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Walker’s Absence Could Be Critical For Kansas State Wildcats Defense

Scott Sewell-US PRESSWIRE

The 8-0 Kansas State Wildcats will have to function without junior linebacker Tre Walker today against the 5-2, #24 BCS ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys.

On Tuesday, the Kansas City Star cited Walker as “out indefinitely”, after suffering a season-ending knee injury last weekend against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. This is a fairly substantial blow to the defense, largely due to the numbers Walker put up for the Wildcats this season, including 19 tackles – 16 of which, were at home.

While I suspect the offense will take care of business on their end, the defense goes into today’s match up already allowing 17.1 points per game, which is fairly substantial for an undefeated team. Walker was not only a playmaker for the Wildcats, he was also a leader, and with the K-State linebacker position wearing thin, I see where the sixth ranked in passing Cowboys are going to have an advantage.

There are a couple of options for the front seven right now. Sophomore Jonathan Truman, and Senior Blake Slaughter. Truman played in all 13 games last season, registering 17 tackles, three of which were against Oklahoma State. While Truman seems like the viable candidate, you could see Slaughter (who is Arthur Brown’s backup at middle linebacker) rotated in due to experience.

Slaughter didn’t have terrific stats in 2011, but it should be noted that he played in 12 games in 2010, where he totaled 47 tackles – 26 of which were solo. Hopefully Wildcat fans have reassurance now, that there are options who are capable of withstanding young gun freshmen QB’s Wes Lunt, J.W. Walsh, and RB Joseph Randle.

Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder won’t address the severity of the injury, but teammates are confident that Walker will make a 2013 return for his senior season as a Wildcat next August. For now, look for K-State to be switching it up quite a bit today.

Follow VF Castro on Twitter: @VFdoesFootball