DEPTH CHART ANALYSIS: Week 4

Things are starting to settle down in the depth chart world.

Despite some surprise starters Saturday, rotations are becoming pretty set. If there isn't a sudden change at quarterback like there was last year around this time, I might discontinue this feature in a week or two.

Nevertheless, hit the jump for my analysis of the players we saw in Farmageddon II.

Quarterbacks

Even a mildly devastating interception return for a touchdown thrown by Carson Coffman on one of the worst passes/coverage reads I've ever seen didn't tempt Bill Snyder to pull the plug on his starting quarterback.

But the word on the street is that Sammuel Lamur continues to push Coffman strongly in practice, even though he's not getting his number called in games that are tending to be closer than anyone wants to see.

It's not just an issue of knowing the plays — Snyder's staff signaled those in to Grant Gregory last season. Lamur apparently is too turnover-prone for Snyder to feel as though he can trust the redshirt junior.

If Slingin' Sammy doesn't see any action Saturday, I think we're sticking with Coffman for the long haul, barring injury.

 

Running Backs

Congratulations to William Powell on being named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week. He's been a shoelace tackle away from breaking several kickoff returns and it's a well-deserved honor.

Powell continues to spell Daniel Thomas effectively and I agree with Panjandrum that it would be nice to get the walk-on senior more carries. Thomas is a workhorse, but 34 carries is pushing it. Don't expect many changes in the rotation plan, though.

 

Fullbacks and Tight Ends

Andre McDonald continued to be the world's biggest TD tease, although it mostly was Coffman's fault that an easy TD pass wasn't completed. Travis Tannahill and Braden Wilson were not utilized as offensive weapons, but kudos to Wilson for a much improved blocking game and avoiding the penalties that plagued him a week ago.

 

Wide Receivers

Roles are beginning to be defined in the wide receiver corps. Brodrick Smith is the deep-threat badass who keeps bailing Coffman out on underthrows, Tramaine Thompson is the speedy little kid who's oh-so-close to breaking a big play, Aubrey Quarles is the steady and reliable possession receiver.

And Chris Harper is nowhere to be found. I think Coffman was trying to find him when he instead lobbed it to A.J. Klein for an easy six the other way, but it's hard to be sure because I was rendered temporarily blind while venting a torrent of angry invective at the time.

One really hopes that there are Harper plays and packages that have yet to be revealed, because a quick review of his highlight tapes at YouTube clearly show he can be a threat in our offense. But one does begin to wonder if he's not just another in the long line of 4- and 5-star busts that haven't panned out at K-State...

 

Offensive Line

The line is really starting to come together, and I don't think Snyder and Charlie Dickey plan to rock the boat too much here.

But Clyde Aufner quietly saw his first action of the season against Iowa State, so if the unit does not continue to improve in pass protection to complement its already formidable run blocking, he could slip back into his starting role within a few weeks.

 

Defensive Line

From what I saw Saturday, we're going with a rotation of Brandon Harold and Payton Kirk at one end position, and Antonio Felder and Kadero Terrell at the other spot. Meanwhile, Prizell Brown and Raphael Guidry are holding down the starting roles at defensive tackle, with Ray Kibble falling into "OR" status and providing depth.

But a three-man rotation at DT won't cut it against most Big 12 offensive lines, in my opinion. Yet I've just about given up hope of seeing Javonta Boyd at any point this season. It's a conundrum, but as long as we insist on soft pass defense and sometimes rushing only three, I guess we don't need that much depth anyway. Until someone gets hurt.

 

Linebackers

No sign of Arthur Brown, so I guess we can put that one to rest. Too bad — we sure could use the help.

Blake Slaughter made a surprise start in place of Jarell Childs, but the latter saw most of the snaps opposite Alex Hrebec late in the game when the outcome was in doubt, so even though the depth chart for this week lists Childs OR Slaughter, I think the converted running back likely will regain his spot.

Speaking of Hrebec, this week's "ohshithe'soslow" highlight had to be getting torched by Alexander Robinson down the middle for what should have been a tying touchdown late. Luckily, Austen Arnaud sucks at passing, but such instances continue to drive home Hrebec's deficiencies.

And yet, he's our leading tackler and one of the leading tacklers in the Big 12. For this year, at least, he appears to be the best we've got.

 

Defensive Backs

On said Hrebec play, Tysyn Hartman was busy adding triple coverage to an already double-covered wide receiver.

This is starting to become an extremely concerning pattern. Adding injury to insult, Emmanuel Lamur received no snaps this week and was dressed in street clothes with a rumored concussion. Ty Zimmerman is solid but not outstanding, and we're really missing Lamur's play-making ability back there.

The banged-up secondary appears to extend to the cornerbacks, with Troy Butler only playing a handful of snaps against the Cyclones and Stephen Harrison filling in with his first extended action of the season. Terrance Sweeney was slightly shaken up late in the game, but walked off under his own power and should be fine.

David Garrett continued to play admirably as a nickel defensive back, disrupting multiple passes. I paid close attention to the schemes Saturday (and had a good aerial view from the third level of Arrowhead Stadium) and I don't think we're running the 4-2-5 defense anymore.

It's more of a standard nickel (and sometimes a dime) and it perfectly fits Chris Cosh's motto of "Don't blitz, don't rush four, keep it all in front of you and hope they eventually screw up." Meanwhile, the depth chart for this position group continues to bear no resemblance to what's actually happening on the field. Ignore it.

 

Special Teams

Josh Cherry must have stepped up his game in practice, because I find it hard to believe Anthony Cantele lost his place-kicking job just for the one missed extra point. Either way, the competition is good for us because Cherry came through on two huge kicks.

Cantele's still handling kickoff duties, though, which allows Cherry to continue running down the field and clobbering people. Weird.

Lost in the shuffle is Ryan Doerr, who hit some absolutely booming punts and is starting to become a real weapon at that position. That should come in handy, considering our coverage still is suspect and our offense will stall a lot against the better defenses in the Big 12.

 

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