If Bill Snyder has made a decision on Kansas State’s starting quarterback, he’s not yet ready to share.
It could happen today or it could wait until the 6:10 p.m. kickoff Saturday, when the Wildcats open their season against South Dakota at Snyder Family Stadium. Even then, nothing is set in stone.
“I haven’t given that much thought,” Snyder said of the much-awaited reveal during Monday’s Big 12 media conference call. “I have a pretty good idea where we’re going to go, but I’m not 100 percent certain yet.”
Junior Alex Delton and sophomore Skylar Thompson came out of spring practice neck and neck for the job, and nothing appears to have changed during preseason camp. About the only certainty is that both will see the field in the opener.
“It’s just that it’s been unbelievably even,” Snyder said. “Both of them have done extremely well, both of them are extremely competitive, both of them desire to be the first guy on the field (and) both of them are team-oriented guys.
“But if you begin to think all of a sudden that one is rising above the other, just wait a day and that will change, has been the case. Both of them are going to play.”
In fact, the opener against South Dakota, a Football Championship Subdivision team, could well become an open audition for the permanent starting spot. The Wildcats play host to No. 18-ranked Mississippi State in Week 2.
“I think the first ballgame will tell us an awful lot, perhaps,” Snyder said. “There’s some circumstances that take place in the course of a ballgame on Saturday afternoon that can’t occur in a practice or a game.
“But we’ve seen them both under pressure before and both of them have done quite well.”
Delton and Thompson each made four starts last year after senior Jesse Ertz went down with a season-ending injury in the fifth game, at Texas. Delton was first up, starting the next four before he was sidelined at Texas Tech, giving way to Thompson.
Thompson closed out the regular season with big games against Oklahoma State and Iowa State, throwing the game-winning touchdown pass as time expired against the Cyclones. But Delton was the hero against UCLA in the Cactus Bowl, coming off the bench and leading the Wildcats to a 35-17 come-from-behind victory.
Though Delton and Thompson both had designs on winning the starting job outright, they went into August prepared for the possibility that they might share playing time.
“I think there’s a chance that both of us will see the field,” Delton said during K-State’s Aug. 6 media day. “Obviously, there’s only one quarterback on the field at a time, so I’m confident that both of us can see the field, but you strive so hard to be that guy.”
“That’s definitely a possibility, either way,” he said. “That will be a game-plan thing, and we’ll see whenever that time comes.”
For now, Snyder seems content to let it play out for one more week.
“You can’t have two guys at the position and both of them be as competitive as they are — and it’s just six of one, half a dozen of the other,” he said. “So both of them deserve the opportunity.”
Juniors Da’Quan Patton and Elijah Sullivan went into August as the presumptive starters at linebacker. But Sullivan was not on the field on Aug. 11 for fan appreciation day, fueling speculation that he’ll be unavailable for the season opener. Fifth-year senior Sam Sizelove took Sullivan’s place with the first team during that practice.
Snyder, when asked who would start Saturday, left room for speculation.
“That might be up in the air a little bit, but it kind of depends on how we start the ballgame,” he said. “Probably Sizelove and Patton and Sullivan would be the first three if we went with three.”
No word on who would be the odd man out in the nickel package.