The season isn’t off to a good start at Kansas State. After going 8-5 with a Cactus Bowl win in 2017, Kansas State is 2-2 to date in 2018 — a close win over South Dakota, an easy dispatching of UTSA and blowout losses to Mississippi State and No. 12 West Virginia. The Wildcats have lost both of their games to Power 5 opponents by an average score of 33-8.
Though neither side of the ball has been great, the offense has borne the brunt of the head coach’s ire. “I can’t coach a team that can’t get six inches,” he fumed after a 35-6 loss to West Virginia on Saturday.
But that wasn’t the only development to come out of the WVU loss.
Snyder elected to make a change at quarterback during the course of Saturday’s game, switching from Skylar Thompson to Alex Delton. That’s not exactly news; head coaches make executive decisions every hour of the day. But it’s the way he went about it that’s noteworthy: Snyder didn’t tell any of his assistants, and he didn’t tell Thompson.
The Kansas State offense took the field after an interception, and Snyder simply sent Delton out there instead of Thompson.
“It wasn’t (Thompson’s) fault that we were behind the 8-ball,” Snyder said. “The point is, we didn’t have any points on the board and we just needed to do something and needed to make some type of change. And the other young guy has been playing equally as well. Both of them have their hiccups and their issues. Skylar played well … we just needed to try to do something to get a spark.”
As the Wichita Eagle details, throughout this season Snyder has left enough breadcrumbs about his thoughts on his two quarterbacks to reconstruct an entire sandwich. He’s been much more complimentary of Delton, and didn’t publicly acknowledge Thompson as K-State’s starter until Week 3. “(Delton’s) opportunities are going to come,” Snyder said last week. “They certainly will. There is no doubt in my mind about that.”
Kansas State juggled three quarterbacks last season, but two major changes occurred over the off-season. First, senior signal caller Jesse Ertz graduated. Second, longtime offensive coordinator Dana Dimel took the UTEP job.
Snyder promoted wide receivers coach Andre Coleman to offensive coordinator and named offensive line coach Charlie Dickey and quarterbacks coach Collin Klein as his co-offensive coordinators. According to the Eagle, the staff preferred Thompson at quarterback. Snyder preferred Delton, but deferred to his staff — until he couldn’t any longer.
(For what it’s worth, Thompson’s efficiency rating is roughly 25 points higher than Delton’s despite throwing 35 more passes, and his yards per carry average is roughly the same despite rushing the ball 19 more times — largely because Delton has taken too many sacks. Delton did run for 500 yards and eight touchdowns a year ago.)
Delton will start against No. 18 Texas on Saturday; he did run for 79 yards and two touchdowns in a double overtime loss in Austin a year ago.
Snyder turns 79 next month. His time running the Kansas State program is coming to a close, and it appears his patience is as well.