Kansas State finds itself in an odd place right now. With just two games left in the 2019 season, the season has gone slightly south, and the Wildcats are in need of a reset, a return to the consistency that helped them become bowl eligible in Chris Klieman’s first season.
Some of the inconsistency is undoubtedly because Kansas State lacks the depth to keep things chugging at an even pace through the entire season. As Drew Schneider writers, the Wildcats have not been at full strength for much of the season, and the lack of depth really cost Kansas State against West Virginia.
Still, Klieman is trying to instill a “next man up” work ethic in his players, and that bore some fruit against the ‘Eers. With Wykeen Gill out, others in the wide receiver corps, including Phillip Brooks, stepped up and made their presence felt.
Depth issues should be less of a problem this week against the Red Raiders. For one, running backs James Gilbert and Jordon Brown are nearly back in playing condition according to offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham. For another, freshman running back Joe Ervin may be back too after serving a one-game suspension, though Klieman may keep him out to preserve his redshirt.
Another thing that might be different this week: don’t expect Skylar Thompson to throw the ball 39 times like he did against West Virginia. That was way more than Kansas State had planned at the outset, and was partly a result of good pressure from the ‘Eers on first down.
Finally, a former Wildcat finds a new NFL home, as former Manhattan High and Kansas State wide receiver Deante Burton is signing with the Dallas Cowboys. This comes after a scout team stint with Indianapolis’ scout team, and a turn at defensive back with the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans.
Oh, and apparently, winter is coming: