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What does K-State's Bill Snyder value most in a starting quarterback?

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Has the K-State public been overthinking this for years? Probably.

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Emotional turbulence, and sometimes downright fear, surrounds the public discussion as if it were a long needle to a sensitive tooth's root.

How will the Kansas State Wildcats fare with a new starting quarterback?

From Watson v. Straw, to Waters v. Sams, to now Joe Hubener v. Jesse Ertz and Co., competition for the starting nod has been a part of the K-State preseason story far more often than not in head coach Bill Snyder's two eras.

What if we innocently, but wrongfully, applied Collin Klein's famous "trying to drink from a fire hydrant" analogy to every QB's experience?

"K-state has really had a long run of quarterback battles through Coach's time," a former offensive player said. "I don't think you would want to have it any other way. Quite obviously it allows for great competition between the players."

For the public, those competitions have led to variations of the same questions (and arguments) through the years: 1) Which QB is the better kind of physical "fit" for Bill Snyder's system? Or, 2) Which QB can mentally "solve" Snyder's system? Or, 3) It's just a time thing, right? Just a matter of having necessary patience for whichever guy to slide up the development curve?

That feels about right ... right?

I say feel because it seems those parameters provide you and me a conversational safe house -- a place where we feel comfortable in our assessments of what would - or *should* - make for a good starting quarterback. Using those rehearsed, polished thoughts, we feel pretty smart, you and I. We've learned how to use those questions pretty effectively in support of our stances.

But, what if those safe parameters aren't exactly right? For example, what if we innocently, but wrongfully, applied Collin Klein's famous "trying to drink from a fire hydrant" analogy to every QB's experience simply because it spoke to how we felt about trying to understand K-State's offense?

To step back farther, It's a bit unsettling (embarrassing?) to consider we've all for years over-analyzed Snyder's starting QB judgment as some sort of Nobel-winning scientific breakthrough -- it is Bill Snyder, after all. But, according to a former offensive player, it's not playmaking fit that is as important to the legendary coach nearly as much as recognition, role and reliability as the season begins.

"As game week nears, the coaches want to see a guy take charge of the offense," the former player said. "They need to command the huddle, make good checks, set the protection properly, and limit turnovers.

"I would say limiting turnovers is the biggest thing Coach [Snyder] looks for in a quarterback."

Well, even if that's a baby step toward overall efficiency, it isn't sexy, now is it? (Then again, the first time someone seriously ties Bill Snyder's style to "sexy," it will be the first.)

As things are, however, it's safe to say "potential" isn't what we should be looking for as we all set our opinions on who should start at quarterback for the Wildcats in 2015. That may even be a safer bet than normal this year as the K-State offense appears primed for a step toward a much more conservative, run-first nature compared to the past two years with Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett leading.

The receiving corps doesn't appear to be big-play strong. The offensive line is in some transition, and the running backs again don't appear to be game-changers.

All of that combined makes it much harder to answer ...

How will the Kansas State Wildcats fare with a new starting quarterback?