MANHATTAN, Kan. — Don’t feel bad if you needed a roster to keep up with the receivers Kansas State used against Oklahoma State last weekend.
By KELLIS ROBINETT
The Kansas City Star
“We had five receivers on the field at one time last week, and I’m not sure I knew all of them,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said.
Slot receiver Curry Sexton led the team with six catches for 43 yards, backups Kyle Klein and Torell Miller both caught passes, and everyone from third-string wide receiver Stephen Johnson to backup running back Robert Rose lined up wide when K-State used an empty backfield.
Those new faces took the field when it was determined Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett, K-State’s top two receivers, weren’t fit to play. Thompson made the trip but didn’t play. Lockett started but left in the first half because of a hamstring injury. Both players are questionable for Saturday’s game against No. 15 Baylor.
That’s not the ideal scenario for an offense that will be asked to outscore Baylor’s high-flying attack. K-State probably will be forced to use a new passing strategy that features midrange throws and few deep balls. But Snyder has confidence.
“They are good young guys,” Snyder said. “They work extremely hard. There is a reason why the other two were starters: They had the skill level and the experience.”
The new faces showed what they are capable of in the second half of the 33-29 loss at Oklahoma State. Miller came off the bench and played by far his best game, making four grabs for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Kyle Klein, best known as the little brother of former quarterback Collin Klein, also showed his potential by catching three passes for 34 yards.
“With Tramaine and Tyler out, you lose a lot of speed, but the profession we are in, college football, it’s about the next guy up,” Sexton said. “Since I’ve been here, we have had a lot of unfortunate injuries at the receiver position. You just have to prepare those guys who are No. 2s and No. 3s on the depth chart, because they might have to play at any given moment. (Receivers) coach (Andre) Coleman has been telling us that since he got here. I think Kyle and Torell did a great job stepping in for those guys.
“Two All-Big 12 talents not being on the field is going to hurt you. Those guys are both studs. We wish we had them out there, but the guys who stepped in played well and made enough plays for us to win.”
Sexton, Miller and Klein are likely to continue to be the top passing targets if Lockett and Thompson remain sidelined.
“This is what we practice for,” Klein said. “So when you get your opportunity, you take advantage.”
Reach Kellis Robinett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.