K-State wants to be more balanced

Everyone knows K-State can pass, but now the Wildcats hope to find the lost running game and be more balanced on offense. It might just start with the play of the offensive line.

The passing game has been effective for Kansas State in the last month when sophomore Dylan Meier is at quarterback, but the running game has been almost non-existent for the Wildcats over the same time.

And this weekend, it doesn't look to get much better with Nebraska coming to town.

For all Nebraska's struggles this season, the Cornhuskers are No. 2 against the run.

The Wildcats seem to either run the ball for 300 yards and not pass or pass for 300 yards and not run.

But despite that, K-State head coach Bill Snyder said Tuesday that it's not his intent to be so one-dimensional.

"As much as anything (it has to do with what the opposing team's defense is doing)," he said. "Honestly, it's not the intent to go into a ballgame and say ‘all we're going to do is throw it, or all we're going to do is run it.' It will always be our intent to carry as much of a balanced offense as we possibly can into any ballgame that we play. And we practice that way.

"Our offense is divided up. Fifty percent of the time we work on the run and 50 percent of the time we work on the pass. If we were going to attempt to move in one direction or the other then we would devote that kind of time to it. If I thought we were going to throw the ball 75 percent of the time, we would spend 75 percent of our practice time working on the pass, and we don't. The game takes you in a particular direction."

But more than just looking one-dimensional, senior running back Darren Sproles hasn't been getting the carries or the yards, which has almost definitely erased any chance of competing for the Heisman Trophy this season.

Though six games, Sproles has 718 yards and just two touchdowns. But he hasn't eclipsed the 100-yard mark in any of the last three games, dating back to the 292 yard effort against Louisiana Lafayette Sept. 18.

Snyder said he's sure Sproles has been frustrating, but that it's because he wants to be able to help the team win and it's not about his personal numbers.

"I don't think he wears his heart on his sleeve," he said. "Of course he can be frustrated, but I think he just wants so badly to be able to help this football team. If his numbers are not substantial, then he envisions that, I'm sure, that he isn't providing as much help as he can.

"It's purely unselfish on his part, but I'd say he has some frustration. When he does come and tug on my sleeve to get into the game, it doesn't have anything to do with the numbers, it's ‘I can help us, I see this, and I see that.' I listen to him and pay attention to him."

Senior center Mike Johnson attributes some of issues with the running game to timing between Sproles and the offensive line.

"It's hard to say, sometimes it's just the timing," he said. "This offensive line is maybe not as fast, or we may have a little different timing in how we open holes up, so it's hard to say."

Junior offensive lineman Jeromey Clary said he thinks the offensive line has lost of the leadership from a year ago and that some of the younger guys might be leaning on the veterans as much as guys did in the past.

"We have some newcomers and some guys who haven't played much," he said. "We also don't have the leadership of Nick Leckey and Ryan Lilja. I really can't put a finger on it. Leckey definitely helped me out and I respected Leckey a lot. I don't know if the younger guys are looking up to Jon Doty, Mike Johnson and myself as we did to Leckey and Lilja."

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