KSU vs. Troy State Preview

<BR> So, are the No. 5/7 and 1-0 Wildcats ready to be much improved with a higher degree of focus for Saturday's 6:10 p.m. kickoff against 0-0 Troy State at KSU Stadium?<BR> <BR> Snyder's answer: "It's a hard group to read. I can' tell you yes, and I can't tell you no. I'm not sure where they're sitting and I didn't ask them."

KSU - Troy State Preview

Snyder is as interested in Kansas State's play Saturday as the rest of the Wildcat faithful.

While last week's 42-28 victory over California was never in real question, questions certainly presented themselves within that game.

So, are the No. 5/7 and 1-0 Wildcats ready to be much improved with a higher degree of focus for Saturday's 6:10 p.m. kickoff against 0-0 Troy State at KSU Stadium?

Snyder's answer: "It's a hard group to read. I can' tell you yes, and I can't tell you no. I'm not sure where they're sitting and I didn't ask them."

Also with a touch of wonderment about his football team is Trojan coach Larry Blakeney as his club prepares to open its season as nearly a 40-point underdog.

"Nobody in American will pick anything than what everybody expects," said Blakeney. "We just want to try to find a way to give our kids a chance. I know we're going to experience one of the best football teams in America across the field from us."

Of Troy State's game plan, Blakeney said that the Trojans must be efficient in "... its tackling and breaking of tackle and try to stay in the game going into the fourth quarter by burning clock."

The Trojans will rely on 6-foot-2, 202-pound junior Hansell Bearden at quarterback and 6-0, 218-pound junior DeWhitt Betterson at running back, plus junior wise receiver Jason Samples.

They, however, will be playing behind an offensive line that returns only one starter from last year in Branden Hall at right tackle.

When asked if a ball-control game fits the Trojans' style, Blakeney said, "We'll find out the answer to that on Saturday night. I would like to hope we could do some things that will make the game a little shorter against a team that is as explosive as Kansas State. The thing we would like to do is limit the number of their possessions and keep Ell on the sidelines as much as we can."

Bearden completed just 43 percent of his passes last year for 122 yards per game; Betterson rushed for 711 yards, averaging 7.0 yards per rush; and, Samples caught 45 passes for a 12.3 yard per catch average.

Blakeney knows his guys will be tested by a Kansas State defense that was embarrassed last week after giving up 28 point and 440 yards to Cal.

"Like most Big 12 teams they start with defense," Blakeney said. "They can all run and they play a scheme where they can devote as many as they need to the run and then in a passing situation, they will try to scatter out with you and try to take some of the deep seams away from you."

In facing Troy State, Snyder simply said, "They will not throw it as much as California did, so we will prepare for more of a two-back set."

The preparation will include looking at what Troy State has done through the years that, in Snyder's words, "... is tried, tested and proven over a long period of time, and what Wyoming did."

Wyoming enters the picture in that Trojan defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, a 1983 graduate of Kansas State, was the Cowboys head coach the last three years.

Whatever defense Troy State sends to the field, it will be tested by the Wildcats lethal 1-2 attack of quarterback Ell Roberson and running back Darren Sproles.

In last week's opener, the two combined for 320 out of KSU's 330 rushing yards, plus Roberson passed for another 205 yards.

"We are going to have to tackle Ell Roberson one-on-one and we are going to have to tackle Sproles," Blakeney said.

Of Roberson, he said, "They've wrapped him with a perfect package to employ his strengths"

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