5 Off-Season Questions

With the coming of summer across the country, fans are left to ponder those questions that their athletic programs produced throughout the year. At Kansas State, Wildcat fans can enjoy the dog days of summer thinking about replacements in both football, basketball and baseball.

Alright, summer is here and that means tons of question marks to think over before Kansas State Athletics cranks back up. Every year when football is over and spring ball has wrapped up - another season - the waiting season begins. And so with hot days ahead - we break down a couple of the questions for Wildcat Fans everywhere to think about.

1- Who will replace Daniel Thomas?

Let's begin with football. Fall practices will be here soon enough and with it will bring new faces and new players that will don the Purple and White. One of the most important questions to begin with is who will replace the ultra-talented be now departed for the NFL Running Back Daniel Thomas?

You do not just go out and replace a guy like Daniel Thomas who weighs in at 6-foot-2 and 228 pounds of crushing, ankle breaking power and speed. A guy who can outrun you to the end-zone or run over you and carry you to the end-zone.

Thomas carried the Wildcat offense on his shoulders at times last year and the offense fed the 'Beast" early and often. Daniel was third in the country last season in carries (296), put up (19) Touchdowns which was good for fourth in the country and piled up 1,885 yards which was seventh best in the country and next year will be playing on Sundays.

2- Offensive Line or Just Offensive?

Daniel Thomas did not pile up all those yards without having an Offensive Line that opened holes for the talented running back to break through.

This year's version of the Wildcat Offensive Line will have to replace three starters on the interior of the OL for the 'Cats to continue to be able to ground and pound and eat up the clock. Many are looking Senior OL- Colten Freeze at 6-foot-4 and a shade over/under 300 pounds, depending on the day, to shore up one of the guard spots with relatively inexperienced Sophomore OL- Keenan Taylor out of Booker T. High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma to take over the other guard spot.

Who the third Offensive Lineman will be looks to be figured out in Fall Football Practices but with three new players on the interior line, look for there to be some transition issues to begin the season.

3- Let's shift gears to Baseball.

If ever there is a feel good story it is the story of third baseman Jason King. Losing his mother to cancer and facing adversity throughout his career at Kansas State due to injuries - the switch hitting Wildcat start was drafted this year in the fourth round by the Detroit Tigers.

A native of Dublin, Ohio - King underwent Tommy John surgery when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, sidelining him for the entire 2010 Kansas State season. For all the fathers out there- if you want to ponder an equation for facing personal adversity and the will to be successful and pass this on to your own children - look no farther than the story of Jason King.

This is a player who clearly shined on a baseball diamond and ultimately realized his goal to play Major League Baseball. What a great baseball player but what an even better person.

4- Can Coach Frank Martin Keep the Wildcats Rolling?

This is a tough question to answer but how can you root against Frank after what you witnessed last season. Sure he will be down arguably one of the best players to ever play basketball at K-State in Jacob Pullen but Coach Martin has directed the 'Cats to five seasons of 20 wins plus and he has done it his way. Not to wax all Frank Sinatra on the readers but for those of you who have seen Coach Martin work his magic at Bramlage - you know it is his way or the bench.

I look for Kansas State Basketball to continue rolling and the fans to again bring the noise. With players like C-Adrian Diaz, PF- Thomas Gipson, PG- Angel Rodriguez and homegrown shooting guard Nino Williams in the fold, I look for Coach Martin to do it his way and that is winning baby! Tickets went on sale June 20th so if you have not already- get your tickets now.

5- Who will step up for the Wildcats in Basketball this year?

When you lose a player like do everything Jacob Pullen it hurts. No question it hurts but you continue on and the next player in line steps up to take his place and to me, that player is sophomore guard Will Spradling.

Another home-grown talent that came to Manhattan by way of Shawnee South High School in Overland Park, Spradling played very well last season as a freshman and has continued to hone his game this summer en route to being named the MVP for Athletes in Action.

With Jacob Pullen gone next season, I look for Will to step up and take the reins of this team next year.


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