Dalvin Warmack isn’t listed on Kansas State’s depth chart, so it came as little surprise when he barely played against Stanford.
But it will be shocking if he doesn’t see more action in future games.
Warmack, a redshirt sophomore running back from Blue Springs, made the most of his opportunities in K-State’s opener. He touched the ball twice and reeled off nice gains both times. The first came in the second quarter, when he took a delayed handoff and ran straight ahead for seven yards. Later, he caught a screen pass on third-and-long and zoomed upfield for 13 yards, putting K-State within field goal range.
The Wildcats struggled on offense much of the way, needing 73 plays to gain 335 yards. Their average run was 2.9 yards. But Warmack was effective as a change-of-pace runner behind starter Charles Jones and Justin Silmon, averaging 10 yards.
“I think he has got a good future here,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said.
For now, Warmack simply hopes to do the best he can in his supporting role. At 5-foot-8 and 187 pounds, he lacks the size and power that Silmon brings to the offense. And, as an underclassman, he can’t match Jones’ experience. But there is no ignoring his speed. Warmack is the fastest and most elusive running back in K-State’s crowded backfield.
He brings something unique to the huddle, and his presence was obvious against Stanford. On passing plays, Warmack did something you rarely see from K-State running backs. He ran laterally before the snap, adding an extra receiver to the mix. That skill comes in handy, especially on third down.
“That’s what my role is in this offense,” Warmack said following a 26-13 loss at Stanford. “I want to be the scatback, catching things out of the backfield, always in motion, all that stuff.”
Snyder was impressed by Warmack last week and said Tuesday that he planned to get Warmack more involved against Stanford. Problem was, the Cardinal possessed the ball for the majority of the first quarter and took a 17-0 lead. Thoughts of rotating Jones, Silmon and Warmack went out the window. Jones got most of the work.
That could change when K-State returns to the field on Sept. 17 against Florida Atlantic.
“He ran the ball well when he had the opportunity,” Snyder said of Warmack. “He contributes to our offense and will contribute to our offense. I think he is a skillful young guy. He has got good quickness and speed. His eyes are pretty good at finding daylight. He is also conscientious, if he makes a mistake he wants to know what it is and how to correct it.”
Sharing a backfield hasn’t always been easy for Warmack. A former two-time Simone Award winner as the top high school football player in the Kansas City area, he had visions of starting as a freshman and contemplated a transfer when things didn’t play out that way. But he has learned to embrace an offensive philosophy that features multiple runners.
“Each and every one of us is capable of doing different things,” Warmack said. “We can all take it to the house. For the coaches to have trust in all of us, and to let three or four of us run the ball means a lot.”
Whenever K-State needs him, he will be ready.
“I know what this offense is capable of,” Warmack said, “and we are a lot better than what we showed. I can’t wait to see how much we grow as the season progresses. I’m ready to help any way I can.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett