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2009 Kansas State Preview - Offense
Kansas State WR Brandon Banks
Kansas State WR Brandon Banks
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 12, 2009


CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Kansas State Wildcat Offense

Kansas State Wildcats

Preview 2009 - Offense

- 2009 CFN Kansas State Preview | 2009 Kansas State Offense
- 2009 Kansas State Defense | 2009 Kansas State Depth Chart
- 2008 KSU Preview | 2007 KSU Preview | 2006 KSU Preview 

What you need to know: It might not be the old days of Michael Bishop or Darren Sproles and Ell Roberson, but Kansas State will be looking to throw less and run more. The pieces might not be there to do exactly what Bill Snyder would like, but the old coaching staff left a ton of very fast receivers, quick running backs, and a not-that-bad line. The problem is the departure of Josh Freeman, who left early to make millions in the NFL. The offense relied on his talents a bit too much, and now it'll be up to Carson Coffman to hold down the starting quarterback job and be a steadying force. There are big bombers waiting in the wings, and JUCO transfer Daniel Thomas to run like Snyder would like, but Coffman will get the early call ... maybe. The depth chart is written in pencil with lots of tinkering to be done on the line and with the starting spots in the backfield up for grabs.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Carson Coffman
25-41, 282 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Lamark Brown (WR now)
118 carries, 412 yds, 5 TD
Receiving: Brandon Banks
67 catches, 1,049 yds, 9 TD

Star of the offense: Senior WR Brandon Banks
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior QB Carson Coffman
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Clyde Aufner
Best pro prospect: Banks (as a kick returner)
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Banks, 2) WR/RB Lamark Brown, 3) OT Nick Stringer
Strength of the offense: Speed, Pass Protection
Weakness of the offense:
Running Back, No Josh Freeman

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter
:
Is Carson Coffman ready for the job? After serving as the understudy behind Josh Freeman, the 6-3, 212-pound junior has the experience to be the leading man competing 25-of-41 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. The brother of former Missouri star tight end, Chase, he's a big, accurate passer with a nice arm and decent mobility, running for 60 yards and a score. However, his experience and smarts aren't quite enough; he'll have to battle and battle hard this fall to keep the job.

Projected Top Reserves: At 6-5 and 227 pounds, redshirt freshman Collin Klein has the size and the arm to bomb away. He's a nice runner for his size, and not just when a play breaks down. He has the raw skills with the athleticism and the arm to develop into a possible leader, but he's at least a year away from being ready.

Yet another big KSU quarterback, 6-5, 239-pound redshirt freshman Joseph Kassanavoid has the best arm of the bunch. A nice prospect who had a nose for the goal line in high school, he's a tough runner who has to keep improving as a passer. He needs polish and might end up fighting just to be the third quarterback in the pecking order.

Almost certain to be the No. 2 man in the mix, if he doesn't win the starting job, is Daniel Thomas, a JUCO transfer who signed with Kansas State last year and ended up running for 562 yards and six scores and throwing for 450 yards and two scores for NW Mississippi JC. The 6-2, 227 pounder from Florida is the team's best dual-threat option by far, but he has to work on his passing accuracy. He could end up as a running back, which is what the former coaching staff was thinking about doing with him.


Watch Out For ... Thomas. Bill Snyder likes quarterbacks who can move, and while the other options aren't statues, Thomas fits the mold a bit better.
Strength: Big arms. Thomas isn't small at 6-2 and 227 pounds, and he's the smallest one of the bunch. Coffman, Klein, and Kassanavoid are all big-armed passers with size and just enough athleticism to get by.
Weakness: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Josh Freeman would've been a major star as a veteran leader who could've made the struggling rebuilding team a player, but he's off making millions at the next level while Snyder has unproven prospects to work with.
Outlook: It would've been nice if Freeman had stuck around, and now the coaching staff has a few big choices to make. Is this really a rebuilding year, will the offense live with the mistakes of a redshirt freshman to develop for the next few years, or will it be the easy, safe choice of Carson Coffman? The issue might not be settled until just before the season starts, and even then it might be up for debate.
Rating: 6

Running Backs

Projected Starter
:
Senior walk-on Keithen Valentine was a key back early on last year, running for 118 yards and two scores in the first three games, and then he barely saw the light of day seeing three carries for 11 yards and a score in the shootout win over Texas A&M. That was it. Now the former JUCO transfer is being given a second life and he plans on taking advantage of it. At 5-8 and 193 pounds, he's a small, lightning-quick back who has to produce early on or he'll be relegated to the bench in a hurry.

