Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kansas State Wildcats 2010 Review

2010 Record: 7-6 (3-5), Tied 3rd Big 12 North
2010 Bowl Game: Pinstripe Bowl, Lost to Syracuse 36-34
2010 Schedule/Results: UCLA, W 31-22, Missouri State, W 48-24, Iowa State, W 27-20, Central Florida, W 17-13, Nebraska, L 48-13, @ Kansas, W 59-7, @ Baylor, L 47-42, Oklahoma State, L 24-14, Texas, L W 39-14, @ Missouri, L 38-28, @ Colorado, L 44-36, @ North Texas, W 49-41, Syracuse, L 36-34


    The Wildcats had to go on the offensive in 2010, as their defense was in a constant state of flux, especially in the final month of the season, where the defense completely imploded. We'll get to that in a moment. But first, let's take a look at the offense.
     Nobody is ever going to confuse Carson Coffman with some of the better QBs to ever play at K State. That being said, it was Coffman's job to go out and find ways not to lose, rather than forcing him to run out and win ball games for the Wildcats. When it camr to that, he did a credibly good job. Coffman passed for 2060 yards and 14 TDs on the season, with 7 picks, which was a very manageable number. The QB spot has been a jumbled mess for a few years now, and with Coffman moving on, it's going to be interesting to see if inexperienced Collin Klein will be the guy to get it done. We know that he can run, as he was the second leading rusher on the team with 432 yards and 6 TD's, but his passing has not been on display yet.
     Another spot that will need to be rebuilt in 2011 will be at RB, after K State legend Daniel Thomas moves on. Thomas was everything that the Cats needed him to be, and he often carried this team on his shoulders. Thomas rushed for 1585 yards on the season with 19 TDs. Those are very difficult numbers to replace, and so don't be shocked to see a committee approach next season. Thomas averaged 5.32 yards per carry in 2010 on298 carries. It's a wonder, after all of that work, that his legs didn't fall off at the end of the season.
     Only one receiver stood ot in 2010, and that was Aubrey Charles, who was also a senior. Charles rolled out a line of 52-765-5, and averaged 14.71 yards per reception on the season. Not one other receiver caught more than 28 passes on the year.
     Now, let's take a look at the defense. It wasn't all bad, but it sure looked that way by the end of the season. The Wildcats gave up 36 or more points in each of their final four games, including the bowl loss to Syracuse. Their record in those games was 1-3. By stark contrast, their first four games presented a time when nobody scored more than 24. Their record there? 4-0. And by the way, the competition was about the same as far as difficulty.
     By the end of the year, the defense had gotten vandalized for 441.3 yards per game, including a staggering 229.1 yards per game on the ground. That's something that needs to be examined closely this spring, as a repeat could demolish the Cats in 2011.
     The good news is that the top 5 tacklers from 2010 (David Garrett, Tsysn Hartman, Alex Hrebec, Ty Zimmerman, and Jarell Childs) are all set to return, and they encompass every area with exception to the line. Garrett was the leader with 92 tackles on the season. Garrett, who is a DB, also led the team in TFLs with a rock solid 15, a rare feat for a DB on any team. Nobody else finished close to double digits behind the line. The Wildcats collected 20 sacks on the season, with 5 coming from Prizell Brown, but nobody else was a dominating factor up front, and that being said, is a prime focus on where to start the fix.
     Stephen Harrison and Hrebec were the team leaders in pass breakups at 12 and 10 respectively, Garrett the Machine, had 9 more. The secondary got hit up for 213 yards per game passing, but they were an active group despite the number, and they did a better job defending the pass than the front 7 did against the run. Here was the problem. Zimmerman led the team with only 3 picks. No ballhawks or playmakers in the group that could turn the ball the other way.
     The Wildcats only attempted 11 FGs all season long. Josh Cherry attempted 9 of them, and connected on 7. There isn't much to take from that, but his accuracy was solid for having worked so little. Ryan Doerr averaged 41.32 yards per punt, and having been a sophomore, will look to expand on his abilities in 2011. The defense can use his help in pinning people back.
     William Powell was a guy that you did not want to kick off to. Powell was a demon on returns, having averaged 34.57 yards per return with one taken all the way in  for a score. The bad news is that Powell is gone now, and the Cats will have to find someone nearly as dynamic this spring.


The Wildcats turned a corner this season, but the problem is, with so many frontline stars leaving, one has to wonder why it took this group the time that it did to gel, and then you have to wonder why it all fell apart at the end of the season. Now one has to wonder how the Wildcats can rebuild at so many key spots in 2011. There are many question marks for this team, including the discipline, as the emotional salute in the Pinstripe Bowl lost the Wildcats the game when points were lost. If I had to assess what will go on next season right now, I would have to say that I have a better chance of winning a Nobel Prize than KSU has of winning the Big 12, and my outlook on their bowl chances is very low indeed.

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