CONCERNS FOR 2008

CONCERNS FOR 2008

With the season less than a week removed, the subject matter here is to look ahead to the 2008 football year ... where there are potentially more concerns than in 2007.

CONCERNS FOR 2008

Here's an unofficial Top 5 list of concerns.

No. 1 - It'll be a tougher Big 12 schedule with the addition of Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, while giving up Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor.

The non-conference will be a tad lighter as Louisville has fallen on mediocre times, but the game will be on the home field of the Cards. Other non-conference games will be at home against Louisiana-Lafayette, Fresno State and North Texas.

At least in the Big 12, it'll be a tougher go. K-State plays four of its first six games on the road.

After opening with Texas Tech at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, K-State goes to Texas A&M and Colorado, before hosting Oklahoma.

The next two Saturdays will be at Kansas and at Missouri, before finishing the year at home against Nebraska and Iowa State.

No. 2 - Receiver spots in limbo.

You don't replace a Jordy Nelson, but on top of that, K-State loses Daniel Gonzalez, plus James Johnson out of the backfield. They were three primary targets for Josh Freeman in 2007.

What's back? Nothing proven.

Deon Murphy can be a Big 12-type receiver, but still very much unproven as a go-to receiver.

The remaining cast of candidates includes Lamark Brown, Ernie Pierce, Cedric Wilson, plus Leon Patton out of the backfield.

That's reason for concern.

No. 3 - Who will punt?

K-State's No.1 punter Tim Reyer and No. 2 punter Cole Brokenicky are seniors.

Beginning a season without an automatic 40-yard field changer is reason for concern. Reyer has been pretty much automatic for the Wildcats in the last four years averaging better than 42 yards in career punting.

No. 4 - The last line of defense was iffy, at best, in 2007, but the majority of the K-State defensive backfield is gone through graduation.

Marcus Watts, Byron Garvin, Justin McKinney and Bryan Baldwin have all completed their senior careers. Arguably, those are four of KSU's top eight defensive backs.

The collection returning are Coutney Herndon, Gary Chandler, Chris Carney and Ray Cheatham.

P.S. - Other seniors that will be moving on are ends Moses Manu and Rob Jackson, plus linebackers Justin Roland and Marcus Perry.

No. 5A - Can Patton be General-like?

Can Leon Patton be a feature-back? Through his first two seasons, he's shared the spotlight in the backfield with James Johnson.

No other K-State back basically touched the football in 2007, leaving Patton and a total newcomer to be 1-2 for the 2008 season.

No. 5A - The line is back. Good or bad?

Out of K-State's top 10 offensive linemen, only left guard Logan Robinson is a senior.

While the remaining positions have experience returning, it's an o-line that in each of the last two years that has been no better than average.

Having a healthy Jordan Bedore back will be a huge help at center. He will be flanked by Gerard Spexarth and Brock Unruh, while the tackle returnees are Alesana Alesana and Penisini Liu, plus reserve Nick Stringer.

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