Is Braden Wilson ready to be a blaster of a blocker for the next four years? The 6-4, 245-pound freshman is strong enough and more athletic than his age might suggest, and he could end up being used in a variety of ways. He'll see time at tight end and could end up being a ball-carrier for a stretch after running for 1,807 yards and 29 touchdowns for two Kansas high school state championship teams.

Projected Top Reserves: When the running game needs a bit more power, it'll give Logan Dold a shot after he plowed ahead for 333 yards and three scores. The6-0, 207-pound sophomore blasted away for 115 yards against Texas A&M and could be used far more, even though he doesn't exactly fit what the coaching staff would like out of the ground game.

6-1, 220-pound redshirt freshman Jarell Childs impressed enough this spring to be the No. 2 back going into the fall. A tough runner who'll likely be used mostly around the goal line and in short yardage situations, he's extremely strong and can be used as a fullback if he's not carrying the mail.

Needing to be a home run hitter is Dee Bell, a lightning fast sophomore who isn't all that big, checking in at just 5-8 and 177 pounds, but he runs a 10.5 in the 100. He only got one carry which went for -3 yards, and he caught a pass for six yards, but he'll get far more work this year. He has the toughness to handle the load if needed.

Watch Out For ... the newcomers. The recruits were supposed to play a big role in last year's running game, and they didn't. This year, Timothy Flanders could find a spot somewhere right away if he doesn't take over a role as a runner after tearing off 2,153 yards and 34 touchdowns as a high school senior. Tramaine Thompson is another smallish speedster who can be a receiver as well as a runner, and John Hubert could turn out to be the main man early on if he gets a chance.
Strength: Speed. It's Kansas State, so there are always going to be smallish speed backs who can cut on a dime Give these guys a crease and they could be gone.
Weakness: Proven production. The best back on the team, 2008 leading rusher Lamark Brown, is off playing receiver, and the second-leading rusher, Josh Freeman, is off living in Tampa. Dold ran for 333 yards last year and Valentine ran for 129. The team needs a back to count on.
Outlook: There are plenty of speedy backs to go around and there are several options to form an interesting rotation. It's a deep group, even if there isn't much in the way of proven production, and there could be far more work with less of a reliance on Josh Freeman and the passing game. Now there needs to be a star who can emerge from the fray; the job is wide open for the taking.
Rating: 6

Receivers

Projected Starters
:
The concern over who was going to take over for Jordy Nelson was answered by senior Brandon Banks, one of the team's fastest players and a game-breaker the offense desperately needs. Extremely athletic, he was the two-time North Carolina high school state champion in the 200 and the long jump and cranked out a 10.42 in the 100. While he wasn't considered the team's best new receiver prospect after coming over from Bakersfield C.C., he turned out to be a major-league producer making 67 catches for 1,0409 yards with nine touchdowns, averaging 15.7 yards per catch. He also turned into a whale of a kickoff returner averaging 27.7 yards per try. While he's only 5-7 and 170 pounds, he makes up for it with his next-level wheels and quickness. He can be used as a possession receiver or as a home-run threat. He can do it all, and now he'll do more running as well.

It was senior Attrail Snipes, not Brandon Banks, who was supposed to be the breakout star from the JUCO ranks. He came in from Bakersfield C.C., along with Banks, with 6-1, 180-pound size, plenty of proven production, and next level speed. There's speed on Kansas State, and then there's Snipes, who won the 2006 Washington state high school 100, 200, and 400 meter spring titles. While he's not as fast as Banks, he's a deep threat who'll start to be used more after catching just one pass for 37 yards and spending most of his time on special teams.

Senior Jeron Mastrud has been a nice all-around tight end with great route running ability to go along with his blocking skills. He was second on the team with 38 catches for 435 yards and two touchdowns, and while he's not necessarily a field stretcher, he can make big plays. He's also a reliable blocker who's a major strength for the running attack. At 6-6 and 253 pounds he has good size and next-level potential. 

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Lamark Brown turned into the team's main rushing weapon leading the way with 412 yards and five touchdowns. However, he only averaged 3.5 yards per carry and got most of his yards, 137, against UL Lafayette. He was also a nice receiver, finishing with 24 grabs for 178 yards and a score. Now he'll spend all his time in the receiving corps combining with Attrail Snipes for one spot. Extremely fast, and with 6-3, 225-pound size, he could be a matchup nightmare.

Considered the jewel of a huge recruiting class, the 6-0, 190-pound Aubrey Quarles was a big-time JUCO transfer who had a nice first year, but not a special one, catching 34 passes for 407 yards and a score. He was held out of some of the spring practices to heal up, but when he's ready he'll be a major factor in three-wide sets. He's also a top kick returner.

