Campus Corner

October 11, 2013

K-State Mailbag: How to slow Baylor, who should play QB?

Kellis Robinett, The Star's Kansas State beat writer, took readers' questions about how to stop Baylor, who should play quarterback and more in his weekly mailbag.

Campus Corner

The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri

It’s time for another Football Friday mailbag.

Kansas State will face Baylor at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium. It might be one of the most intriguing games of the day. The Bears and their offense are the talk of the Big 12, but they haven’t had much recent success on the road in conference play and has never won in Manhattan.

K-State might be the best team it has faced, and is coming off a narrow loss at Oklahoma State. The Wildcats also want to avenge their loss to the Bears last season, but in an odd twist the Bears are still angry about losing at K-State with Robert Griffin III two years ago (that was a truly great game, by the way). So it’s one of those rare games where both teams are thinking about revenge.

Anyway, thanks again for all the questions. Let’s get to them:

Definitely the most important question of the week. I’m going with 35, almost half Baylor’s season average of 70.5. K-State can score in the high 30s or low 40s against Baylor, but the Bears win if the game gets any higher than that.

Throwing deep isn’t his strongest skill. Two of his interceptions against Oklahoma State came on long throws he had no business attempting. But he can be an accurate passer. He looked good on mid-range passes against Oklahoma State and thew a perfect pass to Glenn Gronkowski for a long touchdown. K-State coaches simply need to do a better job of calling plays for him. When he throws down field, the defense can’t be expecting it. He isn’t skilled or experienced enough to thread the needle into double coverage on complex routes. But he can beat defenses over the top with the help of play-action fakes and the threat of his legs. He should only throw long a few times a game, but when he does he needs the element of surprise.

I agree the two-quarterback system isn’t working, and if you’re going to commit to one quarterback it makes sense to go with the younger one. But I’m not sure it’s time to give up on Waters. He is a gifted thrower, and if K-State gets Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett back he brings serious big-play potential. But Sams definitely seems like the better quarterback in the short term. His running ability opens up the offense, and with Thompson and Lockett sidelined he is the obvious choice to take over as the primary quarterback. He showed flashes of brilliance last week (throwing and passing for more than 100 yards and leading a key drive in the fourth quarter) before turning the ball over four times. His decision making will improve the more he plays. The most important factor, for me, with using two quarterbacks is sticking with them on a series-by-series basis. Yanking one out after two plays and asking the other to gain 15 yards on third down is just silly.

This was a popular question

It is borderline astonishing how little John Hubert factors into the offense right now. He is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he ran for 900 yards. This year, he has been held to less than 50 yards three times and is on pace to rush for 697 yards If K-State makes a bowl game. You can fault Hubert for some of that production. But he only saw seven carries against Oklahoma State, while Sams ran it 27 times. The Wildcats need to find some balance in their running game. I do think K-State will lean more on Hubert in this game. He is from Waco and will be fired up to face his hometown college. Then again, the Wildcats haven’t given him more than 18 carries in a game. Maybe what we’ve seen so far is the norm.

Have a comment or question?
Twitter: @KellisRobinett

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