If Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder sticks to his plan of naming a starting quarterback 10 days before the season begins against UCLA, he will make a decision between Carson Coffman, Collin Klein and Sammuel Lamur within the next 48 hours.
Odds are he will wait until the news conference leading up to the season-opener on Aug. 31 — as he did last year — to make an official announcement. But the intricacies of his timing don’t much matter.
Point is, the Wildcats’ quarterback controversy is almost over.
As of now, all signs point to Coffman taking the first snap.
The senior signal-caller outshined his competition during the spring game, was considered a slim favorite heading into preseason practices and was once again the top performer at Fan Appreciation Day. He completed the most passes, threw the most touchdowns and was comfortable playing in front of a crowd.
That same combination was enough to win him the job over Grant Gregory last season. It easily could land him the No. 1 spot again.
Also helping his cause is the importance of the season-opener. UCLA, despite its throng of injuries, is a quality team from the Pac-10. It defeated K-State last year at the Rose Bowl and advanced to a bowl game.
The Wildcats will face the Bruins on ABC, and there will be pressure beyond the nerves that usually come with starting a season. Snyder may prefer experience in his huddle, and Coffman is the only quarterback on his roster who can provide it.
A year ago, Coffman started four games and completed 71 of 117 passes for 860 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Nothing great, especially when you consider Gregory overtook Coffman in time for Big 12 play and kept the job all season despite mounting injuries. But Coffman has been there before, and he has learned from his failures.
He is also close friends with former quarterback Josh Freeman, and spent part of the offseason visiting him. They talk almost daily, and with Freeman now a starting quarterback in the NFL I’m sure he gave Coffman some good advice. That had to help.
The question with Coffman is this: If he is named the starter, can he stay the starter?
Snyder has always preferred dual-threat quarterbacks, but Coffman is a pocket passer who has made most of his mistakes on the move during games.
That’s not to say Coffman can’t play well against UCLA and put his stamp on the starting position, but Snyder will endorse competition throughout the season if Coffman isn’t performing up to his high standards. Just like last year.
Who will be the first to challenge Coffman is yet to be determined.
Klein was second on the depth chart by a wide margin coming out of spring practices, but Snyder said Lamur has closed the gap.
Klein has a nice mixture of mobility and arm power. Last year he was a wide receiver, and showed off his accuracy over the weekend by tossing a ball from 40 yards away into a laundry basket. He was under absolutely no pressure, though, and made several poor throws during seven-on-seven drills. Snyder had to pull him aside at one point and talk to him at midfield.
Klein completed just one pass last season for 27 yards (in the final game at Nebraska) and missed out on the spring game with a minor injury. His sample size is small, and we don’t know what he is fully capable of.
Lamur is the most versatile of the three. The twin brother of junior safety Emmanuel, Lamur has shown great athleticism in his public appearances.
He played with K-State’s backup offense in the spring game, and struggled at times. But he did move the Wildcats down field when he got the chance to play with the first-stringers.
He led the Wildcats’ scout team last year, and has studied up on the playbook to be a factor in this season’s quarterback race.
Where will he finish it it? We should know soon.