Whether it's smoke and mirrors or a legitimate puzzle, a decision on who will start for Kansas University at quarterback Saturday hasn't been made.
And, because of KU's guarded media access, the final answer likely will remain a secret until gametime.
"No decision has been made," coach Mark Mangino said Wednesday, the last day reporters speak with coaches and team members during game week. "Tomorrow night after practice, Friday morning at the latest. But there's very encouraging signs at that position."
Mangino and his offensive coaches are considering four options to start Saturday against Kansas State: senior Brian Luke, junior Adam Barmann, red-shirt freshman Marcus Herford and true freshman Kerry Meier. The fourth-year coach said this week of practice had been a step forward in consistency for those quarterbacks, something Mangino feels is due with the meat of KU's schedule upcoming.
"The way the season has gone at that position, it's had some great highs and some real dips in the road," Mangino said. "They've come to the realization that the time has come that they've got to be a chauffeur for this offense and get it rolling on a consistent basis."
Luke seems the most likely candidate to start, since he was the guy the last three games. His performance Saturday in KU's loss to Texas Tech wasn't great, but it wasn't so terrible that a change is urgent.
However, Mangino has an array of options. Adam Barmann has plenty of Big 12 Conference experience, and Herford brings a completely different dimension to the position with his athleticism and ability to scramble.
The intriguing wild card, though, is Meier. The Pittsburg native hasn't suited up this year and still might not, as a red shirt remains an option. But Mangino has called Meier the "most natural quarterback" of the bunch and hasn't ruled out playing him as he did Herford a year ago.
"He's learning," tackle Cesar Rodriguez said of Meier. "He's a freshman, so he doesn't got the full recognition of all the stuff we have to do. But he's doing pretty well."
¢ Ready to hit: The KU defensive backs know the passing game might not be as crazy as it was against Texas Tech, but free safety Rodney Fowler said he was ready to be involved anyway. Kansas State boasts a solid running game, led by running backs Thomas Clayton and Parrish Fisher, and it's carried the Wildcats to a 3-1 record.
"We'll have to put our big shoulder pads on," Fowler quipped.
¢ More noise: KU players practiced Wednesday at Memorial Stadium, again with loudspeakers blaring crowd noise. There was an added twist: Music was thrown in the mix, too, including Outkast's "Hey Ya" and Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There it is)." No word yet whether Mangino chose the beats.