2008 Kansas State Wildcats Football Preview
2007 Kansas State Football Record: (5-7, 3-5 Big 12)
2007 Bowl: none
Kansas State's Head Coach: Ron Price (12-13 at Kansas State, 12-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Brock
Defensive Coordinator: Tim Tibesar
K-State's Returning Leaders:
Other Key Returnees: OT Alesana Alesana, S Gary Chandler, LB Eric Childs, OT Penisini Liu, TE Jeron Mastrud, LB Reggie Walker
Key Losses: DT Steve Cline, DE Robert Jackson, RB James Johnson, DE Moses Manu, CB Justin McKinney, WR Jordy Nelson, S Marcus Watts
The Wildcats took a step back last year, finishing a disappointing 5-7 overall. To address the many needs and start winning right away, third year coach Ron Prince has brought a ton of junior college transfers to Manhattan. That might not seem like the best way to help the program in the long run, but Coach Prince knows the best way to build the program is to win. And he is giving Kansas State the best possible chance to win right now.
Kansas State's Strengths:
The strength of the team lies on the offensive line where seven players return who made at least two starts last season. That is not a bad place to start. Senior left tackle Alesana Alesana garnered some postseason accolades following the 2007 season and should anchor what will be one of the most experienced lines in the conference. Josh Freeman may not have lit up the scoreboard as a sophomore, but the quarterback continues to improve. Now as an upperclassman with two years of starting experience under his belt, it is expected that Freeman will continue to improve. The new up-tempo offense should help make the numbers look better, but Freeman still has to develop more consistency.
Kansas State's Weaknesses:
But who will Freeman throw to without Jordy Nelson on the field? Nelson, who was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft, caught 122 passes for 1,606 yards last season. Deon Murphy, who returns for his senior season, was next on the list with 57 catches and 605 yards. Replacing Nelson will not be easy, but Kansas State has Brandon Banks, Aubrey Quarles and Attrail Snipes from the junior college ranks ready to join Murphy and sophomore Lamark Brown in trying. The Wildcats only return five starters on defense, but that might be a good thing the way they ended the season. The team gave up 73 points to Nebraska, 49 to Missouri and 45 to Fresno State to close out the 2007 campaign. It all starts with a quality pass rush and former defensive end turned outside linebacker Ian Campbell was not as effective when the team switched to a 3-4 defense last year.
The Bottom Line for the Wildcats:
The good news is the defense returns 19 players who started at least one game last season. That has a lot to do with the defense struggling so much that everybody got a chance, but at least it created some competition during the off-season and the unit could be much improved if the team is more comfortable in the 3-4 defense than they were last year. Linebackers Reggie Walker and John Houlik and safeties Gary Chandler and Chris Carney will keep the defense from being too much of a liability and that should be enough to get the Wildcats back into a bowl.
2007 Kansas State Wildcats Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 132.75 (83rd in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 285.42 (21, 5)
Total Offense: 418.17 (40, 8)
Scoring Offense: 35.17 (18, 6)
Rushing Defense: 141.58 (49, 7)
Pass Defense: 259.00 (99, 8)
Total Defense: 400.58 (69, 8)
Scoring Defense: 30.83 (86, 9)
Turnover Margin: .33 (33, 5)
Sacks: 2.50 (30, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.42 (42, 6)
By Joel Welser
Check out all of the 2008 college football previews online through College Sports Fans.
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.