KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This time, Bill Snyder went with the arm over the legs. And, as always, he’s trusting his gut.
The longtime Kansas State football coach today named Jake Waters as his starting quarterback for the Wildcats’ season opener Friday night against North Dakota State, which will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.
Snyder said Waters, a junior college transfer from Iowa Western, “displayed more consistency” and “provided the kind of leadership we want” during spring and summer drills as he battled with incumbent sophomore Daniel Sams for snaps.
“I’ve always been ‘the guy’ everywhere I’ve been,” Waters said during Kansas State football media day. “At the same sense, you can’t take a day off, you can’t take a rep off. Even when you’re not in, you’ve got to take that mental rep. So it (the competition) made both of us, overall, way better … (I’m) thinking that, ‘Hey, if he’s studying film and I’m not, I’ve got to go study film. I’ve got to go learn the playbook.’ So it’s making us both better as a whole.”
Snyder also intimated that Sams, who backed up Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein a year ago, missed some workouts in the preseason, a setback that didn’t help his respective cause. The coach also noted that he plans to play both quarterbacks Friday, although he didn’t say how long each could be expected to see the field.
Considering that the Wildcats have three extremely (on paper) manageable non-conference home games to open the season (vs. the Bison, vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, vs. UMass), it’s conceivable that both quarterbacks get a lot of time to showcase their respective wares before Big 12 play begins with an extremely challenging test — a visit to Texas on Sept. 21.
“I mean, Coach Snyder, he knows what he’s doing,” Waters told FOXSportsKansasCity.com earlier this month when asked about splitting time under center. “So if that’s the way the (he thinks) works, I mean, he knows what he’s doing.
“If he wants to do that and he thinks it’s best for the team, then we’re going to be all for it. So who knows if that’s going to happen? But if it does, we’re just going to have to take it as it comes and, you know, listen to coach Snyder, because he knows what he’s doing.”
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.