From The Couch – K-State Football News and Notes/Coronavirus Testing

From The Couch – K-State Football News and Notes/Coronavirus Testing

“Seven K-State football players tested positive for COVID-19 after undergoing surveillance testing this week, according to team spokesman Kenny Lannou. This is the first known spike in coronavirus cases within the Wildcats’ roster since the they experienced an outbreak during voluntary summer workouts and briefly had to pause all team activities for a few weeks in late June and early July.”
…Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle, August 28, 2020

JM:  At first glance seven positive tests seems like a lot until you realize they tested 140 players.  Practice will continue as scheduled in preparation for the September 12th opener against Arkansas State.

“The question for Klieman now is: How do the Wildcats navigate the next two weeks of practice without a chunk of their players? On top of the seven players that tested positive this week, sources have said four other K-State players have decided to “opt out” of the upcoming season because of concerns about the coronavirus.

If those missing players are spread out across multiple positions, their absenses might not impact Klieman’s game plan for the Arkansas State game. But if several of them are at the same position, the Wildcats may need to have certain players temporarily change positions.”…Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle, August 28, 2020

JM:  This will be interesting to watch as the season goes on.  Losing seven players may not seem like that big of a deal, but 17 would be.  And what if it’s more than that?  Players must quarantine for two weeks after a positive test.  The crazy thing is that it seems like all of these positive tests are asymptomatic.  The players aren’t even sick and would otherwise have no idea they are carrying the virus.  What if they did this during previous seasons and tested everyone for the cold or flu or mono or any other sickness and then made that player sit out for two weeks if they were sick or showing symptoms?  There’s no way that would ever fly. Also, if someone tests positive, why the mandatory two week quarantine?  Why not quarantine them for a couple days and retest?  If they test negative, let them back into practice.  I don’t understand the two week quarantine anymore since testing is so much more available.

“At the end of the upcoming college football season, senior quarterback Skylar Thompson will bid farewell to his Kansas State teammates and move onto the next chapter in his life after starting nearly 40 games for the Wildcats.

Or he will return to school and make a run at becoming the first five-year starter in team history.”…Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle, August 27 2020

JM:  The NCAA granted an “eligibility freeze” for all student athletes competing in sports this fall, meaning playing this fall will not count against their eligibility.  This means any senior will be allowed to play this fall and can play next fall as well if they choose to do so.  This will be an interesting development to watch.  K-State fans could have Skylar Thompson as their starting quarterback for two more seasons.

“Ticket sales have been trending a little lower than we hoped,” Taylor said during a phone interview Wednesday. “I will be surprised if we get to the 25%.”…Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle, August 27 2020

JM: Can’t say this really surprises me.  But the reasons given leave out what I think the primary reason is…

“There are obvious reasons for the slow sales. For starters, some fans simply don’t think it is safe to attend football games during a pandemic. Others have questions about K-State’s ticket options and need as much time as possible to make a decision on the available mini-plans. Enhanced safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and no tailgating may also hinder attendance.”…Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle, August 27 2020

JM:  How about the price of the tickets?  The options we were given were to choose either a two game package or a three game package of games at about three times the price per ticket we pay for our current season tickets.  I talked to many other season ticket holders that mentioned the price per ticket for these packages is way out of whack and they decided not to buy them.  I understand the athletic department still needs to make money, but charging someone three times per ticket what they are used to paying is a bit ridiculous.  I’m also not a fan of the “package” options.  Add no tailgating to the mix and it doesn’t make it feasible for many to make a trip to Manhattan on a Saturday this fall.

“(Kiondre) Thomas has made a seemingly effortless transition to his new team since deciding to transfer away from Minnesota, where he made 75 tackles while playing in 32 games. His new coaches say there are days when he looks like the best player in K-State’s secondary, and all signs point to him starting opposite A.J. Parker at corner when the season begins against Arkansas State.”…Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle, August 27 2020

JM:  This is the first I’ve heard of Kiondre Thomas getting the starting nod at corner.  Read on for Chris Klieman’s thoughts…

“He’s done a great job,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said. “He’s a really competitive young man. I’m excited for him that he’s taken the challenge to come to K-State to help our team, to help himself. He’s in the mix. He’s going to play an awful lot for us. He’s a real vocal guy, he’s a physical corner, gets his hand on guys. We’re really excited about Kiondre joining our program, and he’s going to have an impact this year.”
The Wildcats were quick to recruit Thomas when he landed in the transfer portal during the offseason. They had lots of returning talent at his position, but they wanted more and his addition has worked out well following the departures of Jonathan Alexander (opt out) and Walter Neil (transfer).
…Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle, August 27 2020

JM.  This is another player that we may have for both this fall and next fall.  After reading these comments, it makes more sense that Walter Neil transferred out.  He probably wasn’t going to see the field much.

“My sophomore year of high school, I was playing a little bit of center, and we got into our first contact camp and I did just awful,” said (Noah) Johnson, who despite an ill-fated first attempt enters his senior season at Kansas State as the Wildcats’ presumptive starter at center. “I got moved to tackle, and I played tackle for the rest of my career of high school.”…Arne Green,, August 21, 2020

JM:  Introducing our new starting center!

“Following a standout high school career at Wichita’s Bishop Carroll High School, Johnson moved on to Butler Community College, where again he worked briefly at center before settling in as an all-Jayhawk Conference guard. It was not until he walked on at K-State last fall, after a year away from football, that he finally found his spot.

“The first time I really got the rock in my hand was last spring here,” said Johnson, who has since earned a scholarship. “The biggest thing is just becoming comfortable with the ball in your hand, because that’s all it is.”…Arne Green,, August 21, 2020

JM:  The offensive line is the team’s biggest question mark going into the 2020 season.  A lot of the success or failure of the offense will fall on Noah Johnson’s shoulders.

“When we fall a little flat, when that confidence is being dented, he’s the guy who is rallying that group,” (K-State offensive line coach Conor) Riley said. “With our offense, our communication really begins and kind of ends with that center, so his ability to communicate (and) get guys going in the right direction has been phenomenal.”

JM:  Riley seems to like what he sees so far.  That’s a good sign, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on as the season gets started in a couple weeks.

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