This week, our Q&A is with Jon Morse of Bring On the Cats, SB Nation’s Kansas State blog. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Jon!
1. For seemingly a decade, Collin Klein and Tyler Lockett were making impact plays for Kansas State, and both were able to beat Oklahoma in Norman. If K-State were to pull the upset again this year, who would be the most likely players to make that happen?
We've been waiting for WR Byron Pringle to really have a breakout game, but for K-State to win Saturday it's probably going to require the defense scoring some points. Luckily, half the defense has already proven they're capable of that, so...
2. Jesse Ertz seems to fit the mold of the Kansas State quarterback. In what ways does he differ from his predecessors? Is there anything that sets him apart?
He's not been very accurate so far, except for two halves against really bad teams. A prototypical Snyder quarterback doesn't necessarily need to complete a lot of passes, but he's got to complete most of the ones he attempts. That said, Ertz may be the *fastest* quarterback Snyder's had since Michael Bishop.
3. Overall, Kansas State’s defense has played very well this season. To what can that be attributed? Is it the coaching staff, the leadership, the talent on the field, or a bit of all three?
Combination of leadership and talent, with a good amount of togetherness mixed in. Most of these guys were there last year, and some are three-year starters. They've got experience together, as a unit, and that's always a big deal in college football.
4. Discussing the defense further, who are some of the impact players in the unit that Sooner fans should keep an eye on?
I'm not exaggerating when I say "pretty much all of them". Jordan Willis and Will Geary wreak havoc on the line. Elijah Lee and Charmeachealle Moore are deadly on the blitz as well as effective in short coverage. Duke Shelley's a heck of a corner cover -- one of the few Wildcats who actually had a *good* game against the Sooners in Manhattan last year. And you're more than familiar with Dante Barnett by now. Also, keep an eye on nickel back Donnie Starks, who's very quietly a backbone of the defense.
5. What is the average Kansas State fan’s impression of Oklahoma and its fans? Living in Oklahoma, you obviously have a unique perspective on the matter.
This is a very strange question for me to answer, because things have changed so much. We actually have three different waves of fans with very different impressions of Oklahoma. There's the old people, who hate OU because they lived through years of humiliating beatdowns on the reg. There's folks who are in their late thirties, early forties, who remember a short window when K-State absolutely owned the Sooners and thus don't really care that much. And then there's younger fans who have basically lived through however long a period of K-State losing a lot to Oklahoma, but it usually being a pretty tight and competitive game, last year notwithstanding. That group, I think, has a lot of grudging respect for the Sooners.
Your fans, on the other hand... well, let's just say the agitation to either get your way or get out of the conference has rubbed folks the wrong way.
As for me personally? I'm okay with OU, although one of these days I might end up in jail due to someone's Boomer Sooner ringtone...
6. Do you think Kansas State has a shot to keep the streak in Norman going, and why?
It's all going to depend on the defense. OU has been sketchy on offense thus far, so there's a very real opportunity for K-State to make this game look a lot like West Virginia. And OU's defense has been even more sketchy than the offense, meaning there's also a chance for K-State to score, although I'm not putting money on it. This will either be a close game, with either side having an equal shot to win, or it's going to be another blowout like last year. I certainly don't see option D happening.