Thursday, March 30, 2006

Big 12 Spring Review: Kansas State

The Kansas State Wildcats began their spring practices on Monday with a new coach for the first time in 17 years. While the absences of Bill Snyder couldn’t help but be noticed Prince was ready to get his team out on the field.

“Fans and players love the games, but coaches love practice,” Prince said, “To be able to teach your players and go into your lab, your classroom so to speak, is really when the coaches have the most fun. Spring ball, for coaches, is probably our most enjoyable time all year.”

Kansas State has 41 returning lettermen, including 20 starters back from last year’s 5-6 team. However according to Prince there are no positions set just yet and the depth chart will be updated throughout the spring.

“One of the biggest things we want to try to accomplish is to create some competitive tension,” Prince said in reference to his goals for the spring. “We will ask our players to compete for playing time, which is why we really haven’t made up our mind about any of the depth chart issues yet. I am really excited to see which kids have competitive toughness and want to perform when something is on the line.”

Despite trying to find out who is going to win what position the Wildcats are also installing a new playbook. “These are really the first 15 days of (fall) training camp,” said Prince. “But we won’t be trying to put everything in our systems all at once. There will also be all the nuts and bolts of football, because we are dealing with a lot of kids up and down the roster that really need that at this time. We will be very basic. We’ll install our systems and try to make sure that our young people understand the big picture of what we are trying to get done.”

The Wildcats return nine starters from last season’s offense that averaged 26.3 points per game and will be led by one of five quarterbacks in camp competing for the starting job.

The frontrunner will be sophomore-to-be Allan Evridge, who started six games at quarterback for the Wildcats during 2005 and ended the year as the most prolific freshman passer in school history (1,365 yards/6 touchdowns).

Allen Webb, who has gained nearly 2,000 yard of total offense over the past two seasons, started five games in both 2004 and 2005 and returns for his senior season as does Dylan Meier, who missed all of 2005 with an injury after starting six games as a sophomore in 2004 and passing for just under 1,500 yards.

Redshirt freshman Kevin Lopina and true freshman Josh Freeman are also expected to compete for the starting job.

Thomas Clayton is expected to win the running back spot. He started eight games last season and ran for 637 yards including three games of 100 yards or more. He finished the year ranked eighth in the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 70.8 yards per game, and scored five touchdowns.

The Wildcats also return eight starters from last season’s defense. That could be good or bad depending on how you look at it because KSU gave up almost 28 points per game in 2005. They will be led by senior linebacker Brandon Archer who has been the leading tackler the past two seasons.

2006 Kansas State Football Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Sat, Sep 02 Illinois State Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Sep 09 Florida Atlantic Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Sep 16 Marshall Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Sep 23 Louisville Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Sep 30 Baylor at Waco, Texas
Sat, Oct 07 Oklahoma State Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Oct 14 Nebraska Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Oct 21 Missouri at Columbia, Mo.
Sat, Oct 28 Iowa State Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Nov 04 Colorado at Boulder, Colo.
Sat, Nov 11 Texas Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Nov 18 Kansas at Lawrence, Kan.