What does K-State need to do this year to maintain momentum from previous years? Jon Morse and TB discuss.
TB: Alright, Jon, We have just a little more than a month until real live footbaw this year. But for those who need some simulated football to get their fix in the interim, EA Sports NCAA Football '14 has a bunch of upgrades this year (more specifics here) to keep it real, as it were.
The game is pretty high on K-State's offense coming into this season (91 ranking, near the top of the Big 12), despite losing wrecking-ball quarterback Collin Klein. The defense, which lost substantially more in Arthur Brown, Nigel Malone and pretty much the entire defensive line, is a little more suspect (86 ranking).
- First, what do you think of those rankings?
- And second, what do we need to see from K-State to meet that standard on offense, and improve on that standard on defense?
Jon Morse: The rankings are suspect, largely because the squad itself is. The offense returns mostly intact, save Klein; the problem is that we just don't know what we're going to be getting from behind center. Can Daniel Sams actually function as a passer, or will we be living through the second half of 2010 all over again? Alternatively, can Jake Waters present a legitimate running threat, or will the K-State offense have to adapt to become vertical? Neither question really has an answer yet. 91 is a bit high for an offense with such an unproven situation under center; if Klein still had a year left, I'd only give this offense a 95 or so anyway.
Defensively, things are just as unsettled. Simply put, we just have no idea how this team's going to perform when the opponent has the ball because there are going to be so many new faces. It's easy to automatically dismiss the 2013 K-State defense here in July until you remember who the guy in charge is; how many years has Bill Snyder thrown a no-name defense on the field and suddenly ended up with a handful of all-conference performers? So 86 may be right. It also may be extremely low.
(Notably, even at 86, during simulations run here at SB Nation, K-State's defense was still pretty impressive, with several players winning national awards.)
As far as meeting those standards, it's pretty simple. On offense, the quarterback has to be up to the job. That means Sams has to be a legitimate dual-threat or Waters has to be what he's supposed to be as a passer. On defense, I think meeting the EA rating on defense is a given.