Kansas State coach Bill Snyder says four quarterbacks will enter preseason practices on even footing in the Wildcats’ quarterback race.
Snyder can envision scenarios in which Jonathan Banks, Alex Delton, Jesse Ertz and Joe Hubener each enter the season-opener against South Dakota on Sept. 5 as the starter. He thinks that will lead to strong competition when players report in August, but he doesn’t want that competition to remain crowded for long.
The quicker he can narrow that list of contenders to three, two, and eventually one, the better.
“It is hard to get all the repetition you would like with four guys sharing the opportunities,” Snyder said. “It will be significant for us to pair that down as quickly as we can.”
It should be a fascinating position battle. All four players have merit. Ertz started the spring, Hubener served as the primary backup to Jake Waters last season, Snyder has compared Delton, a freshman, to former K-State QB Ell Roberson and Banks, a late junior-college transfer, may be the most athletic of the group.
“He has come in and worked really hard,” K-State cornerback Morgan Burns said. “He is learning the offense and he runs really well. Obvioulsy it is different when you aren’t in helmets or pads, but when he runs he is very fast and elusive.”
Added Snyder: “Banks is a very athletic young guy. We haven’t seen him in a practice environment yet, but he will be one of the four that will be in competition for the position. They are all good guys. They all care. They all do things the right way. I think it will be very competitive. It will just be an issue of sorting it out as quickly as we can.”
There is a possibility Snyder will use two quarterbacks, as he did with former quarterbacks Daniel Sams and Waters, but that is not his intention, saying “it’s not my favorite thing to do.” He would prefer to settle on a single starter — soon.
“I’m pleased that we have four, but we do have to have a number one out of those four,” Snyder said, “and that’s the direction we’re trying to go.”
Running back up for grabs, too
Running back also remains a question for K-State as preseason practices approach. Though Charles Jones returns after rushing for 540 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore, he has not won the starting job.
Snyder said a pair of redshirt freshmen, Dalvin Warmack and Justin Silmon, will challenge.
“We will probably have three guys who will be legitimate contenders,” Snyder said. “There is no No. 1 so to speak. Charles will go in at the top of the list, but it will be very competitive, a wide-open competition.”
Snyder favors Big 12 expansion
Possible Big 12 expansion has also been a hot topic at Big 12 Media Days, and Snyder was straight forward on his wishes.
“I have always favored the way it was at one time,” Snyder said. “I favor a 12-team conference. I favor two divisions. And I favor a championship game.”
The answer was so honest that he was asked a follow-up question on which two teams he would invite to the conference to raise membership from 10 to 12. He had less to say on that topic.
“I do the easy part: Identifying issues,” he said. “The solution is another story.”
K-State’s veteran players had positive summer reviews for several young Wildcats. The names mentioned most often were freshman defensive back Hunter Knoblauch, of Andale, Kan., freshman offensive lineman Scott Frantz, of Lawrence, freshman defensive end Reggie Walker and Banks.
“It’s fun to see guys like them come in and beat the older guys in summer workouts,” Burns said.