Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
KSU quarterback race still up for grabs

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder appears no closer to settling on a starting quarterback for the Wildcats Sept. 5 season opener against Massachusetts than he was 14 practices ago.

Snyder said Tuesday that there is tight, ongoing competition between four contenders for the job. Carson Coffman, Grant Gregory and redshirt freshmen Joseph Kassanavoid and Collin Klein all are hooked up for the starting job.

"No decision has been made and just about every time that I seem to think that someone is starting to pull away, the pack closes the gap on them," Snyder said. "I would say that on any given day they are probably pretty equal at this point in time."

That lack of separation is a trend that Snyder hopes will be ending with six practices remaining.

"The longer it goes it makes it harder and harder because it is human nature to settle into routines and to settle into performance levels," Snyder said. "I am trying to encourage that someone needs to rise above it all and continue to make that kind of improvement. And that doesn't mean that there hasn't been improvement, I'm not saying that, but not enough and not consistently enough for one to firmly establish himself."

Coffman and Gregory were presumed to have a slight edge because of their previous experience. Coffman, a redshirt junior, had 41 passes as Josh Freeman's backup last season. Gregory, a senior, threw 37 passes in the previous two seasons at South Florida as Matt Grothe's backup before transferring to Kansas State this spring.

"They both seem to do some of the same good things," Snyder said. "Carson, having been here in the spring, has had a little more experience. He's had 15 days more experience in this actual system and many more days than that when you encompass the offseason program and all that goes along with it.

"Grant probably has more playing time experience and has been around the game for a few more years with this being his sixth year in college football. Both of them come from football families, are pretty astute, and try to be good students of the game."

Coffman's father, Paul, is a former Kansas State tight end who played 11 years in the NFL. His older brother, Chase, was a record-breaking tight end at Missouri and a third-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Gregory's father Greg, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at South Florida on coach Jim Leavitt's staff before he was fired earlier this year. He now works as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Joey Jones' staff at South Alabama.

Snyder was also pleased with the progress of the two redshirt freshmen, who have both shown flashes of potential.

"Joe and Collin have both done reasonably well," Snyder added. "But, they haven't progressed at quite the same level that the other two have. They continue to make improvement and do good things."

The Wildcats will be on display Saturday at an open practice. It should be interesting to see which one of the quarterbacks takes the majority of the snaps -- or if Snyder chooses to keep them relatively equal as the season approaches.