Each week of the football season, Bevo Beat will interview a reporter who covers Texas’ upcoming opponent. Ken Corbitt, Kansas State beat writer for the Topeka Capital-Journal, answered five questions about the Wildcats. Follow him @KenCorbitt. Saturday’s game kicks off at 11 a.m. from Manhattan.
Q: Entering this season, Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett were arguably the Big 12’s best QB-WR combo. Today, are they even the best QB-WR combo on their team? Curry Sexton is having an outstanding year (team-leading 36 receptions).
A: Curry Sexton is a do-everything receiver who can play the outside or inside slots and is especially valuable on third-down plays. He may be underestimated due to his size but he has the toughness to go over the middle and athletic ability, as he showed with a one-handed touchdown catch against Texas Tech. When K-State needed a first down to seal the win against Oklahoma, the ball went to Sexton. Still, Lockett is the explosive, big-play guy who can score from anywhere and, as Sexton says,”16 is the go-to guy.”
Q: Former standout QB Collin Klein returned to KSU this year as assistant director of recruiting/defensive quality control. Seems like a lot of grunt work. Does Klein aspire to be a coach?
A: Collin Klein gave it his best shot to play in the pros, getting a tryout with the Houston Texans and Montreal in the CFL. He is now committed to being the best coach he can be. It began with conducting youth clinics around the state and now starting at the bottom at K-State. Jake Waters can’t say enough about how Klein has helped him this year, watching film and looking for defensive tendencies and how he approached different situations. He has the work ethic, personality and certainly the credentials to make a fine coach.
Q: Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has made a living recruiting junior college players. Why is he such a believer in this? Has his philosophy on this evolved over time?
A: The junior college recruiting philosophy was enhanced by the strong programs in the state of Kansas and has expanded to schools in Texas, Arizona and California. It’s a quick-fix to bring in experienced players to fill holes, and like anything it is hit and miss. The last couple of years, it seems it takes the majority of the juco transfers a year in the system to get acclimated and make an impact, with exceptions like Jake Waters at quarterback a year ago and cornerback Danzel McDaniel and offensive guard Luke Hayes this year. They were able to enroll at the semester break and go through spring ball before their first season, which helped them move into starting roles.
Q: Who is the one player on Kansas State that flies under the radar but shouldn’t?
A: Linebacker Dakorey Johnson. He’s one of the juco guys who came in last season but didn’t get much playing time. He began this season No. 2 on the depth chart at inside linebacker but made his first start against Auburn and brought more speed and athleticism to the defense. He has 22 tackles, 14 unassisted, with 5.5 tackles for losses.
Q: Aside from Kansas, Kansas State will play six solid to excellent opponents to end the year. What will qualify as a good season in Manhattan?
A: It’s a tough closing stretch with three of the final four games at TCU, at West Virginia and at Baylor. Although the Wildcats lost to Auburn, expectations rose with a close loss when they made so many mistakes. A road win at Oklahoma was huge and they should stay in the Big 12 title picture down to the end, which is all you can ask with that schedule. When the season began I thought this would be an 8-4 team, 9-3 at best, but once again K-State is looking at a chance for double-digit wins and one of the conference’s top bowl games.