‘Knocking on wood’: Football team COVID-19 situation looks grim, Klieman optimistic

Kansas State Wildcats played the West Virginia Mountaineers at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 16, 2019 (File photo by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State football team continues to recover from a COVID-19 outbreak last week while they try to prepare for Saturday’s date with Iowa State.

“We don’t have enough guys to shift around,” head coach Chris Klieman said. “We’re playing with the guys that we have and just knocking on wood that we are able to get through Wednesday’s tests, which will come back Thursday, and Friday’s test.”

Last week, Klieman said the team was down around 20 members and added they were mostly younger guys. He said it strongly impacted his scout team.

The Big 12 Conference requires teams to have 53 players, seven offensive linemen, four interior defensive linemen and one quarterback available for each game. It is unclear at the time of publishing where K-State stands in relation to those numbers.

“We’re just down so many guys at certain spots that we can’t even move people,” Klieman said. “I’m just knocking on wood that we get good results here in the next week.”

Klieman also gave an update on injured senior tight end Briley Moore.

“He’s getting closer. He hasn’t put on pads yet, but he’s been running around a little bit so I’m more optimistic. It might be a game-time decision,” Klieman said.

With sophomore tight end Sammy Wheeler out for the year with an injury he sustained against Oklahoma State, the Wildcats are thin at the position already.

COVID-19 and injuries aside, K-State continues to prepare for one of the Big 12’s better teams in No. 17 Iowa State.

The Cyclones sit at the top of the Big 12 at 5-1 in conference play. Like K-State, Iowa State dropped their season opener to a team from the Sunbelt Conference.

“It’s a veteran club that is playing at a really high level. They have talent at both offense and defense,” Klieman said. “We have to come up with some really good game plans and have to play error-free, disciplined football to be able to give ourselves a chance to be able to be successful.”

K-State is coming off of back-to-back losses, but if they were to win the next three games, they can lock up a spot in the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington, Texas.

“That’s always the main goal: playing in the Big 12 Championship,” sophomore defensive back Ekow Boye-Doe said.

K-State plays Iowa State with kick off at 3:00 p.m. in Ames, Iowa. The game can be seen on Fox.

Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, an alumnus from Olathe, Kansas. I graduated in spring 2022 with a Masters in Mass Communication, and I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. I covered K-State sports for the Collegian for four years.