Bill Snyder says he can't allow it to be a four-man gang at running back once the season begins, but for now, that's exactly what it is heading into Saturday's 6:10 opener against Eastern Kentucky at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
At Tuesday's press conference, Snyder first mentioned Robert Rose by name, but on the initial published depth chart three individuals were listed as possible first-team running backs – John Hubert, Bryce Brown and Angelo Pease.
"We'll probably wait until Friday night," Snyder said when quizzed about when he might know who is starter is. "I'm not sure if it will be a coin toss, but it is a difficult decision. They're all doing reasonably well."
Snyder went on to say that K-State has staged 35 percent of the practices that the team will have all year, and a choice has not been made. He did admit, "We can't continue to allow it to be four guys. That doesn't mean all won't get on the field, but it will not be a four-man committee. You can't have enough repetitions for four games and have the improvement you'd like to see."
Brown (6-0, 220, Soph) and Pease (5-11, 215, Jr) have the most size and are the fastest of the four. "Just by nature of structure, they're a little more physical." Brown last played at Tennessee in 2009, while Pease was a runningback/quarterback/wide receiver last year at Hutchinson Community College.
Of Hubert (5-7, 185, Soph) and Rose (5-4, 173, Soph), Snyder said, "Robert is the smallest of the group. He can be a difficult guy to find like Darren (Sproles) was. With those big 6-7 guys (linemen), he's in there waddling between their legs. He has good quickness and movement.
"John also is a good movement type guy. He doesn't change directions as quickly as Robert, but he has good quickness," said Snyder. "They're not large, but they're not un-powerful runners." With each, Snyder said, "They're all a little bit different, but all have done a decent job so far."
Whether it's at running back, quarterback, or any other position on the team, the Wildcat coach said, "For our program to go where we need to go, we need internal competition to enhance every individual and position by position. We want them to have to compete to get to where they want to go."
Snyder went on to say, "Our corner positions are as competitive as a position on our football team, along with running back." Listed as the starting corners are David Garrett and newcomer Nigel Malone, backed by community college transfers Allen Chapman and Kip Daily.
K-State's best depth may be at linebacker where Arthur Brown, Tre Walker and Emmanuel Lamur are listed as starters, backed by Alex Hrebec, Blake Slaughter and Jonathan Truman. Or, at receiver where it's Brodrick Smith, Sheldon Smith and Chris Harper, backed by Tramaine Thompson, Tyler Lockett and Torell Miller.
• B.J. Finney is still starting, but now at right guard instead of center. The new center is 6-0, 337-pound Shaun Simon, while Finney joins Keenan Taylor as starting guards. Finney made the move from center to guard last week.
• The revolving defensive line now has Adam Smith and Jordan Voelker at the ends, while Ray Kibble and Vai Lutui at tackles. Voelker started his career as a tight end out of Butler County Community College, but moved to defense this spring. He was awarded a scholarship last week.
• The return men will come from the list of Ty Zimmerman and Tysyn Hartman with punts, and Thompson and Lockett with kickoffs.