August 28, 2006

Rating the Wildcats: Defense

Kansas State has always prided itself on being strong defensively, especially at linebacker, and the Wildcats hope to return to an elite level on that side of the ball in 2006. Linebacker Zach Diles could be ready for a breakout year as a senior after putting up solid numbers last season despite the fact he didn't start a single game, and Diles' emergence could be just what K-State needs to get back to its roots defensively.

Pros: The Wildcats seem to have a number of capable players at defensive tackle, proven by the fact that last year's starters at the position, Quintin Echols and Alphonso Moran, are listed as reserves on the latest depth chart. There are still questions at end, but all signs indicate that junior college transfer Rob Jackson is ready to contribute immediately, plus sophomore Ian Campbell and redshirt freshman Eric Childs both appear to be athletic pass rushers.

Cons: The addition of Jackson (6-foot-3, 265 pounds) to the starting lineup at end helps give K-State more size up front, but the Wildcats are still relatively small with tackles Blake Seiler (254 pounds) and Steven Cline (291) joining Campbell, a 232-pound end, in the starting lineup. There's potential on the line but very little present as far as proven pass rushers, and Wildcat fans witnessed first hand last year what happens when you're unable to pressure opposing quarterbacks.

Overall rating: 6.0/10 This group has a real chance to improve this rating early in the season, but until this group of players proves itself able to slow the run and get to the quarterback it will remain a bit of a question mark.

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