There’s a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the head knight of the Knights Who Say “Ni”* requests that King Arthur cut down the tallest tree in the forest, not with an axe or saw, but with a herring. Arthur was not willing to attempt the task. Bill Snyder and the Kansas State Wildcats, however, attempted just that against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

*Yes, technically they were referring to themselves as The Knights Who Say “Ecky-ecky-ecky-ecky-pikang-zoop-boing-goodem-zu-owly-zhiv” at the time of this request, but let’s roll with “Ni” for the sake of clarity, shall we?

Already starting their second-string quarterback to due injury to Jesse Ertz, the Wildcats faced trouble when Joe Hubener exited Saturday’s game after taking a nasty shot to the head. Third-stringer Alex Delton was out due to injury, and fourth-string QB Jonathan Banks was reportedly unavailable due to illness. What does that even leave a team with, aside from reasons to pout and a good excuse for dropping a conference opener? For the Wildcats, it left walk-on wide receiver Kody Cook, a former junior college quarterback, to attempt to run some semblance of the K-State offense. Enter: the herring.*

*Yes, I realize that sounds like a horrible title for a spoof karate film. I’ve copyrighted it. 

Rather than simply serving a mode of conveyance to get the football from center Dalton Risner to one of the Wildcat running backs, however, Cook took over. He ran with both patience and agility. He passed in a way that left many wondering how he ended up at receiver in the first place. He energized the team, pushing the Wildcats to a 15-point lead in the second quarter. Cook passed 16 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 87 yards and another score. It was a solid effort for any quarterback, let alone a guy who has spent the vast majority of his time in purple focused on running pass routes.

As indicated by his postgame remarks, Snyder was impressed. “It was very good,” Snyder said. “I thought he played with poise. He played smart. He made some mistakes, but you have to remember we have a plethora of offense and he’s had a week of investment in it. He was a quarterback some time ago and he’s on the field a lot as a receiver, but his retention has been great. He did as well as you would expect. We couldn’t ask for anymore.”

Perhaps an even stronger endorsement comes from the fact that Snyder left Cook in the game, even after broadcast cameras showed Hubener seemingly ready to return in the second quarter. Cook only exited in the fourth quarter after going down with an injury himself.

Assuming that both Cook and Hubener are full-strength the rest of the way, and assuming that Snyder has any interest in having Cook remain at quarterback, the question now becomes: Who’s the guy?

If you take only the Oklahoma State loss into consideration, Cook appears to be the stronger option. His numbers are better (Hubener completed just three-of-nine passes and threw an interception), and Cook appeared more comfortable throwing short routes that Hubener has all season. That said, Hubener led the Wildcats to three straight wins to start the year, averaging 195 yards passing and 35 yards rushing along the way. Keeping Hubener at quarterback also puts Cook – the Wildcats’ leading receiver (entering Saturday’s game) – back on the receiving end of passes.

Heading into the season, I expected quarterback controversy at some point. With four competitors locked in a battle for the starting spot, I figured that the first choice might not be the final choice. Alas, my powers of prediction only go so far. I did not have the foresight to guess that one of the guys fighting for snaps under center would be a receiver. For shame.

Who’s the right choice? No, seriously, who? Comment below to let us know who you think should be taking snaps, whether it’s Hubener, Cook, or defensive end Jordan Willis (since he did everything else on Saturday).

I don’t know who will be K-State’s quarterback against TCU. I do know, however, that the Horned Frogs are one hefty tree to chop down. Snyder will attempt it with a herring if he thinks it will work.

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.

Related Posts