On Tuesday, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder said he expects star quarterback Collin Klein to play against TCU, and there have been no major updates since. Assuming the Heisman candidate does suit up, the Wildcats should utilize a quick hook.
If they are able to build a comfortable lead or he suffers even a slight setback, Snyder should play it safe and pull him out of the game. The fact he hasn't officially been named the starter yet would suggest he enters the week at less than 100 percent to begin with.
It all comes down to the big picture. Kansas State finds itself in a terrific position at 9-0 and ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings. There are much bigger games on the horizon, and the Wildcats need their most dynamic player healthy to complete.
Should Daniel Sams be forced to play an extended role on Saturday, Kansas State should still like its chances of getting past TCU. The talented freshman completed five of six passes in relief last week and is a perfect fit for the offense.
Even though he's not on Klein's level—at least not yet—he should be able to run the offense well enough for the Wildcats to defeat a Horned Frogs team that is giving up more than 24 points per game despite playing only two ranked teams.
That's one of the best things about having a system in place. Players can move in and out of the lineup without having to worry about a dramatic drop off. Klein to Sams is as big as it gets for the Wildcats, and they would still be in good shape if he took over early.
Can the Wildcats beat TCU without Klein?
Of course, the ideal removal option would be building a sizable lead by halftime so the coaching staff could feel comfortable taking Klein out. They can't be overly aggressive trying to run up the score just to do that, though, and risk an upset.
Regardless of the circumstances, Kansas State has to do whatever it takes to ensure Klein emerges from the game ready for matchups with Baylor, Texas and beyond. The team can't afford for him to take a big step in the wrong direction just for a single game they should win.
Fans should find out more about Klein's playing status leading up to Saturday night, but the fact no negative news has leaked out is a positive sign. They just have to hope that remains the case coming out of the night as well.
All told, Kansas State must proceed with caution. Pushing Klein too hard could have disastrous consequences that derail the team's promising season.