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Waters to start at QB for K-State in opener

8/26/2013

By DAVE SKRETTA

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jake Waters will be under center

when defending Big 12 champion Kansas State opens its season Friday

night against defending FCS national champion North Dakota State.

Sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams is expected to play at some point in the game.

Wildcats

coach Bill Snyder said on the Big 12's media teleconference Monday that

Waters, a highly touted junior college transfer, earned the nod over

Sams to replace departed Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein on their

strength of more consistent play throughout fall camp.

Waters

joined the program for the spring semester, and both of the quarterbacks

took reps with the first-team offense leading up to the week of their

opener.

"We were fortunate to have him at midterm last year, so he

got to go through the offseason program, learn a little about what our

work habits and invest himself in study time as it relates to our

offense," Snyder said. "There's an awful lot to learn as a quarterback."

That's

particularly true in Snyder's complex system, which utilizes elements

of the read-option along with other offensive sets to confuse opposing

defenses.

"I think as much as anything," Snyder said, "he invested

himself and he truly worked at it extremely hard and did above and

beyond what was asked of him."

Snyder also said that Sams missed

some "practice opportunities" during the later stages of fall camp, but

the coach did not say whether that was caused by an injury.

Waters

is considered the more polished passer after throwing for more than

3,500 yards, 39 touchdowns and only three interceptions for Iowa Western

Community College last season. Sams is considered the better runner

after gaining 235 yards in parts of eight games a year ago.

That situation isn't foreign to Snyder, who has juggled quarterbacks in the past.

In

2002, Ell Roberson was thought to be the better runner and Marc Dunn

the better passer, and while Roberson took the majority of No. 1 snaps,

Dunn still appeared in 10 games.

"I like the idea of having two

young guys that can play the position with somewhat of equal skill

level," Sndyer said, "even though they're somewhat a little bit of

difference in their game.

"What we're looking for is a complete

quarterback," he added, "one that can invest himself in the running

game, one who can invest himself in the passing game. And both of these

guys can do that. It's not a matter of having two totally separate skill

sets."

Waters will have some big shoes to fill on Friday night.

Klein

took over the job as a junior and led the perennially overlooked

Wildcats to the Cotton Bowl. He returned as a senior last season and

accounted for more than 3,500 yards, jumping into the Heisman race while

leading the Wildcats to the Big 12 title and the Fiesta Bowl.

What

made Klein invaluable, though, was his leadership ability. His natural

charisma made him the team's unofficial spokesman, and he was looked up

to by players on both sides of the ball.

That ability may be what ultimately lands Waters or Sams the job on a full-time basis.

"He's

not a vocal leader and we're trying to draw some of that out of him,"

Snyder said of Waters, "but he gained respect, which you can't have if

you don't have the respect of others, and he gained the respect of his

teammates by his consistent approach to the game.

"I have to say

too, I have a great appreciation for Daniel," Snyder added. "They were

in such heavy competition for the position. Daniel was a great asset to

Jake and still is."