OU football 2011 opponent breakdown: Kansas State Wildcats
The 2011 college football season is still weeks away, but excitement surrounding Norman is nearly overflowing.
And while the Sooners have their eyes on winning the university's eighth national title, there are 12 games that must be played before the preseason No. 1 team can earn its place in the BCS national championship game in New Orleans.
Leading up to the first day of classes, The Daily will publish a breakdown of each opponent OU will face this year.
Up next: Kansas State
OCT. 29 IN MANHATTAN, KAN.
(Previous meeting: W, 42-30, in 2009)
There is no reason Kansas State should be good this season. The Wildcats are weak at quarterback, the defense couldn't stop anybody last year and they no longer have all-everything running back Daniel Thomas, who single-handedly won Kansas State multiple games.
To expect a winning season from a team with so much uncertainty is a stretch, but then again, this is a team coached by Bill Snyder. And you don't count out Snyder-coached teams.
Snyder is a master at pulling the best out of his players and having them perform at a high level. Ask Bob Stoops about that 2003 Big 12 Championship game. I think nightmares of Darren Sproles are still running through Stoops' head.
However, Snyder had a great rushing attack and a solid offensive line that season — two things the Wildcats definitely are lacking this year.
Kansas State will turn to sophomore transfer Bryce Brown to carry the team. The former No. 1 high school back from Wichita, Kan., was released from his scholarship at Tennessee after ex-coach Lane Kiffin's departure, and Brown returned to his home state.
Snyder will look for Brown to pick up where Thomas left off to help the Wildcats maintain a strong rushing attack and keep pressure off of junior quarterback Collin Klein — the guy who is most likely to be the starting quarterback this season.
Klein is big and powerful (6-foot-5, 226 pounds), but his biggest game for K-State was a 4-for-6, 65-yard performance against Missouri in 2010.
The bright side, is Klein had two consecutive games where he ran for 100-plus yards last year. The converted wide receiver rushed for 127 yards against Texas and 141 against Missouri.
On defense, Kansas State is looking for its seniors to improve a defensive line from what was the nation's second-worst rush defense in 2010, giving up 231.38 yards on the ground per game.
But rush defense wasn't the line's only weakness — the Wildcats also lacked a consistent pass rush, sacking the quarterback just 20 times.
At linebacker, junior Arthur Brown (brother of Bryce Brown) will add an instant boost on the field. The Wichita, Kan., native played one season for the Miami Hurricanes before transferring to Kansas State. And although Brown is a talented player, the verdict is out on is impact because of his disappointing play at Miami (he only had four tackles).
Snyder has some strong talent returning in the secondary, and Brown should help the linebackers improve, but the Wildcats lack a playmaker on the defensive line. And without a strong front four, look for Oklahoma to run over Kansas State.
Prediction: W, 31-10
Confidence: 90 percent
Returning starters: six offense, seven defense
Wildcats to know: LB Arthur Brown, DB Tysyn Hartman, QB Collin Klein
Prediction, too: OU amasses 300 yards on the ground in its biggest rushing game against a Big 12 opponent