
Quarterback Rating: 6.5

Projected Starter
- Dylan Meier, Sr.
Meier should be the main man early on. Back after a variety of injuries including a shoulder problem that kept him out all of last year, he showed this spring that his accuracy is back even if he doesn't have the best fastball around. There are few tougher quarterbacks.

Top Backups
- Josh Freeman, Fr.
The quarterback situation got very interesting this off-season when Freeman, one of the nation's top passing prospects, signed on. He's a big 6-6, 238-pound bomber who has a huge arm and nice touch.
Any plans of redshirting him are gone now that he's in the hunt for the starting job with the transfer of Allan Evridge and Allen Webb.

- Allan Evridge, Soph. - 102-213, 48%, 1,365 yds, 6 TD, 7 INT, 102 carries, 203 yds, 2 ypc, 4 TD
Evridge took over midway through last year and turned out to be the offense. While he showed great promise, he ended up transferring after it appeared that he'd be out of the quarterback race early in fall practice.


- Allen Webb, Sr. - 62-105, 59%, 850 yds, 9 TD, 5 INT, 71 carries, 172 yds, 2.4 ypc
The starter for the first four games last year showed good accuracy and production throwing two touchdown passes in each of the first four games. He came off the bench in the season finale against Missouri to go 10 of 14 for 93 yards and a touchdown while running for 91 yards in the win. While he was an experienced option, he chose to transfer this summer.

Running Backs
What you see on the depth chart might not be what you get after the first few weeks. Thomas Clayton has a next-level combination of skills, but off-the-field issues and inconsistency as last year rolled on prevented him from blossoming into a star. If he can get in the good graces of the coaching staff, and if he looks better than he did this spring, he could be the season's breakout performer. Carlos Alsup has been around long enough to be a decent option, but Darren Sproles-like Leon Patton and JUCO superstar James Johnson might be the main men when they get to Manhattan late this summer.
The key to the unit: Keep everyone healthy and get all the options some meaningful carries. There are more than enough talented prospects to work with, but they'll need the offensive line to be better and the passing game to take the heat off.
Running Back Rating: 7.5

Projected Starters
- Thomas Clayton, Sr. - 137 carries, 637 yds, 4.6 ypc, 4 TD, 12 carries, 73 yds, 6.1 ypc, 1 TD
The nation's leading rusher over the first few weeks last year, Clayton ripped off 177 yards and two touchdowns against FIU and 152 yards and a score against Marshall before getting into trouble off-the-field. He didn't get back on track until late in the year, and now he's not going to be able to build on the momentum after being suspended for the season opener against Illinois State thanks to a misdemeanor battery conviction. He has home-run hitting speed and he's a strong 220 pounds, but he has to prove he can be reliable.

Top Backups
- Carlos Alsup, Sr. - 30 carries, 96 yds, 3.2 ypc, 2 TD
One time considered a speed back with power, knee injuries have made him a power back with some speed. He's a good, reliable leader who got one start last season and cranked out a few yards, but he's not dependable enough to be counted on to carry the workload for a full season.
- Leon Patton, Fr.
It's asking too much for the incoming freshman to be Darren Sproles, but the 5-8, 175-pound speed back certainly looks the part. He's as strong as any of the backs and there's no question about his quickness. Can he be the workhorse that Sproles was? He might get his chance early on when he arrives this fall.
- James Johnson, Jr.
With Thomas Clayton suspended, f you're looking for your possible week one starter against Illinois State, Johnson might be it. The JUCO superstar tore off 2,384 yards and 36 touchdowns at Blinn College in Texas and now brings his combination of inside power and outside speed to the backfield. At the very least, he should develop into a good number two back.

Receivers
The measurables are certainly there. If and when the Wildcats go to a three-wise set with Jordy Nelson, Yamon Figurs and Val Taylor, there won't be a faster trio in college football. But can they play? Nelson is a rock-solid number one target who's on the verge of All-Big 12 stardom if someone can consistently get him the ball. Figurs and fellow starter Jermaine Moreira regressed a bit last year and now has to deal with a slew of promising receivers itching for time. JUCO transfer Cedric Wilson could be an instant starter when he arrives this fall. Tight ends Rashaad Norwood and Brett Alstatt have all the talent in the world, but they have to start playing up to expectations considering the coaching staff wants to use get these two involved early and often.
The key to the unit: All the speed has to be used to scare someone. There were several big plays made last year, but not enough of them.
Receiver Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Jordy Nelson, Jr. - 45 catches, 669 yds, 14.9 ypc, 8 TD
The team's best offensive player last year, the 6-3, 210-pound junior was the one steady receiver after making the switch from defensive back. He can flat out fly and is surprisingly polished considering the position change. Expect him to be used as a deep threat as well as the key go-to receiver.

