11 DAYS TO KICKOFF: The Wildcat Offense

There is nobody wearing No. 11 on the Kansas State roster, and there hasn't been a No. 11 in more than 25 years.

You see, the number was retired in honor of legendary Wildcat quarterbacks Lynn Dickey and Steve Grogan. It's the only retired number in K-State history.

So instead of profile an individual player today, I thought I'd take the opportunity to break down the Wildcat offense.

I'm starting with that unit because I think it's a little more well-defined than much of the defense.

I've spent the summer combing message board innuendo and the few credible articles that have been published in an attempt to develop a feel for what the K-State depth chart might look like when it's released next week.

Now that Fan Appreciation Day has come and gone, the last piece of the "for public consumption" puzzle has slid into place. So without further ado, follow the jump for my best prediction of what the offensive three-deep looks like now.

Quarterback

  1. Collin Klein
  2. Sammuel Lamur
  3. Justin Tuggle

This one is easy. We've known who the starter is since spring ball and fall camp has done nothing to change that.

The far more interesting battle is for the No. 2 position, which could become competitive when Tuggle masters the system.

 

Fullback

  1. Braden Wilson
  2. Jay Hanley
  3. Ben Kall

Nothing new here, either. This stuff is easy to predict when you have a future NFL guy at the position.

 

Running Back

  1. John Hubert OR Angelo Pease OR Robert Rose OR Bryce Brown
  2. John Hubert OR Angelo Pease OR Robert Rose OR Bryce Brown
  3. John Hubert OR Angelo Pease OR Robert Rose OR Bryce Brown

The most enigmatic and competitive position battle on the entire team is at running back, where it appears we may end up replacing Daniel Thomas with a "running back by committee approach" when the season begins.

It would be nice to pare these four backs down to two or three solid candidates, but it apparently hasn't happened yet.

I suspect Hubert will start the Eastern Kentucky game, with Pease coming on the field second, but after that, what these guys do on the field is going to affect the rotation going forward. Brown definitely will have his chances, I think.

 

Wide Receivers

X

  1. Sheldon Smith OR Brodrick Smith
  2. Sheldon Smith OR Brodrick Smith
  3. Torell Miller

Z

  1. Chris Harper
  2. Cole Bachamp
  3. Zach McFall

Slot

  1. Tyler Lockett OR Tramaine Thompson
  2. Tyler Lockett OR Tramaine Thompson
  3. Curry Sexton

Breaking down wide receivers by depth is difficult because we will use so many different combinations depending on what formation we're in. Starters can vary from game to game based entirely on the play call, in fact.

From the sound of things, if we were to go four wide in game one, the four would be Harper, the Smiths and a slot receiver. I use the last term generically because there is some uncertainty there.

Apparently, Lockett is running with the ones (and receiving kickoffs — kiss that redshirt goodbye, guys) because Thompson has an undisclosed injury/illness. Assuming he's healthy, I still expect Thompson to start Sept. 3.

The really eye-opening thing, though, is that reporters have been told the two best receivers on the team, in terms of running routes and natural skill, are Lockett and Sheldon Smith.

Considering what we return in Harper, Brodrick Smith and Thompson, that's quite a statement. If we actually have improved this position group by adding players of that caliber to three returning starters, this offense will be deadly.

 

Tight End

  1. Travis Tannahill
  2. Andre McDonald
  3. Zach Trujillo

Again, no big surprises here. Probably the most stable position group on the entire offense, other than quarterback.

 

Offensive Line

Left Tackle

  1. Manase Foketi
  2. Cornelius Lucas
  3. Drew Liddle

Left Guard

  1. Keenan Taylor
  2. Boston Stiverson OR Tomasi Mariner
  3. Logan Wiltfong

Center

  1. B.J. Finney
  2. Shaun Simon
  3. Nick Ward

Right Guard

  1. Colten Freeze
  2. Nick Puetz
  3. Cody Whitehair

Right Tackle

  1. Clyde Aufner
  2. Ethan Douglas OR Zach Hanson
  3. William Cooper

The good news is that the starting five remain unchanged from spring practice. That seems to indicate that Charlie Dickey has settled on a group he likes and that they have developed continuity. Three seniors up front is good.

The bad news is that depth is becoming a concern, especially at tackle, where we were thin to begin with. Hanson and Mariner were MIA at Fan Appreciation Day — standard operating procedure for Bill Snyder with injured players.

On top of that, Snyder said Kaleb Drinkgern will miss his senior season with a medical condition. Yeeouch.

If Hanson and Mariner are healthy come September, I still expect them to be the primary backups at right tackle and left guard, respectively. If they're not, we're going to be relying on walk-ons and true freshmen if any starters go down.

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