Kansas State football coach Ron Prince announced to the media before announcing to the team that the true-freshman from Kansas City, Mo., would get his first career collegiate start this Saturday over the struggling senior Dylan Meier when the Wildcats (3-2 overall, 0-1 Big 12 Conference) play host to the Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-1, 0-0) at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Most of the players seemed baffled, including Freeman.
"Finding out from the media was a little awkward," Freeman said. "Normally the coach will sit you down and tell you before he announces it to the media. I was a bit puzzled when I heard it from them, and I was wondering if it was true or not."
He might not have been sure at the time, but his doubts were put to rest the next morning when he went to watch film. The coaches told him that he would be the starter and they also said that they were behind him 100 percent.
Freeman said the advantage to having him at quarterback over Meier is the threat of bringing a downfield passing game to the Wildcat offense, which would spread out the opposing defenses and open up more holes for the running game.
"That's part of the reason I'm running things is because just the threat of stretching people is going to allow us to do more things in our running game," Freeman said. "Coach Prince didn't put me in the driver seat so he could throttle the offense down. He's trying to boost it up and I think he's going to give me the keys to the offense - all the plays - everything."
Any boost would be a good boost for a team that ranks 88th in total offense and 82nd in scoring offense. The team has scored only nine points in its last two games, and Meier was pulled in both of those games for Freeman.
In the Baylor game, Freeman connected on a 68-yard pass to Yamon Figurs and a 55-yard bullet to Jermaine Moreira. Meier's longest completion of the season was a 44-yard touchdown pass to Moreira in the Marshall game, and about 30 of those yards came on nifty footwork from the receiver.
Freeman will not be coming in after halftime anymore, and he will begin the game with the rest of his teammates. He said he would be filling the butterflies before kickoff.
"There's always going to be jitters going into a game," he said. "If you don't have jitters before a game, the game obviously doesn't mean anything to you. I'd definitely say there's going to be a few jitters, but that should clear up pretty quick."
Coach Prince said this game is going to be about surrounding Freeman with the necessary weapons to put points on the board and outscore the Cowboys.
"We want to make sure that we have good support around him," Prince said. "Everybody around him has to play a clean game, and be very precise in what they do. I don't expect a quarterback to have to go in and win the game, just play well if you can and then in the fourth quarter be prepared to be a hero if necessary."
Prince also said that Freeman would be the starter for the "foreseeable future", so Meier will probably see little action for the time being.
In four games this season, Meier has completed only 50.7 percent of his passes, going 58-of-114 for 665 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
At times he looked as though he was unable to find open receivers, and continually threw the ball either at the feet of the receiver or over their heads. Meier was unavailable for comment during the weekly press conference or after Tuesday's practice when most of the players were made available to the media.