Injuries keep mounting up
Early in his press conference Kansas head coach Turner Gill announced that starting guard Trevor Marrongelli would be lost for the season. Marrongelli started the first five game for the Jayhawks. Kansas native Duane Zlatnik will move into the starting role.
Gill also said safety Phillip Strozier is doubtful for the game. Keeston Terry and Kale Pick are listed as questionable. They will know more on both players once they return to practice.
No doubting Thomas
The Kansas State offense is led by running back Daniel Thomas. The senior is seventh in the country in rushing yards. Last year the Jayhawks had trouble stopping him by lining up several defenders in the box. Gill admitted the offense is built around Thomas and limiting his yards is a key this Thursday night.
"On the offensive side of the ball you have to slow down their running game," Gill said. "You are not going to stop their running game, but you have to slow down their running game. Daniel Thomas is a great running back and he does a lot of great things. He pounds people, he has pretty good speed and he is someone that we must slow down."
Success coming off the bye week
The Jayhawks have experienced success in recent years after a bye week where they are 5-0 after their last five open weeks.
"We did pretty well this past week," said wide receiver Daymond Patterson. "We worked on some stuff, practiced well, got some guys healthy. We got the team spirit up again and we just really looked into what K-State does. We got to watch them play Nebraska this past Thursday. I think we are very ready, and we have a few more practices this week just to get everything corrected and make sure we're on the same page."
And the open week may have given the Jayhawks time to add to the playbook.
"We went back to basics and got some plays down that we know are going to work," said tight end Tim Biere. "We've added some wrinkles here and there off of those plays, but we fine-tuned all of our offensive plays."
Offensive line will have a new starter
One person that knows about the Kansas-Kansas State rivalry is Duane Zlatnik. The offensive lineman who is from Rossville will pick up the start with the news that Marrongelli is out for the year.
Tanner Hawkinson, another Kansas native, believes the line will be fine with the addition of Zlatnik to the rotation.
"We have a lot of guys that have played together in the past," Hawkinson said. "Obviously with Trevor (Marrongelli) going down it hurts, but Duane (Zlatnik) has done a good job for us in his first year starting. We had four guys start on last year's team and Duane was with us all last year too."
Preparing for multiple quarterbacks
After Kansas State lost to Nebraska head coach Bill Snyder said he would keep evaluating the quarterback position. The Wildcats used three different quarterbacks in the second half against Nebraska and the Jayhawks are well aware they might see more than one.
Kansas starting safety Lubbock Smith said the defense is preparing for more than just one.
"We have a game plan for that," Smith said. "For each quarterback they have, we're prepared for him. We have watched a lot of film and we are prepared for whoever plays."
The Wildcats got off to a good start with Carson Coffman, and Chris Harris is expecting to see him when the game kicks off.
"We're anticipating Carson Coffman," Harris said. "I don't know why they would start anyone else. They are 4-1 with Coffman, but I did see the end of the Nebraska game and the backup, (Collin) Klein, looked a little more athletic."