Andre Coleman didn’t see the results he was hoping for in his first two games as Kansas State’s offensive coordinator, so he made a change in Game 3.
He stopped calling plays from the press box and moved down to the sideline, switching places with quarterbacks coach Collin Klein.
It was a small change, subtle enough to go undetected by the casual viewer, but it had a big impact. After two forgettable games in which the Wildcats averaged 18.5 points and 310.5 yards, they ramped things up for 41 points and 449 yards in an easy victory over Texas-San Antonio.
“I think that made a difference with Coach Coleman,” quarterback Skylar Thompson said. “That is where he is used to being at and his view point of the game. That helped a lot for Coach Coleman calling plays and for our offense with Coach Klein up in the box, because he sees the game so well. That allowed them to make adjustments and checks that we previously missed earlier in the season.”
The switch seemed to make everyone more comfortable.
Coleman, formerly K-State’s receivers coach, has spent the majority of his coaching tenure on the sideline, interacting with players at the conclusion of every drive. Klein has experience down low and up high.
As a first-time coordinator, Coleman sought out a new vantage point he thought would help him read defenses and call plays. But something was lost as he moved away from the field. Perhaps he got it back.
“Coach Coleman is a really intense guy,” running back Alex Barnes said, “and before each drive having him be able to talk to us and tell us what we were going to do shifted our mentality a little more to be the aggressors. The past few weeks we were maybe more passive.”
Barnes wasn’t the only one to see a difference.
K-State coach Bill Snyder noticed a slow communication process over the headsets in K-State’s first two games, but had no complaints following Game 3.
In K-State’s first two games, players only got to speak with Coleman for a few moments on sideline phones. There wasn’t enough time for Coleman to address the entire offense or share his plans for future plays. That changed when he returned to the sideline.
“It was what we were more used to from the past couple years,” receiver Dalton Schoen said. “I think that might be more comfortable for them. It is also nice to be able to talk to (Coleman) face to face, for me being a receiver, to get to talk to your position coach as soon as you come off the field instead of going through the phones or the headsets.”
On Saturday, Coleman interacted with his players the same way he did when he was a position coach. They simply talked a little more about strategy and what might work on the next series.
Oh, and he called plays.
The results were encouraging, and it appears Coleman will stay on the field when K-State faces No. 12 West Virginia on Saturday. Don’t expect him to return to the press box anytime soon.