No matter what Kansas State decides to do, West Virginia's defense will be challenged. Running quarterbacks are among the hardest threats to defend in all of football. But Lockett and Thompson make the Wildcats a lot more dangerous through the air.
"I think we know what to expect. One has the strengths to run the ball while the other throws it effectively,'' said defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. "But we don't prepare any differently in what we did with Oklahoma State with [J.W.] Walsh and [Clint] Chelf. There's a lot of similarities I would say.''
Perhaps, but the differences are more striking. Sams went through the first four games of the season throwing just four passes, but running for 205 yards. But then against Oklahoma State he went 15-of-21 passing (although three of the six incompletions were interceptions).
Perhaps the most unexpected part of Sams' game, though, was when coach Bill Snyder just committed to him in the running game. Against OSU Sams ran 27 times for 118 yards. Against Baylor he ran 30 times for 199 yards and all three KSU touchdowns.
Snyder was asked this week if he thought Sams could continue to handle that kind of rushing workload.
"Well he did it, so I would like to think that he is capable of it,'' Snyder said. "I have never thought otherwise, never believed that he could not."
But again, just because Sams has had success running and has been asked to do it much more frequently, one shouldn't assume that Waters and the passing game are being pushed into the background. Lockett caught 13 passes for 237 yards against Texas and had nine catches for 194 yards last year against West Virginia. Thompson had six for 108 in the opener.
Getting those two back could easily change Snyder's mind about which direction to go.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.