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2016 Kansas State Position Preview: Quarterback

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An injury epidemic ravaged the QB position last season, and the Wildcats hope to hit the reset button for 2016.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - Michigan v Kansas State

Three Dog Night sang about one being the loneliest number, and last year Jesse Ertz found out just how lonely. We all know Ertz suffered a season ending ACL tear after only one snap as the Wildcat’s starting QB. That was only the beginning, as the injury bug tore through the QB position leaving only Joe Hubener and wide receiver turned quarterback Kody Cook to try and lead a beleaguered offense. It was ugly at times last season which meant this off-season was sure to bring another QB contest.

The contest was never really close as Jesse Ertz threw the ball better than anyone else in the Spring Game, and his consistency during fall practice led Coach Snyder to the same conclusion as last season. Ertz was the man to lead the Wildcats into Palo Alto.

Starter

Last year I alluded to a possible 2011 like season for the 2015 team after Jesse Ertz was named the starter. I won’t be making that mistake again. However, my stance remains that Jesse Ertz is the best player to lead the Wildcat offense. We still don’t know if Ertz can throw the ball, but the throws he made during the spring game were impressive. And with a retooled wide receiving corp Ertz should have a bit more leeway than Hubener or Cook had last season.

A report from Kellis Robinett during fall camp indicate Ertz is the consummate competitor, so much so that other teammates have stopped playing video games with him:

“I just watch television now,” K-State defensive end Jordan Willis said. “He’s beaten me too many times.”

“Never met a more competitive person in my life,” added K-State center Dalton Risner. “Jesse can’t play a game of backyard basketball without things getting serious. He is always doing anything he can to win.”

“Don’t play him at FIFA,” warned K-State safety Dante Barnett of the soccer video game. “He’s unbeatable.”

This competitiveness coupled with the consistency Snyder says Ertz showed during camp should give Wildcat fans some peace of mind after last season injury epidemic.

Backups

With the amount of running Bill Snyder asks his quarterbacks to preform, we can’t simply stop at the starting QB when previewing the position. Alex Delton and Joe Hubener will serve as the primary back ups IF (and every Wildcat fan should hope and pray to all the football gods that it doesn’t happen) Jesse Ertz should fall prey to last seasons injury bug.

It’s a bit disappointing, but not really surprising to see Delton and Hubener tied for the back up role. Delton only played in two games last season, both in mop up duty rushing for 18 yards on 4 carries. He was injured during his time at the end of the UTSA last season, and didn’t play again. That allowed him to retain his red-shirt year, and he enters the 2016 season as a red-shirt freshman. Even though Delton entered Kansas State early in the spring of 2015, he is still very raw, and has yet to prove himself in the passing game. An extra season of serving as the backup should allow him more time to learn the intricate Snyder playbook and become more confident as a passer.

Hubener could also see time as Ertz’s backup and while last season wasn’t pretty it did serve to allow him to gain valuable experience should he be thrust into a similar situation to last season. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that this year, but if it does (we as Kansas State fans are cursed) hopefully the improved wide receiving corp will help make this years offense a more consistent performing unit.

Overall, the wide receiving corp appears to be an improved unit, and that coupled with Jesse Ertz providing a stabilizing force at the QB position should mean a good improvement over last seasons offense. The big question is whether or not Ertz can stay healthy behind an incredibly young offensive line. If he can expect the Wildcats to improve upon their 6-7 record in 2015.

Editor’s note: Changed The Beatles’ to Three Dog Night as Three Dog Night was the band who sang “One”.