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September 16, 2009

Coffman hoping to turn around offense

At this point in time, Carson Coffman probably doesn't enjoy Tuesday afternoons. It's on that day, following head coach Bill Snyder's weekly press conference, players file into the Big Eight Room inside Kansas State's Vanier football complex, and every week, Coffman is among them. These days, the questions that await Coffman, who has struggled in each of his first two career starts, are not easy. The junior has become the default spokesmen for an inept offense, and if things continue on their current course, the questions posed to him will only get harder.

"I don't really know if the defense cares all that much, maybe the wide receivers do a little a bit," Coffman said when asked if he feels his teammates getting frustrated with the K-State's quarterback play, and all accounts say his hypothesis of the situation is dead on.

No member of the Wildcats' defense seemed upset with the squad's offensive counterparts after Saturday's loss, and the collective indifference seemed to carry over to Tuesday. After all, it's a unit that's no stranger to adversity. At least one wide receiver, on the other hand, seems to have taken notice of the what seems like a drop off of talent at the team's quarterback position.

"They're not comfortable in the pocket," Brandon Banks said following Saturday's loss. "At least that's my perspective of it but I really don't know.

"We're very frustrated as an offense."

"Frustrated": it's a word that's in no short supply in recent weeks and it's on somebody's lips at every turn. Players use it, coaches say it, and the team's starting quarterback, whose has completed just 27 of his first 52 attempts this season, shares in it.

"It's really frustrating," Coffman said. "I felt horrible after the (Louisiana) game."

Coffman's backup, senior Grant Gregory was given a shot to show he could outperform the starter on the road last Saturday but looked shaky at best as he failed to complete any of his four passing attempts. It turns out missed opportunities don't just happen in relation to wins and losses, as on Tuesday, Gregory had the look of a New York City commuter who missed the last train home.

"To get your chance and get put in there but do nothing with it is very frustrating," Gregory said. "There's always the thought that (you might not get another chance). You just have to go out and practice well. Hopefully, I'll get another chance."

For now there seems to be no answer. So barring significant improvement from one K-State's two current options at quarterback, who's next on tap?

To that question, there's no simple answer.

Snyder has gone on record saying he would rather not pull the redshirt of junior college transfer Samuel Lamur, who has impressed the coaching staff during practice, but if something doesn't change dramatically and do so soon, Lamur and possibly freshman Joseph Kassanavoid might find themselves at a crossroads of sorts.

Snyder has gone out of his way to indicate that thrusting either Lamur or Kassanavoid into action is by no means an ideal solution. But then again, neither is the Wildcats' situation. And on Tuesday, the head coach softened up on his stance on the issue for the first time.

"Never say never," he said when asked about the likelihood of turning to one or the other to attempt to cure to his team's woes.

"I want to give these guys an opportunity to get themselves better," Snyder added. "Carson and Grant have to practice well and get themselves back on track. Like I said, never say never, by intent would be that (Coffman and Gregory) would get back on their game and begin to make some headway. If that's the case, they'll be there."

For now, however, Snyder contends he has just two options at the position, but doesn't make any bones about saying each has dramatically underperformed. Just what it will take for the head coach to expand his search is anyone's guess, as for now it seems just two remain at the top.

"I have seen both (Gregory and Coffman) perform much better, so I know what they are capable of," Snyder said. "Now it comes down to having the consistency it takes to be successful. Again, I have seen them play much better than they did against Louisiana-Lafayette."


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