Kansas State football

Mondays at The Salute

Mondays at The Salute

The Loch Ness Monster. Bigfoot. Tyler Lockett.

Three figures of somewhat mythical proportions. Three figures that did not appear on the Wagner Field turf after the first quarter of Saturday’s 55-16 victory over Stephen F. Austin. While Bill Snyder did not comment on Nessie or Sasquatch, he replied in somewhat typical Snyderese when questioned why Lockett did not see the field in the game’s final three quarters. “Because I didn’t want him to.” Checkmate.

Lockett’s appearance was quick and Snyder’s quip was quicker. Why didn’t he play? Does he really exist? Adding to the mystery, Locket’s impact on Saturday even seems like something made up by someone attempting to make tabloid headlines. “He was nowhere to be seen. Then, in a flash of purple, he snatched a football out of the air and was in the end zone. Then he was gone.”

Whether or not “Finding Lockett” will become a hit reality show on Animal Planet remains to be seen. What’s readily apparent after Saturday, however, is that The Case of the Missing Lockett was a chapter that this K-State team needed.

With the 2014 season at-hand, Wildcat fans knew one thing: the phrase “Waters to Lockett” would be almost as common as “hello” this season. In 2013, they made each other better players, Waters with his pinpoint passing and Lockett with his ability to shake his own shadow. They connected on so many big plays that the only thing their kinship seemed to be missing was interlocking BFF necklaces. Their toss-and-catch superiority has seen enough success that hooking up for touchdown after touchdown on Saturday would have served no real purpose aside from pushing No. 16 even closer to Wildcat receiving records.

With Lockett on the sidelines (or possibly playing Uno with El Chupacabra and the Easter Bunny), the Wildcat offense was forced to diversify. And – with weapons like Tramaine Thompson, Daniel Sams and John Hubert gone this season – it was the best thing that could have happened on Saturday.

A total of 15 non-Locketts touched the football for the Wildcat offense on, making the first step toward proving that this offense will require a defensive scheme more complicated than “Cover 16.”

At running back, DeMarcus Robinson showed shiftiness and the sort of strength that made his 5’7 frame seem a bit like a bowling ball rolling its way to 49 rushing yards. Charles Jones seemed to answer the question, “What happens to the Wildcat Formation post-Sams?”, zipping to 55 yards and a pair of scores.

Through the air, without Tyler “The Easy Button” Lockett to fling to, Waters settled for completing passes to pretty much everyone other than Snyder himself. Robinson was a threat for quick passes out of the backfield. Wide receiver Deante Burton looked like a capable playmaker on the outside. Tight end Zach Trujillo and fullback Glenn Gronkowski provided steady outlets on Waters’ run-pass options. Even Kody Cook – a quarterback last season – put forth the sort of effort (3 receptions, 44 yards, 1 touchdown) that had fans everywhere saying, “wait, who?”

Fifty-five points later, the Wildcats are 1-0 with a trip to Ames, Iowa at hand and an offense that looks like it could locate the end zone regularly, especially if the one they call Lockett sees the field.

But, will he?

“If I want him to,” Snyder said when asked that question after Saturday’s game. Whether or not Snyder’s game plan includes Lockett, Nessie or Harry and the Hendersons, at least Wildcat fans can enter the conference opener with confidence in a diverse, efficient offense.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Derek Larson. You might remember me from such autobiographical blurbs as “Yo Soy Derek” and “Paste Blurb Here.” I was born and raised in the Manhattan area and I graduated from Kansas State University in 2005. Now I’m now adjusting to life in the land of husking corn. My groom’s cake was a Powercat and I was once convinced that the future of Wildcat basketball was a seven-foot volleyball player. I’ve written about K-State sports in different capacities, often without people asking me to. My hobbies include bringing more purple to Lincoln, Neb., and making vague (and not-so-vague) references to The Simpsons. Follow me on Twitter at @dereklarson.

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