The Kansas State Wildcats football team will put on the pads for almost-real Saturday at 3 p.m. at Sporting Park in Kansas City. The annual spring game has always been a little weird because excitement for the scrimmage is typically watered down by the Fort Knox secrecy surrounding practices.
In other words, nobody ever really has a good feel for what to expect or who to watch. It means many spend the scrimmage asking things like:
"Who is that guy?"
"Did so-and-so switch positions?"
"Why won't they actually run something?"
"I don't see so-and-so ... is he hurt or still on the team?"
Still, we can surmise a few things will be on display, and therefore, here's a quick list of five real questions as we soak in our first look at the 2015 Wildcats.
1) Is there a real QB battle? The prevailing thought after Jake Waters left was that the offense was going to be led by Joe Hubener. Through the earliest parts of the spring, however, we've begun to hear Alex Delton has potentially started to chew into the Bazooka-Joe-or-bust mindset. Is it for real? Could such a young guy do what nobody has ever been able to do under Bill Snyder?
2) Just how deep is the defense? Fans love to believe that Snyder has every single detail accounted for at all times. Well, did he account for the complete three-headed JUCO bust that was defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales, and linebackers Isaiah Riddle and D'Vonta Derricott? This is the season where those hyped-up guys should have been primed and ready to lead a (theoretically) stacked defense. Now, however, it leaves one to wonder if there's enough there to fill all three holes at a high level.
3) Is Elijah Lee ready for every down? One of those answers could be the sophomore outside linebacker, who will have to show he can handle every-down responsibilities. He was fun and flashy to watch as a third-down rush specialist off the edge in 2014, and if he's ready for the expanded role, he might stuff a highlight tape all by himself.
4) Has the running game been resuscitated? The passing game under Waters, Tyler Lockett and others was so efficient that it made you almost forget the Wildcats weren't really very good at all when trying to run the ball (7th in the Big 12). Partly a talent issue at running back and partly some unexpected below-average run blocking, K-State didn't have a running back in the Big 12 Top 10. Charles Jones led the team with 540 yards (41.5 per game). With no more Waters or Lockett to rely on, the running game has to improve.
5) If someone friendly next to you wants to talk men's basketball, will you punch them right in the face before they even finish the sentence?