Offense: Freeman is holding up well. He definitely has learned to stay in the pocket, but still has the ability to make a run for it if he needed to. I don't think that he made too many bad passes, and none of them were horrible, so that is a plus. Our running back situation is a bit shakier. Leon Patton is suspended indefinitely, which left the running game to fall on Valentine's shoulders. Although Valentine is a bit slow, he seems to be able to pick a good line when running. I was really impressed with him last year when he got a shot and I think he will be an adequate back, however he is not a show stopper. Overall K-State was able to put together sustained drives that resulted in points, this is a change from the past where K-State relied on big gains to move the chains.
Defense: I am a bit more worried about us in this category. The 6 points North Texas scored was off of a turnover while the second team was in. However the lack of scoring was more of an indication of a lack of offense for North Texas than a good defense by K-State. The defensive line had problems wrapping up running backs. Play fakes worked a bit too well. And the big thing I am worried about is that our defensive backs gave way too much of a cushion. If our guys are worried about getting burned against the North Texas wide receivers we are going to have huge problems against better teams. Back in the day of Dylan Meier I used to be relieved when our defense was on the field, this year I will not be.
Special Teams: Ah, K-State's unrecognized bread and butter. For some reason we have always been able to crank out the good special teams players, and recently there has been 4 NFL teams using K-State players for kick and punt returns at the same time. So you know we are all set in the special team’s area right? Yup you guessed it; we were unimpressive in the first game of the season. Besides Deon Murphy's first good punt return it seemed like he was much more interested in running parallel to the lines instead of perpendicular. I don't mind trying to get a bit of running room, but always ditching your blockers so that you can run 40 yards back and forth to net a minus two yard return is not a sound plan to keep the spot. After awhile Murphy was replaced by a different returner that didn't have the charisma of Deon, but also would safely get a 10 yard return. We are going to have to work on this.
So how do I think we will do? Well let's look at the games:
So it looks like it will be 6-6, with an iffy win at KU, and a chance to grab a couple of more wins from Colorado, Nebraska, and Louisville. Not too bad considering that our schedule is pretty harsh this year. Texas Bowl here we come!