DEPTH CHART ANALYSIS: Week 2

This is a day later than normal because K-State's game notes were not released until Tuesday — I assume because of Labor Day.

Normally, they'll publish Tuesday at noon.

Reactions to Saturday's starters and the Missouri State depth chart after the jump.

As I predicted, there were a few surprise starters Saturday, especially in the area of special teams. May this be a lesson to all neophyte depth-chart watchers: Bill Snyder lies. A lot.

There are no significant changes this week, other than William Powell displacing John Hubert as backup running back, a formal move that will surprise no one after Powell's breakout performance against UCLA, and some shifts on the offensive line due to injuries.

But expect to see Snyder put the "depth" in depth chart this week. The second and third teams should see a decent amount of time against an over-matched opponent coached by "Terrible" Terry Allen. Hopefully.

 

Quarterbacks

The brief appearance of Collin Klein cemented to most observers why Carson Coffman is the starter for now.

No, Coffman is not some dreamy mobile quarterback and on most days, he struggles even to reach the "average" level, but when push came to shove, he got it done Saturday. Of course, he'll have to improve dramatically as a passer for this team to achieve all of its goals.

In the meantime, we should see more of Klein and Sammuel Lamur this week against the Bears. Ideally, each of the them would get a quarter to show Snyder what they can do in a real game setting. We need to know what we have there in case Coffman tanks later in the season like he did last year.

 

Running Backs

Injuries obviously didn't hold Powell back too much. He quickly regained the No. 2 role, although John Hubert looked OK for the few snaps he was in the game. Expect to see more of both backs Saturday, since Daniel Thomas should be able to have a rare "light" game in preparation for next week's Big 12 opener.

 

Fullbacks and Tight Ends

It seemed to me as though Travis Tannahill received significantly more snaps than Andre McDonald on Saturday, although the latter certainly saw his fair share of time.

The stereotype of Tannahill as the "blocking" tight end and McDonald as the "receiving" tight end was blown out of the water on two plays — Tannahill with a nifty first-down grab from Coffman and McDonald with a seal-off block that sprung a decisive option run late in the game.

Braden Wilson was solid as always, although not quite the dominant force we all envisioned. Of course, Akeem Ayers certainly had a lot to do with that. And Wilson is only a true sophomore, after all.

 

Wide Receivers

As far as I could tell, only Brodrick Smith, Tramaine Thompson, Aubrey Quarles and Chris Harper saw any real playing time. Each of them recorded at least one catch. Sheldon Smith might have been out there for a few five-wide plays, but the top four seem to be our main rotation this season.

As predicted, Harper saw time both wide and in the slot, regardless of his supposed standing on the depth chart. He remains No. 2 behind Thompson this week, for whatever that's worth.

 

Offensive Line

Well, I suspected Zach Hanson would become our starting right tackle eventually, but not like this. Ethan Douglas suffered a knee injury on the third play from scrimmage that most likely will be season-ending. That forced Hanson into playing a reversed position, which is somewhat akin to me trying to write left-handed — it's awkward.

Combine that with the constant non-blind-side rush from Ayers and Hanson had a somewhat tough debut. For that matter, Manase Foketi showed things he can work on, too. But for all that, the line still produced 313 rushing yards, the most in a K-State game since 2002 against Nebraska. They only should improve from here.

The middle three blockers were all spectacular, of course. And Clyde Aufner might be available this week, which should help alleviate the loss of Douglas. In the meantime, Kaleb Drinkgern has been promoted to second-string left tackle to fill the void created by Hanson's rightward shift.

 

Defensive Line

All four members of the defensive tackle rotation saw major playing time, but there was some dropoff when Prizell Brown wasn't in there. Ray Kibble still is listed as the starter, but Raphael Guidry applied more consistent pressure and might unseat him by kickoff.

Javonta Boyd continues to be AWOL and all Snyder would say about him Tuesday is that the best four are listed atop the depth chart for now. Not encouraging.

Defensive end saw much less rotation. Kadero Terrell was in for Antonio Felder on maybe 30 percent of the snaps, but Jordan Voelker only logged a handful of reps in relief of Brandon Harold, who was by far our best pass rusher Saturday.

 

Linebackers

I might be wrong, but I'm not sure I saw any linebackers on the field other than Jarell Childs and Alex Hrebec. I'm sure Kevin Rohleder and Blake Slaughter saw the field at some point because you just can't go 72 snaps at that position, but I didn't see either make any plays of significance.

Tre Walker burned his redshirt on special teams, but did not log time at linebacker. It's only a matter of time, though.

Hrebec might have tallied 12 tackles, a career high and good for 16th in the nation, but my enduring memory of him was him desperately trying to catch a runner halfway across the field after a misdirection play — and failing because of his lack of lateral speed. We have to upgrade our athleticism at that position — and fast.

As for Childs, he had some bad moments and some good moments, but his tip of the 2-point conversion pass probably was the play of the game. You can see flashes of excellence there, and I expect him to continue to grow into an effective player for us.

 

Secondary

Stephen Harrison's still listed as a starter on this week's depth chart, but David Garrett and Terrance Sweeney clearly saw the most time at the position. Troy Butler also appeared to line up as a corner at times, alternating positions with Garrett when both were playing. Their collective aggressiveness was a big part of why UCLA had so many drops, IMO.

I wish I could say the same for the safeties. Tysyn Hartman's scorching on the final Bruin touchdown pass is well documented, but I thought Emmanuel Lamur could have had more impact on the game, too.

They did OK at filling run gaps, but were subject to biting on misdirection a few too many times for my taste. With our linebacker corps so relatively un-athletic and inexperienced, we need the safeties to make good decisions.

Saturday was an average day for them in that regard.

Also, Ty Zimmerman saw some time on the field and will continue to push Hartman if the team captain keeps getting torched like that.

 

Special Teams

Who called Anthony Cantele as a starter? Oh, yeah — this guy. Four touchbacks, four extra points and one field goal later, Cantele appears to have bypassed Josh Cherry permanently. Granted, Cherry apparently was injured in fall camp, so it wasn't a completely fair fight. And Snyder continues to list them in an "OR" situation on the depth chart.

But why would you bench the Big 12 Co-Special Teams Player of the Week after a performance like that?

Also as predicted, Tramaine Thompson received every punt except one, and that was a "hands team" punt in a pooch situation where Snyder opted for the proven experience of Hartman instead of Brodrick Smith.

Meanwhile, neither of the listed kick returners (Smith and Sweeney) saw the field in that capacity. Instead, it was William Powell and Aubrey Quarles lining up for those honors, and the newest depth chart has been updated to reflect that.

See? Bill Snyder lies.

 

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