2010 Kansas State Preview
Kansas State FS Tysyn Hartman
Kansas State FS Tysyn Hartman
Posted Jul 31, 2010

Kansas State came up with a surprisingly strong year after Bill Snyder returned, but are the pieces in place to do even more and be a factor in the Big 12 North? With a back like Daniel Thomas and a safety like Tysyn Hartman, the Wildcats could be dangerous. Check out the CFN 2010 Kansas State Preview.

Kansas State Wildcats

Preview 2010

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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Bill Snyder
19th year: 142-74-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 14, Def. 21, ST 5
Lettermen Lost: 22
Ten Best Kansas State Players  
1. RB Daniel Thomas, Sr.
2. FS Emmanuel Lamur, Jr.
3. SS Tysyn Hartman, Jr.
4. DE Brandon Harold, Jr.
5. DE Antonio Felder, Jr.
6. WR Brodrick Smith, Soph.
7. WR Chris Harper, Soph.
8. C Wade Weibert, Sr.
9. P Ryan Doerr, Soph.
10. S Troy Butler, Sr.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 4 UCLA
Sept. 11 Missouri State
Sept. 18 Iowa State (in KC)
Sept. 25 UCF
Oct. 7 Nebraska
Oct. 14 at Kansas
Oct. 23 at Baylor
Oct. 30 Oklahoma St
Nov. 6 Texas
Nov. 13 at Missouri
Nov. 20 at Colorado
Nov. 27 at North Texas

There were no real expectations whatsoever when Bill Snyder came back to try to revive the program he created. Now, after a year when the team came so close to going back to a bowl game for the first time since 2006, no one's quite sure what to expect.

When things were rocking and rolling under Snyder back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, his teams were filled with try-hard types who ran through a wall to make plays, speedsters at the key positions, and one or two big-time talents in the backfield to make everything go. While there are some glaring holes and weaknesses in this year's team, the formula might be there to be a sleeper and an X factor in the race.

For Kansas State, just getting back to being relevant is everything right now. It's asking for way too much for all the stars to align once again to get back to the elite status it once enjoyed, but if Snyder's formula works just a little bit, this will be a dangerous team that rises up once in a while to get everyone excited.

Can the Cats be consistent? There might not be a ton of offensive firepower, but the running game should be among the best in the Big 12. The defense that didn't show up against teams like Texas Tech and Missouri but stopped Texas A&M and Kansas cold, it has some nice pieces in place and an interesting 4-2-5 alignment geared towards keeping most spread passing games from exploding.

While the formula didn't always work last year, the experience is in place across the board to improve after doing a good job against the mediocre attacks. The safeties should be among the best in the Big 12, the pass rush should be better with the return of Brandon Harold from a knee injury, and the speed and there are a slew of JUCO transfers coming in to beef up the line.

Above the decent talent level and the overall athleticism, Kansas State will have a chip on its shoulder after the feeling of unfinished business. The team would've liked to have gotten the Louisiana loss back, and in hindsight, scheduling both UMass and Tennessee Tech from the FCS ranks was a disastrous call, but this isn't a team looking for excuses considering it lost three of the final four games when it needed to come up with two wins to go bowling.

Snyder has his team motivated and ready to prove to the world that Kansas State football is back. While it might not be a title good team, it should be better, more consistent, and potentially great if all the JUCO transfers turn into playmakers. And if nothing else, Snyder appears to have achieved the goal of making KSU matter, but that will only happen going forward if the wins follow.

What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. It was somewhat impressive that Kansas State came as close as it did to a bowl game considering the quarterback play was such a disaster. Grant Gregory, who took over the starting job, didn't do much through the air, but he ran well. He's gone, meaning Carson Coffman, who started the first four games before getting replaced, has to show he can move the offense after struggling to do it against the mediocre teams in the first month of the year. There are interesting backups who are more dangerous, but Coffman has to be a playmaker to boost up the Big 12's worst passing attack.

