In preparation for the 2007 College Football season, Drinking the Forty will look at every team in the Big XII, sizing up the conference for the 2007 season.
Kansas State looks to build on a 7-6 season in 2006, and their marquee win over #4 Texas at home. If Kansas State looks to build on their 2006 success, then they will need to improve on offense where they only averaged 115 yards a game on the ground and 200 yards a game in the air. They also must resemble the team that was able to knock off Texas and win three straight games twice during the season, and less like the team that struggled on offense and turned the ball over.
On offense they once again turn to sophomore Josh Freeman, who showed flashes of being the quarterback of the future last season, but was far too inconsistent as evidenced by his 6 TD and 15 Int. He is still a very raw talent, that needs to come a long way to be able to lead this offense. To aide his progress, Kansas State needs a big season out of their running game, and sophomore Leon Patton (609 yds/6 TD) and senior James Johnson (403 yds/2 TD). The offensive line will also need to come together as a unit as left guard still remains a question mark, and only two starters return from a year ago. However, the success of this unit will fall squarely on the shoulders of quarterback Josh Freeman, and how he has improved from a year ago. He has the ability to be a star, but still needs to become a better decision maker, and more accurate passer.
Kansas State was led by their defense in 2006, a unit that was solid against the pass and inconsistent against the run. They should once again be an impressive pass defense as they return they return a majority of their secondary from a year ago. They will be led by seniors Byron Garvin (58 tackles/2 sack/2 int) and Justin McKinney (54 tackles). The question mark will once again be when it comes to stopping the run as they lost their top two tacklers from a year ago. They will rely on their defensive ends, junior Ian Campbell (67 tackles/11.5 sacks) and senior Rob Jackson (36 tackles/4.5 sacks). However, they will need to fill the holes at linebacker to match their output of 2006.