The 2017 season for the Kansas State Wildcats presented a lot of information. Some good, some bad and a little bit in between.
While the Wildcats finish the season with a record of 8-5, it can still seem a bit disappointing to fans and the media. This first two games for the Wildcats against the University of Central Arkansas and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte gave a huge boost of hope to Wildcat fans that we could dethrone Oklahoma one the next best thing in the Big 12.
Then, Vanderbilt happened.
Vanderbilt was hands down one of the most frustrating, aggravating, disappointing games of the season. We lost our ranking, and ultimately sunk to a team that we could’ve won against. Vanderbilt wasn’t just any game that we lost– Vanderbilt was one of the games that showed the faults and cracks of the team, what needed to be worked out and what could change the game.
In the end, K-State fixed some problems that were presented, but the secondary was still a major area that the Wildcats took a hit.
They end this season with five losses: Vanderbilt, the University of Texas, TCU, the University of Oklahoma and the University of West Virginia. Before the bowl game, K-State finished 7-5 in the Big 12, tied up with Iowa State and West Virginia. Oklahoma led the Big 12, and KU finished last.
With the bowl game over, what should K-State fans look forward to going forward?
1. Two young quarterbacks fighting for the starting spot
Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson are bound to go head-to-head for the starting position. Myself, and I imagine many others, believed that Thompson was locked in for the starting position, but after being taken out of the game for ineffective play, Delton stole the show at the bowl game.
Delton brought forward a strong case of why he should still be in contention as the starting quarterback, and I think many fans see that. The quarterback situation may also switch up because of a new offensive coordinator coming in, but it will be something to see in the future.
2. Dalton Risner is staying with the Wildcats
The 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pound offensive lineman is staying at K-State for another year, which is a huge asset for the team. This season, Risner was undoubtedly a leader and well respected upperclassmen for the Wildcats. After being named a Second Team All-American, Risner has brought forth a lot of confidence into the offensive line.
Whoever the next offensive coordinator is, they will get to work with one of the most experienced offenses in the country. With Risner staying, it will not only improve the Wildcats, but also his stock by returning for another year.
3. Multiple wide receivers willing to put in the extra mile
Dalton Schoen, Dominique Heath, Zach Reuter and Isaiah Zuber are top-notch receivers that are guaranteed back for the Wildcats and are surely going to be a huge help to the Wildcats this coming season.
With Byron Pringle up in the air still of whether or not he will come back next year, it is good to know for all Wildcat fans that we still have four wide receivers willing to put in the extra mile and get the job done.
When it comes to the season as a whole, there were a couple drops in the season that showed a couple of lows. Jesse Ertz and his injury by far took the cake in this category.
Ertz was one of the most highly accredited players the Wildcats had for this season. After the game at Texas, Ertz was done with the season due to injury. With Ertz not being able to play, it gave the chance for Delton and Thompson to get action, but it was still unfortunate to see a player that was a fan favorite to leave on those terms.
Going forward the Wildcats still have a lot of ground to cover. There are a couple things going forward that could be rather shaky for the Wildcats.
1. The defense
While we will be having one of the most experienced offenses in the country, our defense is where we are going to take the hit. Trent Tanking, Will Geary and Jayd Kirby are all leaving, all three being extremely solid and strong defensive outlets.
D.J. Reed is still pending, but it seems as if staying at K-State would be the better decision for him so he could increase his stock and gain more experience. There’s going to be at least three spots to fill on the defensive side of the ball.
2. Snyder’s uncertain future
I’m sure we will know this answer in the next few weeks, but head coach Bill Snyder’s future is still up in the air. The anticipation is killing many, myself included, and it could be something that could greatly alter the future of the Wildcats.
3. The amount of halftime adjustments they’ve gone through
The Wildcats should know what to expect from their team before going into the game, not playing them for a half and then realizing what they need to change.
Maybe it’s how Dana Dimel goes out with a bang, but the Cactus Bowl is a prime example of this. Why did it take so long to run the ball more frequently? There’s no doubt baker it that Thompson has a fantastic arm, but even with his arm they still should have been running it right out of the gate against one of the worst rushing defenses.
As the time progresses, fans can only hope that Snyder’s decision will be unveiled soon. We can only hope that the 2018 season will bring more Phil the Bobcat, better play calling, a tighter secondary and a strong defense.