By Mark Janssen
Daniel Thomas set the record straight Tuesday.
It was the former coaching staff that recruited Thomas as a running back, and it was Bill Snyder with the idea that he should be a quarterback.
So Daniel, why did the Wildcat coaching legend change his mind?
"Probably when he saw me throwing out there in seven-on-seven," quipped Thomas.
The two-game start of 371 yards is a K-State record, bettering Thomas Clayton's previous record of 329 yards in 2005, and it leaves Thomas to say, "I think I've done a pretty good job so far, but I think there's lot of room for improvement."
But a lot of improvement has also been made by Thomas, who had never played running back until last year. Today, he says on the most difficult aspect of the position, "I would say the blocking schemes and just knowing which linebacker to block. Picking up the blitzes is the most difficult part."
He adds, "I wouldn't say the game is in slow motion, but it is a lot slower than last year."
Snyder agrees that Thomas' game is growing "game in and game out" in terms of a better "vision" and "reactions" to game-type situations.
"We know that he has the physical skills. It is just being able to find the right creases, and the more games he plays in, the better he does that," said Snyder.
Like last year, when Thomas led the Big 12 with a per-game average of just over 105 yards and the team rushed for 180 yards, K-State remains on the attack with an early average of 259.5 ground yards, which ranks 14th in the nation.
This year, Thomas and William Powell have combined for 492 yards on 59 carries, or 8.3 yards per carry. And as Thomas says, "As long as the line blocks as it has, the sky is going to be the limit for the team."
Thomas, 6-foot-2, 232-pounder, is currently getting 24 carries per game and the 5-9, 205-pound Powell is at five totes. Of his own work load, Thomas said, "I can handle a few more. I think I'm capable of 30 touches a game."
Snyder added of Powell's touches, "There are only so many to go around, but yes, I'd like to get William more."
The coach also stressed that the few opportunities sent Powell's way have nothing to do with a lack of confidence.
"There's never a situation where we think, 'Well, we can't put him in there now.' We feel comfortable with him."
Of the 1-2 punch, Thomas says, "Will's done a great job. I'll keep pounding it in there, and then put Will in to break off the long run."
Up to a half-dozen times a game, Thomas takes the direct snap from center out of the "Wildcat" formation, which he says, "I have a level of comfort in it. I ran it in junior college, but it was more of a catch the ball and run. But I feel comfortable in that situation."
And, Thomas has a comfort level with this current Kansas State football team because of the level of "togetherness."
He said after last year's 17-15 loss to Louisiana in the second game last year, "I don't think we were too sure how good we could be. This year we want to have success and get to a bowl game."
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