Albeit because of an injury to Lamark Brown, another game brought another starting running back for Kansas State, as true Freshman Logan Dold became the third man to be tagged as the Wildcats' No. 1 ball carrier and the third to register an actual start this season. And with Brown's status for this weekend's game with Colorado and beyond uncertain, the Garden Plain (Kan.) product hopes to become the last cart in what has seemed like an endless train of running backs to top K-State's depth chart in 2008.
In this week's GoPowercat.com Q&A, Dold talks about his plans to make the most of his largely unexpected opportunity, and his views on the circumstances surrounding his team's most unpredictable position.
At what point in last week did you find out Lamark was out and that you'd be getting the start at A&M? I'm not sure when it was. I think it was early last week. He wasn't practicing, so Coach (Ron Prince) told me I would be getting the reps with the ones. I guess it was just my time.
Overall, were you happy with your performance in your first start. Yeah, I think so. Getting my first start at A&M was a little overwhelming. I rushed for 100 yards though, so the offensive line did a great job. I was happy with it.
Did the days leading up to Saturday's game feel different since you knew you would be the primary ball carrier? It was definitely a little different, but just because it was my first start and it was in College Station of all places. I was nervous heading into the game. Once I got onto the field and started playing, a lot of that stuff went away.
The passing game is what it is, and this running game has been a weak link of sorts. What needs to improve most? The whole thing. It's something we've been trying to improve on all week. Without a strong running game, we know teams will focus more on the pass. The more focus we put on running, teams will have to focus on the running game, too. Both areas open the other one up.
Sometimes, it seems as though there isn't much emphasis put on running around here. Last week, there certainly was, but in other games, maybe not. Is that purely strategic or a case of playing to the team's strengths? If we can't get it open, we're just going to pass the ball. We have to play to win. We're always going to do what we think we have to do to win.
Are the struggles you guys have been having when it comes to moving the ball on the ground more because of the ball carriers or the offensive linemen's ability to run block? It's both. We've been addressing it a lot lately. The linemen and the running backs have been coming in to watch film together lately. That helps us understand each other's jobs.
Is that something that just started? We started doing it more and more as the season has rolled on. I think it's been helping a little bit every week. I think you can see that.
With Texas A&M being as bad against the run as they are, did you know you would be getting a lot of carries going into last weekend? Did you guys talk about the need for the ground game to be a factor? Going in, I actually wasn't sure how often we would run the ball. All that just depends on what specific situations call for. But as we started the game, we were doing good with it. Coach knew we needed to do what we had to do to win, so we kept running the ball. We controlled the clock a lot, especially late in the fourth quarter. That helped us win.
Is that something you guys need to do more of? Can this team benefit from an increased focus on the running game? I think it definitely can. Anytime you can rush a lot, you're going to control the clock. It's also going to keep their offense off the field.
As a running back, How much does it help you when (quarterback Josh Freeman) is able to carry the ball as effectively as he did this weekend? I think it helps a lot because they can't just focus on our running backs. They need to focus in on him now. I'm sure a lot of people can tell you now that he's a hard runner to stop. He's just so big. It gives us another threat in the backfield, and it gives the other team something else to prepare for.
When you signed with K-State prior to this season, could you have imagined getting solid playing time, let alone starts? I mean, with everything that has happened at your position in the last five months - Lamark's move to tailback, and the Leon Patton situation. Did all of this take you off guard? I had no idea I would be able to start here, especially this early. Everything has been crazy, but it has all worked out to where I got the opportunity to start. I have my chance now and I'm going to try to make the best of it.
Before the season started, it looked as if you would be buried on the depth chart behind Leon, Daniel Thomas and maybe even some other guys. That being said, why did you decide to come to K-State? Well, I knew Leon was a great running back and that he still had a couple years left. Then there was a bunch of other young running backs. To tell you the truth, I was a little unsure coming in. I didn't know what to expect. I guess things just worked out for me.
Which other schools were you talking to in high school? It was mostly just the Big 12 schools. Oklahoma State and KU were giving me looks. This was the only school I really wanted to go to though. As soon as K-State offered me, I committed the next day.
So, you grew up a K-State fan? I did. I've been a K-State fan since I was little. My whole family is full of K-State fans, and my home community, (Garden Plain), is mostly K-State fans too. Growing up, I always watched them and came to games. I knew where I wanted to go, and I didn't need to wait to decide.
What was your reaction when this staff move Lamark to running back and slotted him in front of you right away Well, we were definitely having problems with the running game, and he was a good running back in high school. He's good with the ball in his hands. When he came to running back, all the other guys just helped him out.
Did it challenge you to improve your game? I mean, it can't feel great to have a wide receiver come in and get more playing time than you right off the bat. It challenged all the running backs in general. It showed us how much we needed to work on our game. In the back of our minds, we took it as a sign that we all needed to get better.
Well, now you have your chance. Do you think about how good you'll need to be to hold onto this spot after Lamark comes back? Nobody wants to give up their starting spot. The better players are always going to play. I got my opportunity. I'm just going to keep working and try to stay the starter for as long as I can.