THE EXPECTATIONS for Collin Klein are, well, different.
After all, he's a quarterback in the Big 12. Doesn't that conjure up visions of drop-back passers and of 300-, 400- and even 500-yard passing games?
But that's not Klein. Shoot, the guy's never had a 300-yard passing game, much less a 400 or a 500. Put it this way: His career-high is 281 yards. That's but 6 yards more than Geno Smith had a week ago in what was widely considered an utter failure, perhaps one of his worst games ever.
In fact, consider West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen's take on Klein, the Kansas State quarterback his team faces Saturday night at Mountaineer Field. It's spoken with equal parts incredulity and respect.
"You look at [Klein] throwing the ball and it doesn't look very good,'' Holgorsen said. "But it goes exactly where they want it to go.''
Indeed, that's the great contradiction here with the guy who has been tagged with one of the great modern nicknames in college football. Yes, Optimus Klein is primarily a running quarterback. At 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds and with just enough speed and deceptively effective moves, he's perhaps the best in the game.
But he's no one-trick pony, and he gets a little miffed that people consider him in that vein.
"A lot goes into an efficient passing game,'' Klein said, proceeding to explain nuances of all sorts that contribute to a passing game, not the least of which is an emphasis on throwing the ball. "We've not always chosen to emphasize them, but this year we've improved in all those areas.''
That Klein cannot - or at least does not - throw the ball with the same sort of regularity as most of the other quarterbacks in the Big 12 doesn't really seem to bother him. After all, there are plenty of things he can do that most of those other guys can't. How many quarterbacks run for 27 touchdowns in a season, as Klein did last year?
But that there are those who would sell short his ability to throw the ball when necessary, well, that amuses Klein. At the Big 12's preseason media event in Dallas in late July, someone asked Klein if he thought he could be a 2,500-yard passer?
"How many?'' Klein asked, not sure if he'd heard right or not. He had.
"Well, I'm not going to put any limitations on what we can do,'' Klein said, turning the question into one not so much about his passing as Kansas State's prospects. "I think we can be pretty good.''