December 31, 2006

Seven questions for 2007

Kansas State's 2006 season had a little bit of everything. The Wildcats turned in a thrilling comeback win over Oklahoma State and a stunning upset of then No. 4 Texas but also suffered a number of lopsided defeats, including a pair to close out the season against arch-rival Kansas and against No. 16 Rutgers in the Texas Bowl. What does 2007 have in store for Ron Prince's program? Here's a glance at a touchdown (and extra point) worth of storylines to keep an eye on.

1. How much improvement will Josh Freeman make?
The Wildcats' true freshman quarterback showed just what type of talent he is in back-to-back fantastic performances in wins over Colorado and Texas, but it's hard to ignore the way Freeman finished the season. The Grandview, Mo., product struggled heavily against Kansas and Rutgers, turning the ball over nine times in a pair of blowout losses. Freeman's season numbers of six touchdown passes against 15 interceptions show that despite all of his physical ability, Freeman has a long ways to go as a decision maker and game manager. There's no denying the talent and skill is there, now it's just up to Freeman to dedicate himself to becoming a more efficient quarterback over the offseason.

2. Who will be K-State's featured running back?
Both true freshman Leon Patton and junior college transfer James Johnson showed plenty of flashes in their first seasons at K-State. Patton finished the year with 609 yards and 5.6 yards per carry to Johnson's 403 yards and 4.1 yards a rush, but it was Johnson who started the Texas Bowl and appeared to be a bigger part of the game plan going into the contest against Rutgers. Who opens the 2007 as a starter is anybody's guess, but it seems safe to assume that both will get plenty of carries and touches next season. With that said, maybe the better question would relate to just what kind of numbers this duo can put up playing an entire season together.

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