In a phrase, Carson Coffman says of his abilities from last year to this season, "I'm stronger, faster, and I hope better. I've prepared to be in this position for a long time. I'm excited."
Asked to convince the K-State fans that he's ready to be "the man" in the Wildcat offense, Coffman replied, "I have the confidence I can do the job. I have that God-given ability to play football. I hope to let my play convince the fans that I can play."
"No decision has been made," the Wildcat head coach said of the quarterback position. "Every time one starts to pull away, he finds his way back to the pack, or the pack tends to close the gap. I would say on any given day, it's pretty equal at this point in time."
Both have improved, Snyder said, "... but not enough, or as consistently for one to firmly establish himself over the other."
Snyder called Gregory perhaps a better runner, while Coffman is the better passer.
He added, "Both of them are pretty estute and are trying to be good students of the game."
Coffman (6-3, 212, Jr) quarterbacked his Raymore-Peculiar High School team to consecutive unbeaten seasons in 2004 and 2005 when he passed for 3,196 yards and 42 scores.
After redshirting in 2006 at K-State, he played in mop-up duty in four games in 2007 and six more last year when he completed 25 of 41 passes for 282 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
"From a knowledge standpoint, he's worlds ahead in learning the new system," said offensive coordinator Del Miller. "Technically, he's made pretty good improvement in the summer with his decision making."
Miller calls Coffman, the son of former KSU tight end Paul Coffman, a mixture of past quarterbacks Jonathan Beasley and Chad May.
"He's not a Michael (Bishop) or an Ell (Roberson), but we've won with different kinds of quarterbacks," Miller said. "You just adapt to the people you have. That's what coaching is all about."
Coffman picked up an off-season challenger when Gregory (6-1, 210, Sr) transferred from South Florida, where he served as a career backup to 10,000-yard thrower Matt Grothe.
"He's made the position pretty wide open," Miller said. "He gives us an experienced leader, plus another guy who was raised by a dad who was an offensive coordinator and knows about the intangibles of the game. He's also a tough guy."
Of his new rival, Coffman said, "I'm competitive, so I'm glad he's here. He will be keeping me on my toes and will bring the best out of me."
Gregory admits that he has a ton to learn, but starting with his arrival in June "... I've stuck my nose in, watched as much film as possible to learn about this offense."
How close is he to starting status?
"Not as close as I want to be. I'm very critical of myself and understand I have a lot to learn," Gregory said. "I want plays just to click. I don't want to have to think about them."
That, he knows, will take time.
Yet another new quarterbacking candidate is Daniel Thomas, who will likely be limited to a package of plays as a quarterback while concentrating more on being a running back.
"Daniel is a big young man who can run for sure," Miller said. "He's not exactly like Michael and Ell, but he's a very talented athlete."
Overall, Miller said, "I think we have good skilled people. Carson is No. 1, but it's going to be a competitive fall. It's not clear-cut, and Carson knows that. The other two are going to make Carson a better quarterback, or somebody will pass him by. That's what you want at all positions."
"Joe and Collin have both done reasonably well, but haven't progressed at the same level as the other two," Snyder said.
QUARTERBACK TWO-DEEP CANDIDATES
Carson Coffman, 6-3, 212, Jr, Peculiar, Mo.
Grant Gregory, 6-1, 210, Sr, Athens, Ohio
Joseph Kassanavoid, 6-5, 239, Fr, Lawson, Mo.
Collin Klein, 6-5, 231, Fr, Loveland, Colo.
Trey Scott, 6-2, 205, Soph, Shawnee, Kan.