Injuries, Rotation and New Starters

It's a semi-given in football that teams need to run the ball to be successful. With Texas Tech being an exception, more times than not, the run sets up the pass making for a balanced offense.

p> With that in mind, it's easy to see why Kansas State's total offense of 215 yards per Big 12 game ranks last in the league as the Wildcats' run game has produced just 28.5 yards against Oklahoma and Kansas.

That's 28.5 yards per game!

That's 77 total rushes for 57 total yards, or .7 yards per snap, and just one touchdown by ground against Oklahoma and Kansas.

"It's not as discouraging as it might seem because I know we can do it. We did it at the beginning of the season," said running back Thomas Clayton. "We need better execution and to eliminate mistakes, and then the offense will move smoothly."

Yes, Clayton understands that the competition is now much tougher, but he reasons, "If we did it once, we can do it again."

Personally, Clayton said he still has confidence.

"I'm a strong-willed person," Clayton said. "I know all the running backs are the same in that we have confidence that those guys up front will get the job done."

But recently, the creases have been miniscule.

"Not as many as I would like," Clayton admitted, flashing a smile, when asked about the holes that are being provided. "But I'm sure they will open up."

Against Oklahoma, Clayton had 12 rushes for a gain of 8 net yards: 3, 1, 2, -3, 2, 0, 2, 3, -4, 0, 2, 0.

Against Kansas, he had 16 carries for a net 13 yards: 0, 1, -5, 1, 4, 3, -4, -1, 4, -2, 6, 1, -3, 7, 2, -1.

"There's no way we're ever going to finger point," Clayton said in reference to the line play.

But yes, Clayton is surprised at his numbers, and the team's statistics.

"I still don't think I can be shut down if we're playing as a cohesive unit. If it's all clicking, I can't be shut down. I'm sure the offensive line will get it together."

Clayton acknowledges that injuries have been a factor with at least five linemen missing a portion, or all, of the 2005 season through preseason workouts and the first five games of the year.

"We've had some injuries, so a lot of guys have had to step up," Clayton said. "But by the same token, they should have been ready from the beginning because they practice everyday. They went into this knowing that there's a possibility that they could play at any given time. But I think they're shaping up."

Coach Bill Snyder said it's as simple as continuing to get better in terms of playing technique sound football, and with a better focus of playing penalty-free football.

"We don't possess the amount of discipline that is necessary in order to stay focused on not making mistakes. We haven't gotten that portion of it corrected yet," Snyder said. "Against Kansas, we had nine penalties on offense and six of those nine were drive-stoppers that altered the field position."

Snyder added, "I think we're physical enough up front, I think we move well enough up front, and I think we block well enough up front. But we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot."

What Snyder says what he hasn't seen, and doesn't want to see, is the defense getting down on the offense.

"You always have to guard against that in any year," Snyder said. "Our philosophy for our defense is to hold teams to fewer points than our offense scores, and our philosophy on offense is to score more points than the opponent."

He said that didn't matter if it was a 55-54 win, or a 2-0 win.

"I think the players have that kind of respect for each other."
Evridge in, Meier likely out

When asked if it would be Allan Evridge at quarterback Saturday, Snyder said, "Probably so ... that will probably take place."

If so, Evridge would be the first freshman to start at quarterback since Darrell Dickey in 1979.

The Wildcat coach also said Dylan Meier will likely be given a medial redshirt after not totally responding to shoulder surgery this past December.

"I see some progress being made, but not enough to get him on the field. But he's making headway," Snyder said. "We're getting pretty close to the time of the year where it will probably be a year where he does not play."
How's Webb handling it?

Allen Webb started Kansas State's first five games, but against Kansas, was pulled after just two series after fumbling a snap and throwing an interception.

On losing his starting assignment, Snyder said, "I think he's going to handle it fine. He understands he made some mistakes that he needs to get corrected and will work diligently to do exactly that."

On the same subject, Evridge said, "Allen and I, we talk. We always try to get better. He's a great athlete, a great competitor, so I'm sure whatever happens, he'll be alright. We're both in each other's corners."

Snyder said that John Hafferty was going through practices, but his offensive line teammate Matt Boss had not returned to the field.

Both suffered right knee injuries — Boss against North Texas and Hafferty against Kansas.

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