For now, one would hang a "C+" grade on the first half of the Wildcat season. They've won where they should have won, lost the game most believed they would have lost, and have split in the first two "swing games."
Quarterback Josh Freeman, and his offensive friends, get a solid "B" for the year. Only the lack of a consistent run game, when a run game is needed, prevents that side of the ball from getting an "A."
Overall, Freeman gets an "A", the wide receivers a "B" and the offensive line and running backs a "C."
"D"efensively, K-State gets just that. With compassion, it's a "D," with little hope of getting any better.
Simply put, you don't stick five or six first-year players to NCAA football on a defense and play Big 12 football. It's a "D" across the board as the Wildcats are not producing take-aways, and a "D" that's giving up multiple-multiple plays of 12 to 15 yards, and beyond, per game.
Giving up 38, 37, 58 and 30 points, and 577, 509, 626 and 544 yards in the last four games says it all.
Special teams play rates a solid "B." Brooks Rossman, like last year, is one of the league's premier place-kickers, and this year has consistently put balls in the end zone on kickoffs. Give Rossman an "A."
"B's" go to Deon Murphy and Aubrey Quarles, who have both been better than decent in punt and kickoff returns, respectively, but the punting game remains iffy. Give it a "C-."
Let's give coaching, like the team, a "C+." Making adjustments in the heat of competition continues to be lacking in any game where the Wildcats get behind.
To Prince's credit, however, early-season adjustments from preseason projections have been beneficial to the team.
Tysyn Hartman is proving to be one of K-State's best safeties after starting the year as third-team quarterback; Lamark Brown's move from wide receiver to running back appeared to be sound before his injury; and, the punter position had a short leash, and a change was made to D.J. Fulhage.
To reach postseason play, it's apparent that the Wildcats will proceed with very marginal senior leadership.
Against A&M, Campbell was the lone senior starter, to go along with 16 juniors, three sophomores, plus freshmen Logan Dold at running back and Brandon Harold at defensive end. Of the 15 junior college players who arrived on campus this year, eight – four on offense and four on defense – started against the Aggies.
The verdict is still out as to whether they're starting due to earlier failures in recruiting, or if they clearly are Big 12-type players.
That, in part, will determine where the end-of-year victory total will fall. Five? Six? Seven? Eight?