A new football season comes with a new round of hype for Kansas State receiver Byron Pringle.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound playmaker was one of the most talked about members of the team at this time last year. The positive chatter surrounding him has only increased this preseason.
“Byron Pringle has been killing it,” K-State kicker Matthew McCrane said.
“Byron is definitely separating himself from all the other receivers,” K-State defensive back D.J. Reed said. “No disrespect, but he is just separating himself. It’s clear that Byron is that guy. He is definitely going to have an explosive season.”
Both of those comments were in response to general questions about K-State’s offense, not specific questions about the Wildcats’ top receiver. His teammates are impressed.
Pringle was good in his debut season a year ago, but he didn’t quite live up to the hype some had for him when he transferred in from Butler Community College. He was dynamic on special teams, averaging 28.7 yards on kickoff returns and scoring a touchdown. He also showed flashes as a receiver, especially late in the year against TCU and Texas A&M, on his way to 39 catches, 631 yards and four touchdowns. But he also had several quiet games in which he was limited to a single catch.
Inconsistencies were predictable in his first season with the Wildcats, but more will be expected from Pringle now that he has a year in the system and a stronger relationship with quarterback Jesse Ertz.
Pringle has all the skills to be one of the best receivers in the Big 12 and to join K-State’s small club of 1,000-yard receivers (there are currently only seven members).
K-State has lots of players to watch on offense, but Pringle ranks near the top as the season approaches.
“Byron is just a physical specimen,” K-State freshman quarterback Skylar Thompson said. “He can do anything he really wants to. As a quarterback, it gives you a lot of confidence throwing to a guy like that, because you know he is going to come down with the ball even if you happen to make an inaccurate throw. You know he can make up for that. It just gives you confidence when you are throwing to him.”
Now, let’s dive into your questions. Got plenty of good ones this week. Thanks, as always, for asking.
That’s an easy one for me. I’m most interested in K-State’s new crop of linebackers.
I think some are underestimating just how difficult it will be for K-State to replace Elijah Lee and Charmeachealle Moore in the middle of K-State’s defense. Trent Tanking, Sam Sizelove, Jayd Kirby and company are all good players, but they also lack experience and it might take more than linebackers coach Blake Seiler yelling “next man up” to make up for the 185 tackles Lee and Moore made last season.
I also wonder if Sizelove and Kirby are the long-term answers at the position behind Tanking. It will be fascinating to see Da’Quan Patton and Elijah Sullivan, if they play. Can one of them crack the starting lineup later in the season after they learn the system?
I will be shocked if K-State doesn’t use a running back committee again this season, but Alex Barnes will be the head of that committee.
My guess is you see a lot of Barnes, a decent amount of Justin Silmon and some Dalvin Warmack. But you should see more Barnes than any other running back.
Everybody likes Mike McCoy and says he runs really hard. He seems to have a bright future at K-State. But it will be hard for him to carve out a role in this offense with the established running backs ahead of him on the depth chart.
Yes and no.
I think Barnes and Silmon are capable of being the best running back duo in the Big 12 this season, but their skills aren’t quite as diverse as Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. Last year, Oklahoma put Mixon in the game when it wanted speed and it put Perine in the game when it wanted power. That’s what made them so effective.
You won’t see that much of a change from Barnes and Silmon. Maybe that actually helps them, as defenses won’t know what plays to look for from each specific running back. We’ll see.
As vanilla as a 69 cent cone from McDonald’s.
I’m predicting K-State to win 45-14, so Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson should see some work. Bill Snyder hinted Delton may have a regular role within the offense this season, so I definitely expect to see him. Hopefully, Thompson gets a series or two to himself late.
Maybe not “quite a few” more, but definitely more. K-State asked Ertz to throw mostly short passes after his shoulder injury last season. Now that he’s healthy, he will have the green light to look downfield.
I may have been joking about watching Central Arkansas film yesterday.
The Big 12. I don’t buy into the doomsday scenarios some have for the future of the conference.
Happy Gilmore -- The best, and most quotable, movie Adam Sandler ever made.
Caddyshack -- I challenge anyone to keep a straight face while watching Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase play golf.
The Sandlot -- You’re killing me, Smalls!
Any Given Sunday (Director’s Cut) -- Jamie Foxx was born to play Willie Beamen.
Also considered: Rocky, Rocky 3, Rocky 4, The Karate Kid, The Rookie, Semi-Pro, Varsity Blues, Major League, Dodgeball.
The best home option is Oklahoma on Oct. 21. There’s a decent chance K-State and OU could enter that game with one combined loss. It’s possible they could both be undefeated. If either of those scenarios play out, Gameday could be in play. There are other good matchups that week, though, like Tennessee at Alabama, Louisville at Florida State and Michigan at Penn State.
On the road, Oklahoma State is probably the best shot. If that game has significant meaning in the Big 12 championship race, Gameday could be interested.
It will be hard for any of K-State’s seniors to get drafted. Maybe Jesse Ertz or Will Geary can play their way into the conversation. I dunno. More likely, it will take someone from the junior class leaving early to keep the draft streak alive.
Dalton Risner seems like the top candidate to turn pro and get drafted when the season is over. D.J. Reed and Kendall Adams could have a shot following that path, as well. Maybe even Pringle. They may all want to come back as seniors. But I think they will have options.
Double? Yes. Dayton Valentine has two career catches for eight yards. Me thinks he can haul in four passes this season.
Eight might be pushing it. K-State throws to its tight ends like Texas Tech runs its fullback.
There is hope that won’t be such an issue this year. With Dana Dimel now acting as the lone offensive coordinator, K-State should (in theory, at least) be able to call plays faster than previous years when Del Miller was co-offensive coordinator.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett