Oct 3, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman looks at one of his assistant coaches on the sideline during a game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
As Iowa State and Kansas State’s annual battle on the gridiron creeps closer, the COVID-19 situation on the Wildcats’ roster remains fluid.
K-State head coach Chris Klieman provided another update on Tuesday as to where his team stands and any potential roster shuffling they could do in order to meet the Big 12’s requirements for competition.
“We don’t have enough guys to shift around. That’s probably our issue,” Klieman said during his weekly press conference. “We’re playing with the guys we have and just knocking on wood that we’re able get through Wednesday’s tests, which will come back Thursday, and Friday’s tests obviously that will come back. We’re not the only ones in the country dealing with this. There’s teams all over the country in every conference dealing with this. We’re just down so many guys at certain spots that we can’t even move people. I’m just knocking on wood that we get good results here in the next week.”
The Wildcats, who enter Saturday’s game 5-3 overall and 5-2 in Big 12 play, were hit hard by the coronavirus early last week as Klieman reported roughly 20 positive cases inside the program. On Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference, Klieman revealed the majority of those cases came within the program’s freshman class.
This is not Kansas State’s first problems with the virus as the team was forced to play without more than a handful of starters in a season opening loss to Arkansas State.
Regardless of the current circumstances, Klieman has not wavered on whether or not it is safe to continue playing college football under the current conditions across the country.
“I don’t think any of us want (to not play) just because you don’t know what the future’s going to hold of, ‘Okay, you can cancel whatever this week, next week or whatever,’ and feel like you’re going to have a chance to play that game because you don’t know what’s going to happen two weeks from now,” Klieman said. “I just know how hard these guys have worked since July to have an opportunity to play x amount of games. I’m a little bit amazed that we’re going into game eight and there’s a lot of schools that are trying to get through game three and four. We’ve been doing this since July. I can probably count on two hands how many guys haven’t missed 14 days or 12 or 13 days because they’re positive or because they’re a close contact. Shoot, if a young man’s not feeling well, that kid sometimes doesn’t come into the facility for 48 hours because we’ve gotta go get a COVID test then we’ve got to wait for that COVID test. That’s stuff you’d like to have a plan for, you just don’t. I want to play these games. I think these guys deserve the opportunity to compete as much as they can.”
Iowa State and Kansas State are currently scheduled to kickoff at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Jack Trice Stadium and to be televised on Fox.