Steve McGarrett, played by the late John Joseph Patrick Ryan (stage name Jack Lord) in Hawaii Five-O, never took things at face value.
“I’m not buying it, Danno,” he was fond of saying. “It’s too clean, too neat, too convenient. Something’s not right here.”
No way McGarrett would have bought Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder’s stance that nothing has changed at quarterback. So far, Carson Coffman has been the starter, Collin Klein the backup, Sammuel Lamur the third option.
“There is not a 1-2-3,” Snyder said at Tuesday’s presser in Manhattan. “I indicated earlier in the week that Carson is taking the snaps with the number ones right now. I would imagine that when we get to game time, it will probably be the way that we will end up going. And he is taking the No. 1 snaps because he is doing the best job, not that the other two are doing poorly. It is what it is. We still have a little time. We have a practice this afternoon, but in all likelihood, Carson will be our starter.”
By any standard, Coffman has performed poorly for the Wildcats (4-1), but he has won 80 percent of the games. His arm is neither particularly strong nor accurate. His release is slow and telegraphed. He’s not a running threat.
If Snyder gives the nod to Coffman, it’s an indication he believes strongly that this is a game Kansas State will win by not losing it. The oddsmakers agree, making the ’Cats 21⁄2-point favorites.
Coffman doesn’t make plays, but because he has the most experience and best feel for the offense, he’s the least likely to make a costly mistake.
Lamur is the fastest and has the strongest arm of the three candidates, but reportedly doesn’t have as advanced a feel for the offense and is more of a ball-security threat.
Snyder’s a conservative guy, and starting Coffman is the conservative play here, but that doesn’t make it the right play. Kansas proved it can win a game against a decent opponent that lives and dies by the run. Georgia Tech fell short of preseason prognostications, but remains a more talented team than Kansas State.
Though Coffman shapes up as the safest play on paper, even that option is a gamble for Snyder, in a way. Kansas has tons of film on him, and playing Coffman allows the Jayhawks the luxury of loading the box to slow down Daniel Thomas without fearing Coffman will make them pay.
Lamur’s running ability gives Kansas State a better chance of winning the game with a play, but his inexperience gives the Wildcats a better chance of him losing the game with a careless play. The fact Snyder went to Klein second and Lamur third, conspiracy theorists such as McGarrett will tell you, means that Kansas should spend more time preparing for Lamur than Kelin, and the conspiracy theorists are right on that one.
KU coach Turner Gill said he doesn’t think the identity of K-State’s quarterback will matter much.
“They’re going to do what they do,” Gill said. “Obviously we’re aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each quarterback they put in, but I don’t think that’s going to make a drastic change of what they do offensively.”