This past Saturday in Kansas State's beatdown of former college powerhouse Miami (FL), quarterback Collin Klein threw for 210 yards and ran for 71 while accounting for four touchdowns. This earned him the honor of being named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, which was the second time in his career he has received this recognition.
Despite this he has somewhat been overshadowed this week by his backup, Daniel Sams, who ran for 47 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries in mop-up duty versus the Hurricanes. This followed up his performance in the home opener where he ran for 67 yards on three carries with one of those rushes being an exciting 46 yarder he took in for a touchdown. The redshirt freshman Sams has yet to throw a pass in college but in his six overall carries for the Wildcats he has exhibited extraordinary athleticism that has the fans and media alike dreaming big about his future.
During press conferences this week, head coach Bill Snyder has been peppered with questions regarding if the Wildcats might find a way to try and get Sams onto the field during more meaningful situations. As one could expect, Snyder was complimentary of Sams but in no way made it seem that he would be seen on the field at the same time as Klein.
While the thought of getting his best athletes on the field together at the same time has to be intriguing to Snyder and his staff he should definitely resist the urge to do so this season. Due to the defection of freshman quarterback Tavarius Bender from the program before the season, the Wildcats are dangerously thin at the quarterback position. If Klein were to go down with an injury at any point this year the only options behind him are Sams and walk-on Sam Johnson.
Even though Klein has shown that he is one tough SOB there is always the possibility that he can get injured, especially with the amount of punishment he takes in comparison to some other quarterbacks around the country. One would even have to assume that if Klein gets on pace for roughly the same amount of carries that he received last year he will miss at least a few snaps, if not a game or two, due to injury.
If Sams were to be inserted into some packages in the upcoming weeks to try and take advantage of his running ability, the Wildcats would essentially be putting their top two quarterbacks on the field risking injury at the same time. Somehow if Sams were to get injured then K-State would be one step away from handing the reins of a possible Top Ten squad over to a walk-on quarterback. Now in his defense, Johnson has the reputation of being a hard-working and intelligent player but the facts are he is a walk-on who spent last season leading the scout team.
In a perfect world for K-State fans and Coach Snyder, the Wildcats will open up a big early lead on North Texas this coming Saturday which will allow Sams to gain more valuable experience before conference play picks up. Once the conference season begins it is likely that Sams will have very few opportunities to play as there is not likely to be an easy Big 12 victory on the schedule, other than maybe Kansas.
It is tough for fans and coaches to know they have a talented player on their team who will likely use up a year of eligibility without receiving much playing time past the third week of the season. For the time being though Wildcat fans need to sit back and appreciate the play of Klein while knowing in the back of their mind they already have a reason to be excited for the next few years.