Wildcat Offense One Dimensional?

In tough times, Kansas State has returned to its 2007 offensive form in being singular in moving the football. It's by air, or, by air. The Wildcats know that has to change with the Big 12 season just one week away.

Offensive lineman Gerard Spexarth says, "I think we can pass on anybody, but if we can run the ball, we'll be dynamic."

In the only game against a quality opponent, which was Louisville, Kansas State was unable to run the ball with 12 carries netting 30 yards.

Of those, Josh Freeman scrambled twice for a total of 15 yards and Tysyn Hartman gained seven out of a fake-punt situation.

That leaves fellow offensive lineman Nick Stringer to say on the running game, "It hasn't been where it needs to be."

With four of the same linemen back from a year ago - Alesana Alesana, Brock Unruh, Jordan Bedore, and Spexarth - plus Stringer, who had starting experience in 2006, Kansas State would seem to be stronger than ever.

But in all honesty, many of the rushing yards in the North Texas and Montana State games came in mop-up time, and against Louisville the yards didn't come at all.

"You can't always perfectly emulate a game situation (in practice)," Spexarth said. "The first two weeks, we were able to see what the weaknesses were, so we went out in practice and tried to fix them."

But against Louisville, the line remained broken.

With how close the o-line plays to the ball, and the d-line, as well, coach Ron Prince says, "It really is a game of inches. Offensive line play is so precise, so slight, and that begins with the footwork. You coach football from the ground up, and then it's a whole progression of things. The reality is, you're never going to be perfect. It's what's so challenging about the position, but when you get it right, it's really cool."

There wasn't anything cool about the line play against the Cardinals. Freeman led the Wildcats in rushing and only one designed rushing play gained more than four yards, and the offense was unable to sustain any type of drives with 18:34 of possession time.

Real problems, coach?

"I think they're real," Prince said. "I'm not an alarmist, and I believe we're going to get better, but or attention can't be any more keen than now."

The Wildcats next opportunity to demonstrate a needed running game will come Saturday in a 2:45 p.m. start at Bill Snyder Family Stadium against Louisiana-Lafayette.

After that, it's the rugged Big 12 slate starting with Texas Tech in a 2:30 p.m. ABC televised game.


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