Coach Klieman put out his first official depth chart for the Nicholls game. I’m sure you’ve seen it other places, but you know what other places don’t have...me. As the self appointed preeminent analyst of all things Kansas State, I’m here to tell you what all this nonsense means (and further inflate your expectations only so they can be crushed like bugs under the heal of an angry giant later on in the season).
#74- Scott Frantz (6’5, 303 - Sr)
#770 - Kaitori Leveston (6’4, 329 - Rs Fr)
#72 - Evan Curl (6’5, 295 - Sr)
#76 - Josh Rivas (6’6, 323 - So)
#79 - Adam Holtorf (6’4, 302 - Sr)
#69 - Noah Johnson (6’1, 286 - Rs Jr)
#62 - Tyler Mitchell (6’5, 317 - Sr)
#63 - Ben Adler (6’4, 320 - So)
#77 - Nick Kaltmayer (6’8, 311 - Sr)
#73 - Christian Duffie (6’5, 297 - Rs Fr)
A wise and beautiful man once wrote an article about the advantages of having an experienced offensive line.
This line was made to mash opposing defenses into either the scalding hot or frozen (depending on the month) turf of Bill Snyder Family Stadium. These are big experienced dudes just looking to pin their ears back and punish opponents. This is the strength of the team, and it’s a good strength to have.
Now, offensive line 2-deeps are a little deceiving, because the back up guy isn’t always the first one off the bench. You see a bunch of mixing and matching, but also, man, the dudes on the bench are giants as well. The Wildcats, at minimum, will have no issues punishing a buffet over the next few seasons.
In terms of long term success, you can see the progression from 2019 to 2020 on the line. It obviously won’t be five seniors deep next season, but the coaching staff also won’t have to ask a 18 year old kid to start at left tackle either. Coach Snyder and staff left the cupboard well stocked on the line.
#83 Dalton Schoen (6’1, 209 - Sr)
#4 Malik Knowles (6’2, 186 Rs Fr)
#21 - Wykeen Gill (5’10, 180 - Jr)
#88 - Phillip Brooks (5’7 167 - Rs Fr)
#12 - Landry Weber (5’10, 180 - So)
This is pretty simple. At WR1, you’ve got the tall, “go down the field and catch it” guys and at WR2, you’ve got the quick, “run across the field and catch it” guys.
I’m not going to blow smoke up your rear ends, this depth chart isn’t going to strike fear in the hearts of opponents, but it’s good enough. Schoen is steady, Knowles is probably the most talented of the group, and Gill has drawn rave reviews in camp. After that, who knows, but this offense isn’t reliant on a deep wide receiver group, which is good because this one is about as deep as a puddle.
#34 - James Gilbert (5’9, 198 - Sr)
#6 - Jordan Brown (5’11, 200, Sr)
#2 - Harry Trotter (5’11, 202, Jr)
Much like wide receiver, this running back group isn’t going to blow you away with their physical prowess. I do, however, think that this is a hungry group with a chip on their shoulders ready to run hard. Gilbert got jerked around at Ball State after getting injured. Brown could never get any traction in Larry Fedora’s gimmicky high school offense. Harry Trotter started at Ft. Scott, then walked on at Louisville, then transferred to K-State in search of playing time. You can’t tell me that dude isn’t ready to run through a brick wall.
I’m not looking for flashy from these guys, I’m looking for straight ahead grinders who run behind their pads and their giant offensive line for a series, then hand the ball baton off to the next guy on the depth chart so he can do the same thing. Rinse and repeat until the other team gets tired of tackling them.
#87 - Nick Lenners (6’5, 252 - So)
#36 - Mason Barta (6’1, 236 - So)
Fullback and Tight End are interchangeable in this offense. You’ll see Lenners motion from tight end to fullback, and you’ll probably see Lenners motion from fullback to tight end on some plays. Lenners should be ready to go after his truncated 2018 campaign. I wouldn’t want to be the Nicholls linebacker that meets him in the hole on the first play of the game, because I’m willing to bet Mr. Lenners has some frustrations he needs to work out.
#89 Blaise Gammon (6’7, 250 - Sr)
#87 Nick Lenners (6’5, 252 - Sr)
Gammon thinks he’s good, and I like a player with confidence. This year the tight ends will be more than just extra blockers in the offense. Blaise should get plenty of opportunities to show everyone exactly what he can do with the ball in his hands.
When he’s not running down the middle of the field with his hand up waiting for Skylar to drop a dime over his shoulder for another touchdown, Gammon will be able to line up next to fellow giant Nick Kaltmayer to block out the sun on the right side of the offensive line. I want to see those two guys make a defensive end quit on the field.
#10 Skylar Thompson (6’2, 212 - Jr)
#17 Nick Ast (6’5, 209 - So)
#3 John Holcombe II (6’4, 249 - Rs Fr)
Skylar Thompson should be on the prayer list of every church in the area. His health is the single most important factor in the 2019 season. If Skylar is healthy, this offense should fit his skill set perfectly. He’s got the arm to push it down the field, is athletic enough to roll out and throw on the run, and he won’t be asked to run much zone read, because, oooof, that’s not his strong suit.
After Thompson its...bleak. At some point in their careers, either Ast or Holcombe will be asked to guide the Wildcats to glory. This isn’t that season. I will, however, acknowledge the potential of quarterback man beast Holcombe lining up in short yardage or goal line situations, saving Thompson a few hits, and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. If there isn’t a Holcombe package in the playbook, there will be after Coach Klieman receives the strongly worded email I have prepared.
Tomorrow I will pontificate on the defense. Be sure to tell your friends, relatives and anyone else who may enjoy the best Kansas State analysis available on the internet (according to my wife at least and daughter).
P.S. - Shout out to my neighbor Steve. I told you I was coming with more content this week