OSU-Kansas State Scouting Report

Kansas State head football coach Ron Prince must have been paying close attention on the day his college marketing teacher lectured on how change is good. The Junction City, Kan., native and Appalachian State graduate is part of a group of 10 players that played under App State head coach Jerry Moore who are now coaching in the NFL or Division I college football.

Back to change is good. Prince has made changes heading into the Wildcats' second Big 12 game of the season after the 17-3 road loss to Baylor last weekend.

The biggest of the changes is the move at quarterback to heralded freshman Josh Freeman out of Kansas City (Grandview), Mo. The 6-6, 238-pound Freeman was one of the top-rated high school quarterbacks in the nation last year and made the trip to the Elite 11 Camp. Now in the sixth game of his true freshman season he has been handed the keys to the car.

Prince says he knows Freeman well having started evaluation on him during his junior season while Prince was coaching and recruiting at Virginia. Freeman is going to be a good one, but right now still throws across his body to the other side of the field, throws balls into coverage, and takes chances that worked in high school but won't most of the time in college.

This week he is joined by four other true or redshirt freshmen in the starting lineup on offense, including Dallas (W.T. White) freshman Leon Patton at running back. Patton, who has rushed for 57 yards on the season and had three carries for seven yards against Baylor, replaces senior Thomas Clayton. Prince says it is a performance issue as Clayton fumbled inside the Baylor 15-yard line last week. There are unsubstatiated reports that Clayton and other older Wildcats feel the youth movement is mortgaging their senior season.

Problems in Manhattan or not, Freeman has a strong arm and ample targets in speedsters Yamon Figurs, Jordy Nelson and Jermaine Moreira. Another target is tight end Rashaad Norwood with 20 receptions. Offensive line has been a problem and will no doubt be under pressure from a veteran and talented OSU defensive front. The good aspect overall with the KSU offense is they are not as formation- and scheme-happy as the Houston offense that confused younger OSU defenders and caused a poor tackling night two weeks ago.

On defense Kansas State has found plenty of answers since the summer as Ian Campbell and Eric Childs have developed into very good book-ends. Campbell leads the Big 12 in tackles for loss and is second in sacks. Childs isn't far behind on the sack chart. Former OSU wrestler Blake Seiler couldn't get a shot at heavyweight for Cowboy head coach John Smith in Stillwater but is entrenched at defensive tackle for the Wildcats.

At linebacker Brandon Archer and middle man Zach Diles are veteran and talented. The secondary has given up some big plays but free safety Marcus Watts may not be the guy you want to test. He and Justin McKinney, a cornerback, have tons of speed.

Special teams are a mixed bag. The return game is sensational -- as is the punt block and punt coverage. The punt unit is average. Kicker Jeff Snodgrass isn't bad. The kick coverage unit is below average.

Trouble or not, new coaching staff aside, Kansas State is still a tough place to play. Oklahoma State hasn't won there since 1988 when Barry Sanders, Mike Gundy and Hart Lee Dykes were playing. This is a great opportunity but a less than strong effort and the Cowobys will return home with a Big 12 opener loss and immediate ground to make up toward the team's goals this season.

GoPokes Top Stories