Kansas State will lack quarterback depth, potential 2015 starter without Daniel Sams

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Daniel Sams was unlikely to play significantly at quarterback or wide receiver for Kansas State next season. The uncertainty surrounding his playing time was a major reason why the skilled athlete is transferring.

Still, his departure will have a significant impact on the Wildcats’ roster.

K-State will lack quarterback depth next season, as well as a proven option to lead the wildcat formation. Though Sams switched to receiver during spring practices and appeared in the mix for limited playing time at the position, he likely would have remained the top quarterback behind Jake Waters. And he almost certainly would have taken snaps out of the wildcat formation and been involved with trick plays the way he was last season when he amassed 1,259 yards of total offense and scored 15 touchdowns.

Without Sams, K-State will look to Jesse Ertz and Joe Hubener to provide depth behind Waters. That means an unproven quarterback will be an injury away from the field next season. Ertz, a redshirt freshman, was a standout high school passer in Iowa and he has a big arm. But he didn’t do much in last month’s spring game, completing 9 of 13 passes for 43 yards. Hubener, a sophomore, looked better completing 11 of 16 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Neither has played in a regular-season game.
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K-State Q&A: Marvin Clark, Daniel Sams, Marcus Foster, Shane Southwell, Senior Day and postseason projections

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Let’s go ahead and jump into your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.


I think Kansas State, Michigan State and Iowa State all have a good shot at landing Marvin Clark. They seem to be his top three. The three-star small forward from Kansas City, who is currently playing at Sunrise Christian Academy outside Wichita, visited all three and had good things to say after each stop. Clark was originally going to announce his decision on Saturday, but he told me today he will announce his decision “sometime next week.” So he wants to consider all his options. The Wildcats have recruited him the longest, and he has said staying close to home is a priority. He also rushed the floor at Bramlage Coliseum when K-State beat Kansas. None of that can hurt. But Michigan State is a big name, and Fred Hoiberg is a great coach. I’m not sure who to label as the favorite.
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Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams hints at position change to wide receiver

It is hardly an official announcement, but Daniel Sams is publicly hinting that he has switched positions from quarterback to wide receiver.

Late Thursday night, the Kansas State junior described himself as a “WR for Kansas State” in an updated Twitter bio. He then retweeted someone who pointed out the change.


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K-State Q&A: Keys for the Iowa State game and football recruiting

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.


Rebounding might be the most important part of the game. Everyone knows Iowa State is going to spread the floor and take a boatload of threes, but what happens when the Cyclones miss? Will the Wildcats be able to secure rebounds and push the ball up court, which they hope to do in order to exploit Iowa State’s transition defense, or will the Cyclones grab rebounds and score in the paint? That could easily decide the game. Another key: K-State needs to make it hard for Iowa State players to drive to the basket. Everyone from DeAndre Kane to Georges Niang can shoot or put it on the floor. Thomas Gipson, in particular, needs to be ready to defend anything. One final thought: Will Spradling could be important at Hilton Coliseum. He has a history of playing well there. He has averaged more than 11 points in his three prior trips to Ames, and he scored 15 points there last year. If he can do that again, that will help K-State tremendously.
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K-State Q&A: The Big 12 basketball race, Jevon Thomas, Jim Wooldridge, attendance figures, Daniel Sams and facility upgrades

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.


Kansas lost four games before the start of conference play, and the Big 12 is too tough to envision anyone going undefeated. So I guess it is silly to imagine the Jayhawks running the table. Remember, they got clubbed at Baylor (a NIT team) and TCU (a horrible team) last year. Texas Tech (still bad) stomping Baylor (now a top 15 team) earlier this week shows the Big 12′s depth. Still, the conference race is currently KU’s to lose. The Jayhawks have already beaten K-State at home and they have defeated Oklahoma and Iowa State on the road. Will anyone else duplicate those victories? If they beat Oklahoma State and Baylor next, they will have a huge advantage at 5-0. K-State does have a shot at challenging them. Victories over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have the Wildcats off to a nice start, and the upcoming schedule isn’t daunting. But they can’t afford to drop any games they are favored to win. Beating West Virginia and Texas will be vital. They will also need to prove they can play in tough road environments. If they can do that, then future games against Iowa State and Kansas take on added meaning.


I agree that Jevon Thomas has developed into a valuable sixth man. His speed allows K-State to score in transition and get up the court in ways it simply couldn’t while he was waiting to become eligible. He can come in for Marcus Foster or Will Spradling, and the pass-first point guard helps in many ways. Against Oklahoma, he even made a difference on the glass, grabbing four rebounds. The best part about his game is that he doesn’t lose turnovers. He averages one per game. His defense has dropped a tad from his blazing start, but that is to be expected now that opponents know who he is. As a freshman, he has a lot to offer K-State’s basketball program.


During the Jim Wooldridge era, Bramlage Coliseum averaged about 7,000 fans. The 2001-02 season bottomed out with 5,915 fans. His final season, in 2005-06 topped off at 7,664. Then Bob Huggins arrived and attendance regularly shot up over 12,000. The bottom half of the Big 12 currently averages between 4,000-9,000 fans. Remember, all of those numbers are based on announced (not actual) attendance. By the way, while we’re talking about Wooldridge, congrats to him on becoming the full-time AD at UC-Riverside.


Sams played some running back in high school, and I think he could succeed there at K-State. After all, he is a running quarterback. But he says he only wants to play receiver or quarterback. When he said he would consider changing positions next season, I asked for his thoughts on possibly switching to running back or safety, as well. He didn’t seem remotely interested. Besides, I trust K-State coaches when they say DeMarcus Robinson and Jarvis Leverett are capable replacements for John Hubert.


