Seth C: Not surprisingly, Kansas State is pretty much right down the middle in terms of passing offense and rushing offense. What's the motor that makes the KSU offense run and whoever it is, I would like to take them out for dinner on Saturday night, say around 6 pm for a nice dinner.
Jon Morse: Really, it's Jake Waters. If he and Tyler Lockett are in sync, you get Michigan. If they're not, but he's clicking with Curry Sexton, you get the part of the offense that actually worked against Auburn. If the passing game's just not there, you get Iowa State.
That said, the key to it all is Lockett, because he's been occupying two defenders most of the year, and I'm sure you grasp the implications of that.
Seth C: What is a bit surprising is that Kansas State is in the top 25 or so in terms of scoring. Why the discrepancy with the offensive production and the scoring? Is this the power of Tyler Lockett who allegedly scores on every single special teams play ever?
Jon Morse: There are two keys to why K-State's actually scoring more points than you'd think they would. One is that they've had pretty good starting field position, and more specifically they've done a good job of cashing in when they have *really* good starting field position. The whoopsie three-and-outs tend to come when there's a long field ahead of them anyway. The other is Charles Jones, who's scored nine touchdowns in four games out of the Wildcat. It took the staff a bit to realize this, but since Waters is not Collin Klein, they had to look elsewhere for that "We're on the three, let's score" sure thing. Jones has been nails in this role so far.
Seth C: Ryan Mueller is having a relatively quiet year, but dat run defense is just terrific. What's the story behind the run defense being simply outstanding this year?
Jon Morse: The guys lining up with Mueller have performed much better than his cohorts did last year, for one. Jordan Willis is quietly having a fantastic season, and Travis Britz has developed as we expected him to. The second factor is the back seven. The linebackers are playing better than they did as a unit last year, and the safeties have more than adequately replaced the beloved Ty Zimmermann. And then there's cornerback Danzel McDaniel, who, well, is just a beast whether it's a true pass play or a screen/run
Seth C: Jake Waters has been incredibly consistent this year in terms of passing the ball and sits right there with about 260 yards a game with a 62% completion rate. Waters isn't flashy, he simply gets the job done. Is Waters overlooked too much? He's almost Collin Kleinesque, not quite the rusher, but a better passer, and obviously a heck of a leader. Are we not appreciating him enough?
Jon Morse: You may remember that when we last met, there was a raging battle among the EMAW faithful over Waters, with people still griping about the lack of snaps Daniel Sams was getting. That pretty much died down once and for all with the bowl game, but Waters is still disrespected in some quarters. Not so much Waters himself, I suppose, as whether he's really suited for the offense; I guess for some reason we've been infected with the same strain of Michiganitis that resulted in Rich Rodriguez being run out of Ann Arbor for daring to run an offense that wasn't Michigan enough.
But, look; Waters can run the offense. There was initially a hue and cry over his decision to check out of a running play to throw the pass which bounced off Lockett's chest for an interception against Auburn, but TB analyzed that play and it was absolutely the correct decision on his part.
So some people don't appreciate him enough, but in total I think he gets the correct amount of love.
Seth C: We've talked a bit before about Bill Snyder and that he can't coach forever. At least the rest of the conference hopes that is the case. We're another year down the road and Snyder really doesn't look like he is slowing down at all. How long do you expect him to continue to coach (for VTM readers, Snyder is 74 and will be 75 on Sunday -- Happy Birthday!)?
Jon Morse: There's a good bit of expectation that John Currie's decision to ink a home-and-home with Mississippi State for 2018-19 is sort of a signpost here. There are a lot of folks who note that 2018 is after the end of Snyder's most recent contract extension, and assume that he won't ever stand on the sideline across from an SEC team again unless it's in the postseason. And I think I'm probably in that camp, although I hesitate to really try and get into the brain of such an inscrutable figure.
On the other hand, I will guarantee you that Snyder intends to stick around long enough to earn his 200th win. So I would suspect that even the long-term best-case scenario is this year's freshman class is the end. He'll stick around long enough to see them through, and then he's off to Bimini or whatever.
Seth C: This is a strange question, but in my job, I deal with competency all of the time, whether or not a person is or is not competent to sign a Will or things like that. That moment may never come for Snyder, but how is anyone going to tell Snyder that "it's time for him" or that he needs to step away? And the reason why I ask is that a lot of times, that's really hard for a person to have that self-realization that they need to step away.
Jon Morse: Of course, Snyder already had that self-realization once, and got talked into coming back. I'm not too worried about him realizing it's time. What I, and everyone else, is actually worried about is the succession plan, because he's made it pretty clear he'd really really really like for a Snyder to be the head coach at K-State for another 30 years or so, and we really really really aren't enthused about that idea. Never mind that K-State's special teams have been pretty shoddy; Sean Snyder hasn't run a program anywhere. If he'd spent the last three years as the head coach at even some FCS program and been successful, it would be different.
Seth C: The Kansas State pass defense has been incredibly consistent this year as well, but hasn't really played a true passing team other than Stephen F. Austin (I can't remember if they are still a pass-happy team or if they have adjusted with a new head coach). Who should Texas Tech fans look out for in the secondary, especially since Ty Zimmerman graduated.
Jon Morse: We already warned you about McDaniel, who isn't necessarily a lights-out blanket cover guy -- good, but not spectacular yet -- but your receivers are going to know they've met him. His partner, if healthy, is Morgan Burns, who's a little shaky but is effective enough that when he went down midway through the Auburn game his absence was felt. The safeties are pretty good too. Travis Green has blossomed into a hard-hitting beast, and Dante Barnett has filled Zimmermann's shoes pretty effectively. If there's a flaw there, it's that Barnett doesn't seem to captain the defense quite as well as Ty did, but obviously it's working out okay.
Thanks to Jon for helping us out and answering some questions about the Kansas State Wildcats. You can follow Jon on the Twitter and he ain't afraid to have some hot sports opinions about the Royals and Division II and Division III football.