Nine down and three to go … the end of three quarters, so to speak.
Heading into the stretch run of at Missouri, at Colorado and at North Texas, here’s how we grade the Wildcats on the first three quarters of the 2010 football year.
The Wildcats haven’t been the prettiest team on the planet, but honestly, how many of you thought that K-State would be any better than 6-3 at this stage of the season.
And, if one was to pick three games most wanted to end up in the victory column, they would have likely been Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.
The ‘Cats won two of those three games – KU and UT – by a combined score of 98-21.
From the beginning, no one was asking Carson Coffman to go out and win games, but instead, he was asked not to lose games. For the most part that has happened.
What will the future bring at that position with Collin Klein perhaps stepping in … only time will tell.
RUNNING BACK: A
Daniel Thomas ranks second in the Big 12 and seventh in the nation with a 122-yard average per game. He’s averaging 5.1 yards per carry and has scored 12 touchdowns.
While his carries have been few, William Powell has averaged 10.9 yards on his 23 carries. Braden Wilson has been more than adequate at fullback.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B
KSU’s o-line has enabled the team to rush for 201 yards per game, which ranks 22nd nationally. They have allowed 2.2 sacks per game, but all of that does not fall on Coffman’s shoulders. It’s been a six-man cast playing the five positions with Wade Weibert, Zach Kendall, Kenneth Mayfield, Manase Foketi, Clyde Aufner and Zach Hanson.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C-
Tough to grade because injuries have sidelined Brodrick Smith and Tramaine Thompson for the season. Even with those two, the Wildcats were still without significant playmakers at the position. For the year, the ‘Cats have averaged just 11.2 yards per completion with no receiver gaining more than 48 yards per game.
OFFENSIVE GRADE: B-
While K-State ranks ninth in total offense in the Big 12, it has found a way to score 32 points per game, which should be enough to win the majority of the games.
DEFENSIVE ENDS: D
In the last five games, Brandon Harold has three tackles. He hasn’t had a full sack in the last six games. Antonio Felder has only had two tackles for a loss this season.
DEFENSVE TACKLES: D
A rotation of Prizell Brown, Raphael Guidry, Ray Kibble and Payton Kirk have produced 2.5 tackles for negative yards this year and just two sacks, both by Brown.
They’re all decent, but none of All-Big 12 first-, second-, and third-team caliber. And now, Alex Hrebec, the team’s leading tackler, is likely out for the season with an arm injury.
True-freshman Tre Walker is coming on strong, while Jarell Childs and Blake Slaughter are fundamentally sound, but hardly stupendous athletes, by Big 12 standards. Again, making the big plays are lacking.
Decent throughout with freshman Ty Zimmerman emerging as the surprise player, not to mention steadiest player. The play of David Garrett, Terrance Sweeney and Stephen Harrison has been decent, but the play of Troy Butler, Tysyn Hartman and Emmanuel Lamur disappointing for the total collection of nine games.
OFFENSIVE GRADE: C-
K-State ranks 113th in the nation against the run (218), 101st in total defense (435), but remarkably, 57th against the score at 24.3 points, which placed them sixth in the league.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
On the plus side, William Powell leads the nation in kickoff returns (34.6), while Josh Cherry is 7-of-8 on field goals. On the negative side, Ryan Doerr has a punting average of 42.0 yards, which ranks 10th in the league, and K-State has not had a playmaker with punt returns.
Let’s see, the offense gets a “B-” and the defense a “C-“ and the special teams a “B.” Still, the Wildcats are 6-3. Yes, this 71-year-old named Bill Snyder can still coach the game. Perhaps he’s done more with less than in any other year of his 19-season career.
SIX STARS OF THE YEAR:
Daniel Thomas, running back; Wade Weibert, center; Alex Hrebec, linebacker; Ty Zimmerman, safety; William Powell, KOR, and, David Garrett, secondary
SIX DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR:
Brandon Harold, defensive end; Emmanuel Lamur, safety; Prizell Brown, defensive tackle; Antonio Felder, defensive end; Ray Kibble, defensive tackle, and, Troy Butler, secondary