Campus Corner

Is D.J. Reed comparable to Terence Newman? Answers to this & more K-State questions

K-State defensive back D.J. Reed sprints 96 yards on a the first play of the game Saturday night against Central Arkansas. (September 2, 2017)
K-State defensive back D.J. Reed sprints 96 yards on a the first play of the game Saturday night against Central Arkansas. (September 2, 2017) The Wichita Eagle

Here’s a question I’ve been asked a few times away from the Internet this week: Why does Charlotte, a school located across the country from California and its iconic 1849 gold rush, use the 49ers as its nickname?

I feel compelled to provide the answer here, in part to help set up all the gifs I plan to drop on Twitter during Saturday’s game (miners, prospectors, gold, Charlotte’s Web, Good Charlotte, the San Francisco 49ers … Any other requests?) and also because I, too, was a little curious.

Why do they call themselves the 49ers?

According to the school’s website, there are a few reasons why Charlotte chose a gold miner as its mascot. The main reason: the university was on the verge of closing in 1949 until an influential supporter of the school stepped in and convinced North Carolina to keep it open. The university is also apparently located on NC Highway 49, and Charlotte has some gold mining history.

So there you have it. Best of luck to the 49ers and their coach (a former K-State player) tomorrow. They are going to need it as 35.5-point underdogs. This should be K-State’s easiest of the game.

Now, let’s move onto your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

It’s still a little early to make that comparison, but Reed looked like an All-American against Central Arkansas. He came this close to scoring three touchdowns. If he makes it four more yards on the opening kickoff, he’s in the end zone. And if Kendall Adams doesn’t accidentally tackle him after his interception, that is potentially a pick-six (or at least a big return).

I like where you are headed with that, though. Reed is the first K-State player to return a punt for a touchdown and intercept a pass in the same game since ... Terence Newman.

Not this week, at least at the expense of Trent Tanking and Jayd Kirby. K-State coaches named them starters for a reason, and they are going to roll with them and give them time to gain experience. But I can see Elijah Sullivan and Justin Hughes carving out bigger roles as the season moves on. Bill Snyder said he was pleased with the depth K-State showed at linebacker against Central Arkansas, which means he liked the way they played.

Another good sign: He wants to redshirt Da’Quan Patton.

Sullivan and Hughes definitely have high ceilings, but their floors remain low at the moment. Until that changes, expect K-State to go with its more consistent linebackers.

Under. Skylar Thompson will hit the over easily if K-State coaches put him in late and let him throw. But the Wildcats are going to be up big, and they aren’t going to want to run up the score on a team coached by a former K-State player. If he gets 75-plus yards, he is going to have to run for them.

The Flash ... Flash Gordon ... Lightning McQueen ... The Forth Worth Express. He’s fast, is what I’m getting at here. Or you could always just call him Deuce.

Here is how I would classify K-State’s notable inactives.

Dominique Heath: Probable. Bill Snyder said he hopes Heath will be out there running routes. From what I’m hearing, he should be ready to play.

Alex Delton: Questiontable. Not sure what to expect with K-State’s backup QB.

Justin Silmon: Doubtful. When Snyder says you are probably going to miss two games, you are probably going to miss two games.

Well, he made it on the field against Central Arkansas. He just didn’t record any stats. Maybe he will have a bigger role in garbage time of the Charlotte game.

I would personally love it if K-State could acquire a real life wildcat and train it to run across the field before kickoff, like what Colorado does with Ralphie the Buffalo out in Boulder. That would instantly improve the pregame festivities.

Other than that? Maybe some smoke or fireworks as the team runs onto the field. Not sure what Bill Snyder would think of that, though. A flyover before every game would be fun. I would also vote for a new cat train video.

It makes the stadium look a little nicer. I like it. Definite improvement over the old railing. Will look even better once they sell all the donor bricks.

Why don’t more people refer to their rankings as ability rankings? I’ve never understood what a power ranking is or why we should be so interested in a particular team’s power. While I’m on this tangent, why do we refer to sports questions as burning questions? Has a question ever caught on fire? Sounds too dangerous for me.

My Big 12 Ability Rankings:

Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield looked unstoppable against UTEP.

Oklahoma State: Some have concerns on defense, but the Cowboys are legit on offense.

Kansas State: Wildcats seem like the biggest threat to knock off OU/OSU.

TCU: Scoring 63 points is impressive, regardless of opponent.

West Virginia: Mountaineers will bounce back from a competitive loss to Virginia Tech.

Texas Tech: Many thought Eastern Washington would beat Tech. Didn’t happen.

Iowa State: Beating Northern Iowa is never a given.

Kansas: Central Michigan could be the most important game of the season for KU.

Texas: Longhorns looked bad losing to Maryland.

Baylor: If you can’t beat a FCS team coached by Turner Gill, you are probably in for a long season.

Texas Tech.

Don’t laugh. I think K-State will win the game, but you’re asking me what team I think can come out of nowhere and beat the Wildcats. The Red Raiders seem like a decent candidate. They have all the offense in the world, their defense looks a little better and the game is in Lubbock. Again, I’m not calling for an upset, but Texas Tech looked good against FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington and won 56-10 last week. I feel like they could play spoiler to someone.

Here’s how the process works: We in the media submit names of K-State football players we would like to interview each Tuesday. That list is then passed along to Bill Snyder, and he chooses which ones are allowed to talk and which ones aren’t. The players then decide if they want to attend the media session. Speaking with media is not mandatory. Some players have class conflicts and can’t attend.

So far this season we have spoken with D.J. Reed, Elijah Sullivan, Skylar Thompson, Matthew McCrane, Brogan Barry, Denzel Goolsby, Tanner Wood, Adam Holtorf, Jayd Kirby and Dalton Schoen. If any of them are reading this, thank you!

It would be nice if K-State had a second media opportunity for players unable to make it on Tuesday (after a practice each week) like some other teams have. But I am grateful for the interview time we are given.

They’re struggling. With only one senior on the roster, it might take some time for the volleyball team to get rolling.

This is about as quick and dirty as my predictions can be, but here goes.

Women’s basketball: 17-12. Will be fascinating to see how they move on without Breanna Lewis and Kindred Wesemann.

Men’s basketball: 20-11. A lot depends on how the Big 12 shakes out. I don’t really know what to expect from Oklahoma or Texas, or the entire bottom half of the league.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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