Whether you want to use the terms “youth movement,” “rebuilding year,” or “team full-o-youngsters,” there’s no doubt that the 2015 Wildcats are just that. Gone is almost all of the offense generated in 2014 and in comes the new guys. But that’s not all unfamiliar names. As you look through the running back stats from Saturday’s game against South Dakota you’ll see names that were significant a year ago, and two fresh options.

RUSHING STATISTICS VS SOUTH DAKOTA
NAME CAR YDS AVG LONG TD
Justin Silmon 6 51 8.5 18 0
Charles Jones 9 39 4.3 7 0
Winston Dimel 8 29 3.6 8 2
Glenn Gronkowski 2 16 8.0 11 0

So what to make of this collection of players? To compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, you have to look at the traditional tailback and fullback positions, even those the mere existence of those positions anymore is debatable.

Charles Jones and Justin Silmon

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Charles Jones

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Justin Silmon

When you look at this comparison you have to remember one thing: sample size. There’s no doubt that we haven’t seen a lot from Silmon yet. 6 carries for 51 yards. 3 of those came on back to back to back carries that initiated a 5 play touchdown drive that happened completely on the ground. In fact, it’s that drive that I can’t get out my head from Saturday’s game. After 2 years of attacking via air, and years before that of quarterback led running attacks, that drive signaled what may be a return to the traditional power run game that laid the foundation of the greatest teams of Snyder 1.0.

That return to form is going to be imperative for K-State going forward. With starting quarterback Jesse Ertz likely out for the year, Joe Hubener showed he can be the capable starter, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that Hubener to Burton is the new Waters to Lockett. This team is going to need the run game. And while Charles Jones may have had an injury that kept him from being incredibly effective a year ago, he didn’t show much on Saturday to demonstrate that 2015 would be any different.

Silmon, on the other hand, looked to have a tremendous upside. You don’t want to overreact about 6 carries against a bad South Dakota team, but when the known quantity seems to be stagnant, perhaps we can see just what we have in Silmon before conference play.

Glenn Gronkowski and Winston Dimel

Glenn Gronkowski

Glenn Gronkowski

Winston Dimel

Winston Dimel

And now for the big guys… Headed into this year everyone expected Gronk to take a larger role in the offense, but that was before watching Dimel in the spring game. Of course, I had the same reaction to that as I did Silmon. We’ve seen enough guys excel in the spring game only to disappear when the next season rolled around. But like Silmon, it doesn’t appear that Winston Dimel is going anywhere. In fact, if you’re nerdy enough to be in a Big 12 Fantasy Football league, he just might be worth a look… with 2 touchdowns in week 1, it’s fair to say that K-State is planning on using him on the goal line.

And best of all, it’s not Gronk or Dimel, it’s Gronk and Dimel. The pair were in the game together, like the giant power backs of old.

So when it comes to the running game this year, it may not be out with the old… but we’re certainly going in with the new.

About The Author

Founder & Chief Saluter
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Mike is a '00 graduate of Kansas State University and holds season tickets for Football and Men's & Women's Basketball. He lives in Kansas City, but stays loyal to his Chicago sports (Bulls & Bears & Hawks & Sox). He's a social media marketer by day and dreams in purple at night.

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