Ell On Wheels: QB Roberson Returns For UT Game

After missing two and a half games due to a wrist injury, Kansas State QB <B>Ell Roberson </B>is back in the lineup -- just in time for Texas. As the Longhorns prepare for the most lethal dual-threat signalcaller they will face all year, efforts to simulate in practice Roberson&#146;s speed is &quot;nearly impossible&quot;, head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>said Tuesday.

"They’ve got Ell back," Brown said. "Their identity is with Ell. He’s their team."

QB Vince Young was the Ell Roberson proxy last season en route to a 17-14 Texas win at Manhattan. While Young works against the first team D every week, scout team duties have been assigned to freshman WR Billy Pittman.

"Billy’s been great and he seems to have enjoyed playing quarterback for us in these roles," Brown said. "(No. 3 QB) Matt Nordgren helped last week, so the guys are really stepping in and doing a good job for us."

Roberson is the only player in K-State history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and pass for more than 2,000 yards as a Wildcat. Had the senior appeared in the NCAA mandated 75 percent of the games to qualify for statistical consideration, his 83.7 rushing ypg would lead the nation. (By comparison, Vince Young is averaging 61.3 rushing ypg, while his 12.3 ypc is more than double the nearest competitor.)

"He makes everything go," Brown said. "When you go into the game, you’ve got to know where he is on every play. And they do a great job of moving him and making it hard to find him."

Prior to his injury against McNeese State on Sept. 6, Roberson rushed for 251 yards and passed for 502 yards in nine quarters of play. Jeff Schwinn took over for Roberson the following week against Massachusetts. He completed 14 of 26 passes for 241 yards in Kansas State’s 27-20 home loss to Marshall, but fumbled twice and was also intercepted. The senior had seen action in just three games in his first three seasons at KSU, so with a make-or-break game against Texas (the loser is clearly out of the national title hunt and virtually eliminated from BCS contention) it comes as no surprise that Roberson has been pronounced healthy for the Longhorns.

"They do a great job of using multiple formations with the same plays to try to get mismatches," Brown said, "getting the ball to a really good player short but then using play-action to throw deep with a tall guy on a short guy, and (Roberson) has the ability to do all that. Plus, he should be really fresh because he hasn’t been hit in three weeks.

While it remains to be seen if Roberson will be back in playing form, the Wildcats bring one of the nation’s stoutest defenses plus come at you hard with headache-in-shoulder pads RB Darren Sproles.

"With their option and their play-action pass, they can really hurt you," CB Nathan Vasher said. "They can score some big plays deep, so we’re gonna hit the film really hard this week and prepare as best we can, to come out to practice and really focus here."

The Horns and Wildcats kickoff at 2:30 p.m. (Central) Saturday, at Royal-Memorial Stadium (ABC).

"This will be a great challenge for us to see how much we’ve really improved since Arkansas because the competition is going to be hard," Brown added.

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