On November 21, 2009 Bo Pelini and Kansas State new/old head coach Bill Snyder will have a chance to renew acquaintances back in Lincoln.
Pelini and Snyder both say that the 2003 coup d'etat is water under the bridge and I believe that it probably is.
But, we will see.
Unfortunately, for Snyder he will not be bringing a KSU team to Lincoln with anything close to the talent level of his 2003 unit.
No El Roberson, long gone is Darren Sproles.
The second Bill Snyder era at Kansas State is first left to find a replacement for record setting quarterback Josh Freeman.
The likely replacement is Carson Coffman, brother of Missouri's All-American tight end Chase Coffman, and son of Paul, a former NFL player of 11 years.
Coffman did have a great deal of success in high school, guiding his team to two state championships.
The diminutive Brandon Banks returns to give Coffman an explosive down the field threat at the wide receiver position. Banks not only is a real threat at the wide receiver position, he also uses his stature and speed on kickoff returns to help get the KSU offense in good field position.
Another notable player that returns to help Coffman and Kansas State move the football is tight end Jeron Mastrud, with 38 receptions in 2008 for 435 yards.
Running back Keithen Valentine, a player that was in Princes' dog house for whatever reason, is looking forward at a chance to rejuvenate his career with Snyder.
In the offensive line, their are a few question marks, but the leader of this group is likely to be senior left tackle Nick Stringer.
Honestly, though, as many questions as there are about the Kansas State offense, I think there are many more questions and problems on the Kansas State defense.
At times, under Prince, the Wildcat defenders seemed like they were just going through the motions. They didn't seem to have an identity on defense to hang their hat on.
They weren't great at any one facet of playing defense and really they were pretty bad.
I have to assume that, under Snyder, these guys will maximize their ability and their effort on every play or Snyder will not have them on his team. Hard nosed, tough defenses were a trademark of Snyder teams at KSU during his first tenure and I expect no different in 2009.
A couple players to watch are defensive tackle Jeffrey Fitzgerald, a transfer from Virginia, and defensive end Brandon Harold. Harold played very well last year when he did get playing time as a freshman.
Kansas State does return a couple starting linebackers in Ulla Pomele and Alex Hrebec.
In the secondary they return Joshua Moore who led the Big 12 in pass break ups last year.
Kansas State does have some players with talent on defense, it just appears to me that they just were not motivated last year or coached very well.
I see this game going one of two ways, a 25 + point win by Nebraska which sees Nebraska start fast and take early control or a very hard fought physical game that may come down to the fourth quarter.
I think this Kansas State team will respond to Snyder's coaching, especially on the defensive side of the ball and they will play very well.
In the end though, I think Nebraska just has quite a bit more depth, a few more talented athletes and the Nebraska running game and defense take control in the fourth quarter.
My pick. Nebraska 28
Kansas St 17
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