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Kansas State Plugging Holes And Gearing Up
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

2013 record: 8-5 overall, 5-4 in Big 12, defeated Michigan, 31-14, in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Returning starters: 6 on offense, 4 on defense.

Top players returning: Senior QB Jake Waters, junior QB/WR Daniel Sams, senior WR Tyler Lockett, senior C B.J. Finney, junior OL Cody Whitehair, senior DE Ryan Mueller, junior DL Travis Britz.

Key players to replace: RB John Hubert, OT Cornelius Lucas, OT Tavon Rooks, OG Keenan Taylor, S Ty Zimmerman, LB Blake Slaughter, WR Tramaine Thompson.

Spring review
As Season Six of the Bill Snyder Era 2.0 approaches, not much has changed or is changing in Manhattan. The Wildcats usually finish higher than predicted and Snyder spends the spring and summer worrying about his team will compete.

Snyder's success in two stints at Kansas State is built on an uncompromising attention to detail. And when he doesn't see that on the practice field, he's blunt.

"I have some of the same concerns as last year," Snyder said. "My concerns center around being consistent week in and week out, day in and day out and repetition after repetition. My number two concern is that we do not take ourselves for granted. We always talk about not taking an opponent for granted, or anything else in life, and certainly not taking our own performance for granted.

"You have a good practice and then you turn around and you don't have a good practice. That makes it up and down and you cannot be successful that way."

That sort of gloom and doom, though, usually turns into Snyder getting his message across. No matter the amount of roster churn, the Wildcats find a way to finish in the top half of the standings. This season, K-State has a veteran quarterback in Jake Waters, one of the nation's top receiving threats in Tyler Lockett and a defense that needs to replace seven starters.

"We are definitely looking forward to the season," said senior defensive end Ryan Mueller, a former walk on. "We have a lot of leadership back on this defense. We have experience and we are fast."

Quick slants
*Kansas State's spring game has typically been a high-scoring affair with quarterbacks calling their own plays (pass plays, more often than not). But this year's contest to wrap up spring practice was a defensive battle as the purple team (starters) defeated the white team (backups), 23-13. The glass is half full (the defense looked good) or half empty (the offense struggled). A worthwhile note – receiver Tyler Lockett, one of the Big 12's most dynamic offensive players, didn't play because of a minor injury.

*Finding a replacement for steady and productive running back John Hubert continues to be a challenge. He started 36 of the last 38 games for K-State. Senior DeMarcus Robinson plus sophomores Jarvis Leverett and Charles Jones and freshman Dalvin Warmack are all candidates to get carries but none have experience. Warmack will get his first practice snaps in August.

*Before Kansas State's spring game, plans were announced for a campaign to fund Phase Three of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan. Estimated to cost $65 million, the plan includes a new Vanier Football Complex plus a new north end zone seating area and video board on that end of the stadium.

Coach Bill Snyder on …
The offensive struggling in the spring game:
"The offense has not been disciplined during the course of the spring. Penalties are the biggest thing. We have had some turnover issues and we turned over the ball today again when we had an opportunity to go in and score. If you are excited about beating yourself you better be excited about losing, because that is what is going to happen."

The continuity on the coaching staff, which had to replace two assistants before the 2013 season:
"It is a plus to have all of your staff returning, but it is a plus only if that staff continues to grow and continues to provide the foundation for our players to improve on a regular basis. The longer that you are in a position the more susceptible you are to taking certain aspects for granted. We need to be awfully careful about that."

The development of junior linebacker Charmeachealle Moore:
"He has progressed. He still has an awful lot of improvement to make but he has been reasonably consistent in the improvement that he has made, the knowledge he has of our defense and being able to react to things in a reasonable fashion."

2014 Schedule

Aug. 30 Stephen F. Austin
Sept. 6 at Iowa State*
Sept. 18 Auburn
Sept. 27 UTEP
Oct. 4 Texas Tech*
Oct. 18 at Oklahoma*
Oct. 25 Texas*
Nov. 1 Oklahoma State
Nov. 8 at TCU*
Nov. 20 at West Virginia*
Nov. 29 Kansas*
Dec. 6 at Baylor*

* - Big 12 Conference game.

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