We threw out five questions before Saturday's Kansas State Wildcats football spring game, and the scrimmage appeared to provide a few answers, along with some really nice surprises... we think.
Let's revisit those pregame questions, and then we'll throw in some other observations toward the end.
1) Is there a real QB battle? Yep, it appears the spot is up for grabs through the summer. Jesse Ertz, who started with the purple, was reasonable. Joe Hubener wasn't bad; nor was he great. Alex Delton is fast and appeared to be well ahead of the curve in terms of attention to detail (in very technical, coach-pleasing things like fully carrying out hand-off fakes); even if his passing left something to be desired.
The good news: All three guys will likely keep pushing the others to improve.
The not-so-good news: It appears all three need to be pushed. There was no standout performance, and there is a whole lot to untangle between now and the start of next season.
What Bill Snyder said: "We turned the ball over, got penalized, did not run it very well and obviously with the interceptions we did not throw the ball very well."
2) Just how deep is the defense? 3) Is Elijah Lee ready for every down? Let's combine two questions into this answer because one answer directly impacts the other. And, let's answer No. 3 first with a resounding: Sure looks like it. Lee was all over the field on Saturday, making tackles on all three levels, along with adding an 18-yard interception for a touchdown. If you can put all of that into the "all in a day's work" category for Lee, the sky is the limit.
As for the rest of the defense, it's always hard to gauge improvement under the purple/white (first vs. second team) format, but Will Geary looked ready to be an absolute rock in the middle of the defensive line. I grew up a Kansas City Chiefs fan through the 90s, and any time a player reminds me of Dan Saleamua's dirty-trenches style, I'm all for it.
Put athletes like Lee and Jordan Willis on the outsides, along with Danzel McDaniel (who was held out) and Dante Barnett and Morgan Burns in the secondary, and this unit looks like it could be pretty sturdy in the fall.
What Bill Snyder said: "I think we played sound on defense. I think we gave up one deep throw with our twos that would have been successful, but the offense mishandled it. I just thought they were sound. When I go and look back at the film I will probably see some different things.
"I thought we were particularly bad against the passing game, because we let a few passes get away from us and failed to contain on a few of the bootleg passes. Overall through the course of the day the number ones on defense did well."
4) Has the running game been resuscitated? This question is one that we may be asking well into the season. While there were some fun performances turned in by fresh faces (Justin Silmon, Winston Dimel), and Charles Jones proved he really does have a nose for the end zone, it was a pretty average day for the run game. QBs call their own plays in the spring game, which probably factors into things, too.
Let's check back on this come late summer.
What Bill Snyder said: "I talked about Justin Silmon running hard and that was what I was looking for and they did. It is a shame that it just came from young guys, but they did a nice job and will be rewarded."
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? Did anyone get punched?
BONUS) Well, hello there, Mr. Dominique Heath. If Saturday's performance in the return game was a harbinger of things to come, students now should start working on their "Dom-i-nee-eeque" chant. What the redshirt freshman did in the spring return game looked potentially special if he continues to develop.
What Bill Snyder said: "I thought Heath did a very nice job and beat some people. I think he is very, very viable. Now we just need to get some people to help him and get some blockers in front of him."