I think so. He wasn’t plagued by fumbles last season as a quarterback. I’m sure there will be an adjustment curve for him if he switches positions, which is no guarantee, but Chris Harper, Ty Zimmerman and Justin Tuggle all thrived in different spots after coming to K-State as quarterbacks. Bill Snyder knows how to get the most out of his players, regardless of position.

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Here are the two things I keep hearing when I ask about K-State’s new wave of athletic facility upgrades: They are in the very early planning stages, but with a $50 million price tag they are thinking big. I don’t know specifics about what the new north end of Snyder Family Stadium will look like when this project is complete, but it will feature drastic changes. Additional seating and a more enclosed stadium both seem like possibilities. Still, no timetable is in place for that project. K-State is much closer on adding videoboards to Bramlage Coliseum and Snyder Family Stadium. Depending on fundraising, you could see those popping up later this year.


Have a comment or future story idea for K-Stated?
E-mail: krobinett@wichitaeagle.com
Twitter: @KellisRobinett

Five things you should know about Michigan

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Two days have passed since the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl announced it was inviting Kansas State and Michigan to play in its annual postseason game.

K-State coaches, no doubt, have been researching the Wolverines ever since. So have I. Here are a few things that stand out about their season:

1. Michigan and Kansas State have been polar opposites this year.

The Wolverines started 5-0 with a signature victory over Notre Dame. The Wildcats started 2-4 with an unexpected loss to North Dakota State. Yet, both teams finished 7-5.

Narrow wins over Akron and Connecticut can now be viewed as signs that Michigan wasn’t as good as its hot start indicated. But a loss to Penn State truly sent Michigan spiraling downward. The Wolverines lost that game 43-40 (in four overtimes) and never truly recovered. They needed 63 points to beat Indiana in their following game and then lost four of their last five, with the only victory coming in three overtimes against Northwestern.

Michigan didn’t play horribly during that stretch. It lost to Nebraska by four, to Iowa by three and to Ohio State by one. But it will head to Arizona with zero momentum.
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Sunday Rewind: Oklahoma 41, K-State 31

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A look back at Oklahoma’s 41-31 victory over Kansas State:

THREE THOUGHTS

1. This game showed the importance of a balanced offense.
Tyler Lockett didn’t just play the game of his life. With 440 all-purpose yards, 278 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns, he played the finest game of any K-State receiver … Ever. When he went off in the second quarter, catching touchdown passes of 48, 30 and 90 yards, the Wildcats looked unstoppable. But when Oklahoma adjusted and put top cornerback Aaron Colvin on him in the second half, K-State couldn’t adjust back. Jake Waters threw two devastating interceptions, while Daniel Sams and John Hubert were essentially bystanders. Sams attempted three runs and no passes. Hubert touched the ball nine times. K-State rushed for 24 yards.

The Wildcats didn’t have a balanced offense, and, much like a loss at Texas when Lockett went crazy for 237 receiving yards while the rest of the offense was quiet, they lost by double-digits. Oklahoma, meanwhile, ran for 301 yards and threw for 171 yards. That balance kept K-State’s defense guessing. That was the difference in this game.
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 41, Iowa State 7

Sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams and the Kansas State Wildcats played their most complete games of the season against Iowa State.

At the moment, Kansas State is in a class of its own within the Big 12.

The Wildcats are clearly better than the conference’s struggling teams. They have blown out West Virginia and Iowa State and they will be favored against TCU and Kansas. As long as they take care of business against the Horned Frogs and Jayhawks they will reach bowl eligibility.

But the Wildcats also appear a notch below the conference’s contenders. They have already lost to Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State. They are three-point underdogs against Texas Tech and they will likely be underdogs against Oklahoma. They probably need to beat the Red Raiders to have any chance of finishing in the top half of the Big 12 standings.

A 41-7 clobbering of Iowa State proved the Wildcats are improving. They have won back-to-back games, and their defense has gotten better each and every week. They will have momentum and confidence on their side when they head to Texas Tech, fresh off its first two losses, next week. Can they take advantage and once again prove their progress? Or will they stay where they are?

It will be an important game.

Here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Sunday Rewind: Kansas State finds passing groove in 35-12 victory over West Virginia

Kansas State put Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson to good use on Saturday. The Wildcats’ top two receivers combined for four touchdowns.

This was definitely a crossroads game for Kansas State. A loss would have made it very difficult for the Wildcats to keep their spirits up and to reach bowl eligibility. Instead, they pounded West Virginia in the second half for a 35-12 victory and now go into their final five games with momentum.

Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett were back on the field together for the first time in a month. Jake Waters looked like the quarterback who originally won the starting quarterback job in the preseason. And K-State looked like a new team.

Here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Football Friday: Mid-season awards, healthy receivers, a starting 5 and Halloween advice

It’s time for another Football Friday. Who else is excited?

I thought about handing out some mid-season awards as a build-up to the questions this week, but then someone sent along an e-mail asking for a mid-season MVP. So, no intro needed. Let’s get to the questions.


That’s a tough one. It’s hard to name a MVP with K-State off to a 2-4 start, quarterbacks coming in and out and key players suffering injuries. A case could be made for Tyler Lockett, Daniel Sams, Blake Slaughter, Ryan Mueller and maybe even a few others.

I’m inclined to choose Lockett. Even though he has missed two games with a hamstring injury he ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 475 receiving yards and set a single-game program record with 237 receiving yards at Texas. Those numbers are too good to ignore, plus he has developed into a strong leader.

On the defensive side of the ball, I would narrowly choose Mueller over Slaughter. Mueller leads the team with 8.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and three quarterback hurries. And when he makes a big play, it is highlight worthy.
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