The Kansas State Wildcats have enjoyed back-to-back double digit win seasons, including an 11-win 2012 where they won the Big 12 title. But they face major challenges as they try to extend their 10-win-season streak to three as the team has been decimated by graduation. One area that will enjoy some stability this offseason is the offensive line which will have to carry the offense through a time of transition.
There’s no doubt that the graduation of Collin Klein will be a huge void to fill next season. The Wildcats will try and find someone who can ease the loss this spring as Daniel Sams, Klein’s backup in 2012, and junior college transfer Jake Walters battle it out in practice. Meanwhile, K-State will also have to find some help to offset the loss of Klein’s 925 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns on the ground.
Whoever gets plugged into the offense will get the benefit of playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the country from the 2012 season. The unit allowed just one sack per game last season, good news for whoever wins the quarterback derby, and paved the way for the No. 32 rushing offense in the country last year, averaging 194 yards on the ground per game.
Their play will be extremely important next fall as the K-State defense gets rebuilt after losing nine starters from a year ago. While the Wildcats led the Big 12 in scoring defense in 2012, they’ll be hard pressed to match that feat with so many untested players getting thrust into the starting lineup. The offense will need to control the clock by stringing together long drives that eat up time. The key to that will be a solid running game behind a strong offensive line.
2013 is shaping up to be a season of uncertainty for Kansas State with question marks at nearly every position on both sides of the football. If the team has any hope of not taking a step back next fall, it will have to lean on the strength and experience of their offensive line.