The Ralphie Report sat down with the great Kansas State blog on SBNation, Bring On The Cats, to discuss this week's game in Boulder. Thanks to Tye for some great answers.
How are Kansas State fans feeling about year 2 of the Bill Snyder era 2.0?
I think most of us are very happy with the overall direction of the program. If the Cats can get a win against Colorado, they're looking at an 8-4 regular season. Before the year, I predicted 7-5, and my minimum expectation for a "successful" season was a bowl appearance. This team should accomplish that easily. Some people got a little too optimistic about this team merely because of the name of the guy coaching. Bill Snyder showed his first time around that you don't fix the mess of Stan Parrish overnight. He's showing in his second time around, with Carson Coffman as his starting QB and a defense with no star players and coordinated by a guy Maryland was about to fire, that you don't work miracles overnight. But at least this team is disciplined, prepared, and gives it their all on every down.
Is Snyder's hiring considered to be long(er) term or is there a plan being put together for his replacement?
It won't be a long-term solution. Snyder isn't like Joe Paterno. He's not going to coach until he's 80. From the completely unsubstantiated rumors I hear, he'll probably be the coach for the next three-to-five seasons. My guess is that our athletic director, John Currie, is at least quietly working on a succession plan for Snyder, knowing that he won't be around forever. From my standpoint, I hope they're working on a succession plan, because last time the administration got caught with its pants down, and we all know how that turned out.
Who should we expect to see at quarterback this weekend? Is there anyone else we need to watch out for on offense outside of Daniel Thomas?
I have no idea who to tell you to expect at quarterback this weekend. Last weekend, I was certain I'd see Collin Klein take the field from my perch in the stands at Faurot Field. That didn't happen. Given CU's relative weakness at stopping the passing game, I wouldn't be surprised to see Coffman start, because he is the better passer of the two. If it works and he helps the team put up a couple of early scores, you will probably see him for the rest of the game. But if he struggles early, Snyder will have a quick hook and we'll see what Klein can do.
Other than Thomas, and if he's in, Klein, the offense doesn't have a ton of threats. Aubrey Quarles had a nice game against Missouri and can put up some big numbers if the defense doesn't account for him. I'd like to say that Chris Harper was a threat to burn the Buffaloes' defense from his wide receiver position, but that would require us to actually get the ball to him, which hasn't happened this year.
If you were Eric Kiesau (CU offensive coordinator) how would you attack the Wildcat defense?
He has plenty of options. K-State is the bottom of the FBS barrel at stopping the run, so Rodney Stewart would be a good place to start. My guess is that K-State will pack the box against the Buffaloes and dare Cody Hawkins to beat them throwing the ball. Despite his good performance against Iowa State last weekend, the K-State defense will probably assume at least initially that it's unlikely he'll continue to perform at such a level. I'd much rather take my chances with Hawkins throwing the ball than Stewart running it, but given what I've seen out of K-State's defense this year, I'm not all that confident that they can stop either consistently.
Prediction time. What does Colorado need to do to win? What does Kansas State need to do to win? Final score?
Colorado needs to get out to an early lead. K-State is not a team that plays well from behind. The Wildcats' preference is to either get an early lead or stay very close early in the game, and then beat the other team down with its rushing attack. Daniel Thomas and the offensive line can really wear on people as the game goes along if the running game is established. My fear is that the Cats will come out a little sluggish in the first quarter in the thin mountain air and find themselves down 7-0 or 10-0. If that happens, Colorado will almost certainly win the game. But I think K-State will be ready to go in this one. Let's call it a 21-17 victory for the road team.