During the 2016 regular season, then-freshman quarterback Alex Delton only saw playing time in four of the games. However, this spring he has been the orchestrator of Kansas State’s offense.
Part of the reason is due to the absence of last season’s starting then-junior quarterback, Jesse Ertz, who is out for the spring after having offseason shoulder surgery. During the 2016 season Delton only attempted six passes while running it 24 times.
Ertz being out is not an ideal situation for the Wildcats, but there is something positive for the Wildcats to take away from it: Delton is getting more reps with the first team during spring practice. The opportunity allows him to be ready in case Ertz is not ready to go at the start of the regular season.
Delton is taking full advantage of the opportunity.
“I’m always looking to get better,” Delton said. “This spring I knew I was going to have to get better, and I was looking for improvement obviously, and an opportunity presented itself and I feel like I’ve fully taken advantage of it in a positive way.”
It is worth noting that the Wildcats also have a new quarterback coach, former K-State quarterback Collin Klein. Delton said it is a blessing to have Klein as a coach, being a guy who has been in the shoes of the current K-State quarterbacks, and while doing it at the highest level, being a Heisman Trophy finalist. Delton said that this semester under the tutelage of Klein, he has made the biggest strides of his career in Manhattan.
Now-sophomore running back Alex Barnes said Delton’s improvement and athleticism are showing.
“He is probably the second-fastest guy on the team,” Barnes said. “He is explosive and no one on the defense is going to catch him when he gets loose. It is fun to watch him run. He has improved a lot as a passer. I know he has worked on his mechanics and he has spent a lot of time with Collin (Klein), too. He has really worked hard to improve his passing game.”
Two key areas Delton is working on improving and has seen improvement during spring ball are playing with confidence and playing fast.
“A big thing for me this spring is my confidence,” Delton said. “I feel like I’ve gained tons of confidence, and just having the guys behind me makes the world of difference.”
Delton also said that playing fast is an aspect of his game he has worked on so far in the spring, and that confidence can lead to playing faster.
“I feel like I know everything, I know what we’re trying to do as an offense and as a unit,” Delton said. “My job and my responsibility is to play as fast as I can and get the ball to our guys to make plays.”
‘Next man up’ is a common phrase heard in the sports world, and Delton has been living that out this spring for the K-State Wildcats. Delton will have the chance to showcase his abilities at the spring game on April 22 in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.