Notebook: KSU’s offensive improvement

By Chris Williams, Publisher

Iowa State vs. Kansas State
11:10 a.m. on Saturday in Arrowhead Stadium
Televised on Fox Sports Net

I sat in on Bill Snyder’s Big 12 teleconference earlier today. It was pretty predictable.

Snyder reiterated how he doesn’t like playing Iowa State in Arrowhead Stadium due to the hurt that it puts on the Manhattan economy.

Then, the topic quickly moved to Kansas State’s stud running back Daniel Thomas, who is averaging 185.5 rushing yards per game against UCLA and Missouri State.

I’ve read a lot of Iowa State fans write, “Daniel Thomas played for Kansas State last year and we handled him.”

I would quickly rethink that position Cyclone fan. Just like you use the line “this is the second year in Tom Herman’s system,” the same can be said for the opponent. That is the case with Kansas State and in this specific instance, Thomas.

“The experience has helped him become a better player,” Snyder said.

Thomas can do it all. He’s 6-foot-2, 228-pounds. He’s strong, he’s fast and he’s shifty.

"Wally (Burnham) said after the UCLA game as we were talking about scores that he thought Thomas would be the best back who we face all season long," said Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads.

What makes Kansas State’s rushing attack even more scary is that Thomas’ backup, senior William Powell, is an effective change of pace. Powell is 5-foot-9, 207-pounds. Snyder went as far as to compare him to former Wildcat running back and current San Diego Charger Darren Sproles.

“William is good at finding daylight. He has a good perception about where the ball should fit. His body size helps him,” Snyder said.

Snyder also said that Powell is faster than Thomas.

Powell has carried the football 10 times in two games. He’s averaging 12.1 yards per rush with two touchdowns. He’s the nations eighth ranked kick returner, averaging 35.33 yards per opportunity.

It appears that Kansas State has improved at the quarterback position as well with Carson Coffman at the helm.

“When we put him on the field a year ago, he had not been a starting quarterback. He had not had a great deal of playing time and certainly hadn’t in critical situations or close ball games,” Snyder said. “He’s made better decision in regards to what we should be in, what we shouldn’t be in and his progressions as far as the passing game is concerned. He hasn’t been careless with the football and he doesn’t feel like he has to make all of the plays.”

Coffman threw for 280 yards on 18-of-26 passing for three touchdowns on Saturday night.

Note: UCLA and Missouri State are ranked 75th and 81st nationally in total defense.

Kansas State is a lot sketchier on defense. I’ll dig into that more as the week rolls along.