This week's Q&A comes courtesy the Missouri State Bears beat writer, Lyndal Scranton. You can read more about Missouri State from the Springfield News-Leader.
1. After averaging only 17.6 points per game in 2006, the Bears are off to a flying start in 2007, averaging 55.5 points per game through two games this year. What do you think is responsible for the change in offensive output?
Two things. The first, and probably most important, is young talent. Kingjack Washington is a true freshman who’s splitting time at tailback with senior Gerald Davis. Washington is probably the fastest offensive player the Bears have had since their days as a I-AA playoff team in the early 1990s. He also returns kickoffs. Another true freshman, Cody Kirby, is splitting time at quarterback with sophomore Matt Krapfl. Kirby is a running threat and gives the offense that dimension when he is in the game. The other big thing is scheme. New offensive coordinator Rob Christophel has installed the no-huddle, spread offense. The quarterback spends 95 percent of the snaps in shotgun formation which takes some pressure off an inexperienced offensive line. So far, the attack has kept defenses off balance as the Bears sometimes use the no-huddle as a true hurry-up offense, sometimes using all the play clock.
2. To help K-State fans get familiar with Missouri State's style of play, tell us what type of offense and defense the Bears run, and one player to watch on each side of the ball.
I’ve already touched on the offensive style, the spread. Most snaps from the shotgun with 3 or 4 receivers. Lots of quick passes. Defensively it’s a basis 4-3-3 look with quite a bit of man coverage in the secondary. A player to watch on offense is Washington. Whether he’s returning kickoffs or taking handoffs, he’s a big-play threat. Defensively look for senior linebacker Jeron Poole. He has a big motor and plays with max effort every play though that sometimes will get him in trouble if he gambles on a play and is wrong.
3. K-State is a little banged up heading into this game, especially on defense where starting linebacker Antwon Moore was lost for the season to a knee injury. Are the Bears sending a lot of players to the infirmary, or have they managed to stay in one piece?
Missouri State has remained pretty healthy through its first two games. None of its starters have missed time. That’s vital for a FCS (or I-AA if you prefer) program that does not have an abundance of quality depth.
4. Give us your prediction for this game. Does former-KU-coach Terry Allen get his first win against the Wildcats?
Look for Kansas State’s running game to take its toll on the Missouri State defense. It might stay close for a half, but I expect the Wildcats to prevail 42-17.
Once again, we really thank Lyndal for participating. Here's to a good, injury-free game.