K-State Sports Extra Offense/Defense Preview

Long gone are the weekends of waking up on Saturday mornings and turning on something other than college football. 
Sorry kids, the cartoons will have to wait - College football is on... All. Day. Long.
All day, that is, until you pack up the grill and head to Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
K-State kicks off its 2014 season this weekend with a 6:10 p.m., matchup against Stephen F. Austin in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and it's going to be one heck of a family reunion. The game has been sold out since June, and K-State Athletics has been hard at work for quite some time preparing for this season's very first gameday.
The game can be aired exclusively on K-StateHD.TV, and you can learn more about that by clicking here.
So in lieu of a new season, I've decided to highlight the Wildcats' offense and defense and a few players for you to keep an eye on. 
Let's just start with the wide receivers. Tyler Lockett is a senior, and he's out to break a few records. The storyline on the talented Tulsa, Oklahoma, native just continues to get better and better, and if he tallies 75 receptions, 837 yards and nine touchdowns, he'll break his dad Kevin Lockett's records and become No. 1 in the K-State record book while doing it.
Along with Lockett, K-State fans can expect big things from senior Curry Sexton, the team's second-leading receiver in 2013, and sophomore Deante Burton, while redshirt freshman Judah Jones and juniors Andre Davis and Kody Cook could also make an impact. 
While the wide receivers return a veteran group to the field, for the Wildcat running backs, that's not the case. K-State will look to fill the position of three-year starter John Hubert with, as this week's depth chart indicates, sophomore Charles Jones. While Jones holds the depth chart's No. 1 spot, Snyder said senior DeMarcus Robinson and sophomore Jarvis Leverett are not far behind.
"It's not written in stone right now. It's still competitive and will remain competitive today and tomorrow, and if there is a change we'll identify that," explained Snyder on Tuesday afternoon, "but like I said, it's not written in stone."
Leading the K-State offensive line is All-Big 12 center B.J. Finney. Finney has started 39 games - every game for the past three seasons - and is on pace to finish his Wildcat career with more than 50 starts. On the O-Line, Finney will be joined by 2013 All-Big 12 performer Cody Whitehair and Boston Stiverson on his left while senior Drew Liddle and junior Matt Kleinsorge will fill the positions to his right.   
Finally, the group will be led by senior quarterback Jake Waters. Game in and game out last season, Waters continued to grow and improve, and he threw for 207.7 yards per game, tossed 14 touchdown passes and surrendered only four picks in the final seven games of 2013.
"The (team) has confidence in Jake (Waters)," Snyder said, "and Jake has said on numerous occasions that he feels more comfortable and that he feels like he gets it a little bit better."
All in all, the Wildcat offense seems to be in good hands.
Led by the reigning Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, senior Ryan Mueller, the Wildcat defensive line will return to the gridiron with a group of veterans. Along with Mueller at the defensive end position will be sophomore Jordan Willis, who played in nine games last season. While Mueller and Willis are at the top of the depth chart, senior Laton Dowling and junior Marquel Bryant are not far behind.
At the defensive tackle position, K-State returns junior Travis Britz, a 13-game starter who earned All-Big 12 accolades a year ago. Next to Britz is senior Valentino Coleman, while sophomore Demonte Hood and redshirt freshmen Matt Seiwert and Will Geary will step up and make an impact on the field.
"We want to go out there and play for each other," said Coleman on this year's defensive unit. "That's our main thing - playing for each other. We don't know exactly what (our identity) is yet, but we know that at the end of the day we're going to be out there for each other regardless."
Senior Jonathan Truman will be looked to this upcoming season to lead the Wildcats' linebacker corps and will be joined by junior Charmeachealle Moore and sophomore Will Davis to get the job done. Truman, a team captain, finished the 2013 season second on the team (to former K-State linebacker Blake Slaughter) with 89 tackles and started all 13 games. 
On Davis, the linebacker's youngest player, Snyder said, "He's a tough young guy who is intelligent about the game. He's very responsible, and you've got to have people in that position that are doing what they need to be doing. You don't get Will out of position very often. He's always going to give you the best effort that he has."
With the loss of four-year All-Big 12 safety Ty Zimmerman, the defensive backfield will look to junior Dante Barnett for leadership. In 2013, Barnett was among K-State's toughest defenders and averaged 7.6 tackles and intercepted three passes in the final three games of the season. Along with Barnett, K-State returns hybrid defender Randall Evans and senior safety Dylan Schellenberg. Community-college transfer Danzel McDaniel is listed as a starter at one of the cornerback positions opposite of junior Morgan Burns.
For more information about this weekend's opening football game, check out www.kstatesports.com/gameday.  

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.