By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
2009: 6-6 overall, 4-4 in Big 12.
Starters returning: Offense (7), defense (6).
Bill Snyder’s return to coaching at Kansas State was neither a roaring success nor was it a complete disaster. What you get with a .500 record is the most middle of in between.
But Snyder did prove that he didn’t forget how to coach during his three-year sabbatical. After a rocky 1-2 start, the Wildcats won five of seven games to thrust themselves into the middle of the North Division race. Kansas State, though, couldn’t close the deal. Because only one of their two victories over Division I-AA teams counted toward bowl eligibility, the Wildcats stayed home for the postseason.
As he continues to rebuild what he had originally built, Snyder and his staff must replace some key performers from last season. That includes finding a new quarterback – a position that is always crucial to the success of Snyder-coached teams.
Wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Banks, quarterback Grant Gregory, offensive tackle Nick Stringer, defensive end Jeff Fitzgerald, tight end Jeron Mastrud.
|Defensive end Adam Davis, a transfer from Hutchinson (Kans.) Community College is expected to make an impact up front and help replace Jeff Fitzgerald. Junior-college transfer Sammuel Lamur (whose twin brother Emmanuel is the Wildcats’ starting safety) is also battling for the starting quarterback job.
You’ll hear about
Chris Harper. A Kansas native who started his career at Oregon, Harper sat out last season after transferring to Kansas State. With the Ducks he played both quarterback and receiver but he’s expected to play as a receiver with the Wildcats. His speed and play-making may help make up for the loss of Brandon Banks.
* About midway through spring practice, Bill Snyder found himself on the injury report (at Kansas State, the injury report is guarded like missile launch codes). During a drill, two linemen rolled into their head coach. The 70-year-old Snyder came away with a torn ACL and MCL. Snyder is wearing a brace and says “there’s no pain with it.” He says his normal routine has not been changed and he’s not sure yet about having surgery to repair the damage.
* A year ago, Collin Klein lost out in the battle to be Kansas State’s starting quarterback. Carson Coffman started the opener but eventually gave way to Grant Gregory. With those two taking snaps, Klein was moved to wide receiver. Now the 6-3, 235-pound sophomore is back at quarterback trying win the job … again. "Ultimately, it’s going to be what the team needs at the time they need it," he said. "And I think we’re still developing some identity as an offensive unit. So, (the starter will be) whoever fits that picture the best and who’s best able to serve the team."
* Two players who moved from offensive to defense could play key roles. Sophomore Jarrell Childs switched from running back to linebacker while freshman Ty Zimmerman moved from quarterback to safety. "Ty has put himself into a position that has been impressive," coach Bill Snyder said. "He has what you would expect from a coach's son. He has that global fixture to make the move from quarterback to the secondary and he has a good feel for it and good instincts. I think he will do well."
Coach speak from Bill Snyder
"I'm not looking for ways to take the ball out of Daniel's hands. I think he'll have to have a substantial involvement in what we do on offense."
- On the amount of plays involving senior running back Daniel Thomas
“I would like to mention a youngster that really catches my eye day in and day out. Not that he is without some mistakes. But we always talk about how if you are going to make a mistake, you make them at 100 mph. He is making them at 120 mph, and I love the way he practices and I would feel remiss if I did not mention Braden Wilson. “Braden is just one of those guys that is always on ‘go’ and practices just as hard as one can.”
- On the play of sophomore fullback Braden Wislon
"It was his option. He could have stayed at quarterback, but we had conversations and felt the best opportunity to get on the field the quickest is where he is right now, and he concurred with that."
- On how Oregon transfer Chris Harper wind up at wide receiver instead of quarterback
"It's about like I've indicated all along - I thought we got off to a relatively good start, good retention from the previous season. And then we had our ebbs and flows and the tail end was kind of the same way - kind of up and down, inconsistent. We didn't perform with the consistency that we're capable of doing. We're not real good with our twos and our threes right now ... You have to take the good with the bad, but there was more good than there was bad."
On his overall assessment of spring practice following the spring game.
|Sept. 11||Missouri State|
|Sept. 18||Iowa State* (Kansas City)|
|Sept. 25||Central Florida|
|Oct. 16||at Kansas*|
|Oct. 23||at Baylor*|
|Oct. 30||Oklahoma State*|
|Nov. 13||at Missouri*|
|Nov. 20||at Colorado*|
|Nov. 27||at North Texas|