Two-QB system still in flux for Wildcats
By ARNE GREEN
Special to The Telegram
The search for Kansas State's offensive identity continues.
As the Wildcats continue to mix and match quarterbacks Jake Waters and Daniel Sams, the challenge for coach Bill Snyder and his staff remains how to gain a competitive advantage while simultaneously keeping opposing defenses off balance.
"We haven't totally made a dramatic distinction is regards to exactly how to do it," Snyder said Monday during the Big 12 teleconference. "I think we have an idea of how we want to do it (but) game conditions sometimes — virtually always — alter that."
That certainly was the case in Saturday's 31-21 loss to Texas, where Waters played the entire second half after leading the Wildcats to a touchdown before intermission that cut their deficit to 17-7.
"In the first half of the ballgame we utilized both quarterbacks, very much the way we wanted to do it," Snyder said. "In the second half we fell behind and (it) put us in the situation to, in order to catch up, throw the ball rather consistently and consequently that's the direction that we went."
They found ways to incorporate Waters into the quarterback run game that Snyder favors while still taking advantage of his superior passing abilities. In addition to completing 19 of 30 passes for 275 yards, he rushed 18 times for 26 yards with that total including four sacks that lost a combined 20 yards.
Sams rushed eight times for a team-high 48 yards with a long of 23, but did not attempt a pass in the first half. So if the Wildcats abandoned that component of their offense altogether, does it mean they have become too predictable?
"As I've said so many times, both of them are very capable young guys," Snyder said. "Both of them really have the capacity to guide our football team.
"Both of them deserve to be on the field. (The challenge is) being able to define exactly how to do it without being too tendency-prone as it relates to how the defense defines what we're doing."
While Waters has improved in the running game, he lost two fumbles late in the Texas game, including one inside the Longhorns' 5-yard line with the Wildcats looking to pull within a field goal. He lost another in the closing seconds on a sack.
Sams has attempted just four passes, completing three for 39 yards.
"Everybody knows what we want to do," Snyder said. "The important and significant components to that are within the structure of our program.
"Our players know what we want to do. Now the defenses have a lot to do with that, as I've said so many times, and they kind of direct what is taking place."
The Wildcats (2-2 overall, 0-1 Big 12) have an extra week to sort things out with an open date Saturday before hitting the road again to face Oklahoma State on Oct. 5.