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Wildcats rally around quarterback Will Howard while Thompson recovers

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:09 PM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - History’s almost repeating itself.

“It’s kind of like deja vu,” Chris Klieman, Kansas State head football coach, said. “I saw that same scenario a year ago.”

Out goes Thompson.

“Life’s not fair, and we all know that sometimes you’re dealt those hands that you don’t typically deserve.” Klieman said.

In returns Howard.

“I think I’ve got a good feeling about this weekend.” Will Howard, Kansas State quarterback, said.

Will Howard is back under center. After an earlier than expected start to his Wildcats career in 2020, he’s more ready to return to the spotlight.

“This isn’t our first rodeo with this, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time, one play at a time, changing our mentality,” Howard said. “Just an attack mentality every day. Not taking any steps back.”

He’s grown since his last stint as the starter. In a literal sense and metaphorically.

“I feel like the pace of the game has slowed down a lot for me,” Howard said. “Obviously last year, as tough as it was, it gave me a lot of reps that I didn’t have before this. I feel like a different player physically.”

Surrounding the young quarterback is a team that believes in him.

“A whole bunch of confidence,” Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State running back, said. “That’s our guy.”

“He knows the offense really well,” Josh Rivas, Kansas State offensive lineman, said. “He’s a smart football player. So, I feel like he’ll do a good job.”

“He’s the next man up and we’re going to rally behind him,” Vaughn said. “We’re all going to rise up with him and we’re going to go play some football. And in that man I have 100 percent confidence in Will Howard and what he can do.”

It’s a team effort to keep the ship straight while Thompson recovers.

“Everybody needs to raise their level of play when you lose a really good player like we did with Skylar (Thompson),” Klieman said. “It is next man up, and we have to plug in the next player at whatever position is, but the positions around those guys in the positions on the other side, they have to raise their level of play.”

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