Coming in to backup Jeron Mastrud, and be next year's starting tight end, is Travis Tannahill, a nice recruit who got to school early and will be a part of the passing attack. Extremely athletic, the 6-4, 240-pound true freshman was a Kansas all-state punter and track star.

Watch Out For ... Brown. He was originally supposed to be a wide receiver before the old coaching staff moved him to running back, and now he should be a devastating No. 2 target on the other side of Banks.
Strength: Speed. Finding deep wheels isn't a problem. Banks, Snipes, Brown, and Quarles would form a big-time 4x100 relay team. The passing game averaged a solid 12.9 yards per catch.
Weakness: Josh Freeman. The receiving corps was terrific when it had a first round talent bombing away, and while Carson Coffman isn't bad, he's not nearly the same player. the receivers will have to make more big things happen on their own.
Outlook:
The new coaching staff walked into a stocked cupboard with the old regime loading up on top-shelf JUCO athletes. There's speed, depth, a good No. 1 target in Brandon Banks, and a nice, reliable tight end in Jeron Mastrud. The numbers might not be quite as good as they were last year, but the receiving corps should still be strong.
Rating: 7.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters
:
Senior Nick Stringer went from being a nice all-around blocker with tight end athleticism to a bulked up dominator who earned all-star honors. The 6-6, 271-pounder will get the call at left tackle, where he started the last two games of the year after farting the first ten on the right side. One of the team leaders and a leader on the line, he's a rock in pass protection.

Returning to the left side, where he was a spot starter last season, will be Brock Unruh, a 6-6, 288-pound senior who has moved around where needed and will now be counted on to be one of the team's most reliable run blockers. While he's not big, he's experienced and he doesn't make a ton of big mistakes and can be used at tackle.

6-4, 287-pound junior Wade Weibert will take over at center for Jordan Bedore after redshirting. The former JUCO transfer was a star on the 2007 national champion Butler County team, and now he's ready to take on a big role in the middle of the line. Athletic for his size, he'll be good on the move.

Sophomore Colten Freeze turned into a key starter late in the year at left guard and he should be a fixture for the next three years. The 6-5, 287-pounder is more like a tackle playing guard with excellent athleticism and tremendous upside. He'll play right guard, but he could move around depending on the combination.

Looking to solidify the right tackle spot will be Clyde Aufner, a 6-7, 288-pound sophomore who's expected to be one of the team's better pass blockers once he gets his feet wet. With long arms and a big frame, he has no problems keeping pass rushers away. While he only got in three games of work, he's promising blocker who should grow into a good one.


Projected Top Reserves: Senior Eric Benoit was a good JUCO transfer who started in three games at right guard in the middle of the season. The 6-4, 286-pounder isn't the best athlete, but he's a bruiser who can step in at either guard position and be fine. He'll start out the year behind Colten Freeze on the right side, but he'll quickly come off the bench.

Ju
nior Trevor Viers, a former defensive end, bulked up over the last few years getting to 284 pounds on his 6-5 frame, and now he should be more of a factor as a backup center and, if needed, at guard. He stepped in late in 2007 and was a key starter on the inside, and while he was fine, he's not the prospect that Wade Weibert is. 

6-3, 287-pound junior Zach Kendall started three games at center and two games at guard, and now will be a key backup all across the inside. He's a talented all-around blocker who could end up starting depending on where Wade Weibert ends up playing, and at the very least he'll see plenty of action as a reserve.

Watch Out For ... a good battle for the center job. Weibert, Kendall and Viers are all good enough to be seeing starting time somewhere up front, but there's a logjam for inside jobs. The issue isn't going to be settled until the fall.
Strength: A plus for the last few years, considering how much the Wildcats threw when Josh Freeman was in charge, the line is athletic and does a good job of keeping the passer clean. That should be the face again with Stringer and Aufner two good outside pass protectors.
Weakness: Backup tackle. The inside is set with several options to move around and play with, but the team will have to rely on 6-8, 320-pound Zach Hanson is Aufner struggles on the right side, of untested sophomore Kaleb Drinkgern on the other.
Outlook: The line had all the pieces in place last year and it did a good job. There was plenty of tinkering and the starting combination was almost never the same two games in a row, but the pass protection was rock-solid. Now the line has to show it can hit someone after paving the way for a mere 3.9 yards per carry. There might not be any sure-thing all-stars, outside of Nick Stringer, but this will be a good line that will hold its own.

Rating: 7