What to watch for on defense: The JUCO transfers. KSU always relies on the ready-made types to help provide the bulk of the depth, along with a few instant starters, but this year the JUCO transfers will mean everything to the defensive front. Getting Brandon Harold back from a knee injury is a big boost to the line, but it'll be Adam Davis, a 6-1, 242-pound Tasmanian Devil of a pass rusher, who could be the most dangerous pass rusher early on. Javonta Boyd is a promising 302-pounder, but it's Prizell Brown, who's expected to start at one spot, and Ray Kibble from Houston on the nose, who'll get the start on the inside to make up for some key personnel losses.

The team will be far better if … there's a passing game. Everyone will try to stop star RB Daniel Thomas and it'll be a huge help if Coffman (or one of the other quarterback prospects) can make something happen down the field to take the heat off. KSU came up with just seven touchdown passes on the year and just one in the final five games and four in the final ten. A disaster on third downs, the passing attack has to do something more to keep the chains moving. KSU can't have the Big 12's worst passing game again.

The schedule: The Wildcats will know where they stand right away at home against a good, but not great UCLA team. A win over the Bruins might lead the way to a hot start with Missouri State, Iowa State (played in Kansas City) and UCF before getting a week off. And then the fun comes with Nebraska at home in a make-or-break game for their North chances, and beyond just beating a great team that might be a must win with five of the final seven games on the road. The home games during that rough stretch will hardly be a walk in the park hosting Oklahoma State and Texas. Unlike last year when playing two FCS teams killed bowl hopes, KSU only has one FCS date (Missouri State) and has a layup to close out the regular season at North Texas. In other words, the team has to find four wins (assuming the Missouri State and UNT games are wins) to get to a bowl.

Best offensive player: Senior RB Daniel Thomas. A top JUCO transfer last year, Thomas didn't disappoint earning First Team All-Big 12 honors rushing for 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns averaging 5.1 yards per carry. At 6-2 and 228 pounds he's a big, tough runner with the speed to crank out yards in chunks. While he's not a home run hitter, he's dangerous enough to need to wrap up and make sure he doesn't get into space on a regular basis. Considered a possible first round draft pick, the spotlight will be on from the NFL scouts all year long.

Best defensive player: Senior SS Tysyn Hartman … or junior FS Emmanuel Lamur. Hartman is always around the ball and is one of the Big 12's better ball-hawkers. He came up with honorable mention All-Big 12 honors and should get even bigger recognition this year as he's one of the league's most respected defensive playmakers. Lamur is more spectacular and led the team in tackles, but he's not quite the steady leader and force that Hartman is. The two will combine with Troy Butler to give KSU one of the league's best groups of safeties.

Key player to a successful season: Junior OT Zach Hanson. Carson Coffman is the most important player for KSU to go from decent to potentially great, but he needs to be protected by a line that had issues in pass protection. Hanson is the lone new starter up front, having to take over for the team's top blocker, Nick Stringer, but he's hardly starting from scratch having been a guard at the JUCO level. At 6-8 and 313 pounds he's extremely tall with a great wingspan, but he has to prove he can block the speedier pass rushers.

The season will be a success if … the Cats go to a bowl. They're just not strong enough to have any realistic shot to win the North, but there's no excuse to not come up with a winning season and get to a bowl game. It'll take some key wins early, but with winnable games against Colorado and North Texas late, and getting Baylor and Oklahoma State from the South, it's time to get back to a 13th game.

Key game: Oct. 30 vs. Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are going to be in rebuilding mode and could end up being the worst team in the South (or just ahead of Baylor). With Texas to follow and a trip to Missouri right after, the Wildcats can't afford to give away any late home games or the finishing kick could be ugly. With North Texas still to play the OSU game isn't the last gasp shot at a big win, but it'll be tough over the final month if the Cats can't come away with the win.

2009 Fun Stats:
- Rushing TDs: Kansas State 22 – Opponents 10
- Passing TDs: Opponents 25 – Kansas State 7
- Time of Possession: Kansas State 33:48 – Opponents 26:12

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