Well it appears that Kevin Prince continued to improve and head towards the right direction in terms of recovery during second day of game week practices. According to reports Prince "practiced at full speed for the second consecutive day" yesterday. For the "first time" since camp started he threw long passes on consecutive days. Peter Yoon from ESPNLA thinks that the strained oblique "will not be a factor in his ability to play Saturday."
Coach Rick Neuheisel is still not in any rush to name a starter for this game. While Kevin is making progress his sharpness understandably is not where the team needs it to be. Jon Gold described him as a "bit rusty" as his timing was off. Moreover, CRN wants to make sure that the coaches are not rushing Prince back in too fast. It is not going to help us in the long term if Prince has to deal with lingering effects of this injury all season.
Here was CRN answering questions about pacing Prince back into practice and other matters following practice yesterday (via Jon Gold):
Neuheisel also made it clear that he is not worried about preserving Richard Brehaut's redshirt season. He and his coaches are focused on winning this year. Ideally we all would have loved to have redshirt Brehaut this year. I think there will be chances to redshirt Brehaut down the line. I can see Brehaut being available to step in this year and next year, and then redshirt his fourth year (when we should have seasoned Darius Bell and Nick Crissman in the program and a redshirt freshman available on our roster). This scenario would give Brehaut the opportunity to take over the team in his fifth season.
Anyway, I wouldn't suggest people worrying about QB redshirting issues all too much right now and focus on Kansas State. More on that after the jump.
Going back to Kevin Prince, here were his full comments following practice (via Gold):
Hopefully Prince continues to feel better today following his third day of practice. In terms of practice notes Gold posted few bullets immediately after it was over. Thought his observation on Jordon James was interesting:
Still need to see more from Jordon James, but he had a couple of runs that really impressed me. He said in a brief interview the other day that he did not expect to redshirt, and I would be surprised if he did after watching him more.
I think the issue with James in his first year will be durability. If he can stay healthy (he got nicked and had to sit out a chunk of pre-season camp), I think he might have a shot to break in. It might make more sense for him though to work on getting bigger and stronger in a redshirt season. Then again, if he can stay healthy and make an impact right away (not just in terms of picking up yardage but showing ability to pick up the offensive scheme), I am sure the coaches will not keep him off the field.
Meanwhile, over in Kansas, the Wildcats released their depth chart for our game. TB at Bring On The Cats (who don't forget is coming on our podcast tonight at 6 pm PST) posted his quick takes on the chart. Looked through it a bit this morning. KSU's offensive line average size is around 314lbs with four upperclassmen (3 seniors) and a sophomore. They will have some big boys trying to open running lanes for Daniel Thomas and protect Carson Coffman from our defensive front-4 (which weights around 288lbs). On the other side our OL (averaging around 317lbs) interestingly going to have a slightly more pronounced size advantage against KSU's front four which averages around 270lbs.
Of course the size advantage in these matchups is not going to matter much if our guys don't play with intensity, passion and focus. I am not sure how much comfort we can take in the fact that our OL "held its own" despite losing starters during scrimmages and did not "fall apart." It is going to be whole different matter playing with focus and intensity against live opponents fired up by their home crowd.
Conversely, we will have to see how new guys like David Carter and Justin Edison responds as DT anchors as they will certainly be facing a KSU team looking to run at them relentlessly. From the LA Times:
"I'm anxious to see what these young guys do," defensive line coach Todd Howard said. "They have worked awfully hard and they have ability. The only thing we don't have is experience."
They will start accumulating that experience in tough circumstances on Saturday.