- Yamon Figurs, Sr. - 14 catches, 243 yds, 17.4 ypc, 1 TD
One of the team's fastest players, Figurs has to be used more than just a top kick and punt returner. He didn't get too many chances to show off his wheels on offense last season with only one big play, a 52-yard touchdown catch against Texas A&M. The coaching staff will find ways to get the ball in his hands more as a runner.

- Jermaine Moreira, Sr. - 35 catches, 485 yds, 13.9 ypc, 1 TD
The 5-11, 190-pound senior has the hands and the experience to do more once he gets more passes his way, but he'll have to hold off several good prospects to keep a starting job. He has been the team's leading receiver over the last two years and has made 91 grabs for 1,168 yards and five touchdowns in his career, but he saw his scoring production dip dramatically with only one touchdown catch last year.

- Tight end Rashaad Norwood, Jr. - 13 catches, 160 yds, 12.3 ypc, 1 TD
He has the size at 6-5 and 240 pounds to go along with the athleticism to grow into a good receiver, but he drops too many passes even though he got better as last year went on. If he can focus a little better, he could be a good weapon.

Top Backups
- Toney Coleman, Jr. - 3 catches, 34 yds, 11.3 ypc
Coleman overcame injury problems to see a little bit of work last year. While he doesn't have the raw talent of some of the other Wildcat receivers, he's a good athlete who'll get more work behind Jordy Nelson.
- Val Taylor, RFr.
With track star speed, the 6-1, 180-pound Taylor is pushing hard for playing time right away. He's a sprinter on the Wildcat track team, but he's a football player and not a soft track man.
- Cedric Wilson, Soph.
Adding even more speed to the mix, the JUCO transfer comes over from Garden City CC where he mostly played cornerback. Even though he has the talent to be a starter in the secondary, he was recruited by everyone as a wide receiver to use his next-level athleticism to become a game-breaker..
- Tight end Brett Alstatt, Soph. - 1 catch, 23 yds
Possibly a year away from being a top contributor on offense, the 6-5, 245-pound sophomore will mostly work on special teams. A decent blocker, he'll have to grow into a stronger receiving threat to hold off Nate Prater for the number two job.

Offensive Linemen
On the plus side, head coach Ron Prince is great at molding an offensive line. However, he has a lot of work to do to try to find the right combination. As many as three steady starters from last year could start the year on the bench as sophomores Gerard Spexarth at tackle, Ryan Schmidt at center, and Matt Boss at guard are all healthy and all ready to take on big roles. Add redshirt freshman tackle Derek Meyer to the starting mix, and this should be a young, young, young group that'll need time to jell. In time, this should be a good group.
The key to the unit: Limit sacks and do far more for the running game. The Wildcats only averaged 3.5 yards per carry and allowed 26 sacks. Things might get worse before they get better, but this should become one of the team's strengths when everything comes together.
Offensive Line Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- OT Derek Meyer, RFr.
Meyer almost saw time as a redshirt freshman, but he spent last year working on getting stronger and more polished. He has a good combination of size at athleticism at left tackle, but he'll have to go through some growing pains and has to prove he can be a consistent pass blocker.
- OG Matt Boss, Soph.
The 6-4, 310-pound sophomore has the talent to grow into a star, but he has to find a bit more of a killer instinct. Despite being banged up, he ended up being a nice spot starter and a good-looking young run blocker. He'll combine with John Hafferty on the left side.
- C Ryan Schmidt, Soph.
Is Schmidt ready? The 6-5, 290-pound sophomore was going to take over the starting spot last season but hurt his leg in fall camp and missed the entire year. He was good enough this spring to push incumbent Jordan Bedore out of the number one job.
- OG Greg Wafford, Sr.
The former JUCO transfer didn't do much of anything in his first year with the program and then grew into a consistent all-around blocker at right tackle last season. The 6-2, 305-pound senior will move to guard with the return of Gerard Spexarth and should be one of the team's top anchors.
- OT Gerard Spexarth, Soph.
All set to be a starter at a freshman, the 6-7, 290-pound Spexarth broke his hand before the season started and wasn't able to keep up his strength and weight. Now that he's all back healthy, he should grow into a top right tackle with good size and athleticism. He's a great competitor with next-level upside.

Top Backups
- OG John Hafferty, Jr.
Hafferty started every game at left guard and was solid, but not spectacular. If he doesn't take back the starting job, he'll be a tremendous reserve who can step in and be a tough, quick blocker at either spot.
- C Jordan Bedore, Soph.
The former defensive lineman ended up starting most of last year at center after injuries hit up front, but he struggled in his consistency and will have to battle with Ryan Schmidt for the job. The 6-3, 275-pound sophomore has no problems being physical and great on the move.

- OG Caleb Handy, Soph.
Can he get back a starting spot? The 6-1, 305-pound sophomore started in the first eight games of last year seeing time at tackle and guard. He'll end up finding starting time somewhere on the right side with his most likely first spot behind Greg Wafford at right guard.

Related Stories
Kansas State Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006
Kansas State Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006
Kansas State Preview 2006 - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 31, 2006








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