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September 2010 Archives

Wildcat Women Go to 'Simulated' War

By Mark Janssen
 
 
It's safe to say that Branshea Brown, Brittany Chambers, Kelsey Hill and the rest of the K-State women's basketball gang are better shooters on the court than on the artillery range.
 
First round: 13 hits on targets out of 283 rounds, or 4.6 percent.
 
Second round: 30 connections out of 371 rounds, or 8.1 percent.
 

Letter from AD John Currie -- September 29

Greetings from Dallas, where this week I am attending meetings of the Division I-A Athletics Directors and Big 12 Conference AD's.  

I would like to start off today by thanking each of you who weathered the storm with us this past weekend at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and returned in full force to help lift the Wildcats to a big win over UCF. We appreciated your patience and orderly cooperation as we waited for the storm to move through the area, and your dedication was observed by millions on national television once the game resumed play.  I'm grateful to our operations staff and law enforcement folks who worked together. As we review our emergency management plans please don't hesitate to email your observations and experiences - as always you can go to the TELL JOHN link on the front page of k-statesports.com and let me know what you think.

Saturday's attendance of 50,586 marked the first time since 2004 we have had two games over 50,000 in the same season. Our attendance of 150,106 is also the largest for the first three non-conference games in our history.

Cats Keeping Attitude in Check

By Mark Janssen
 
 
To the Wildcats, all is working out for the good.
 
According to senior center Wade Weibert, even the bad is for the good.
 
"That last game was a big slap in the face to us. It was something that we needed. We're supposed to be a blue collar team, but we weren't on that day. It's not that we took Central Florida for granted, but we took our record for granted.
 
"We were 3-0, and we took for granted that 4-0 was going to come just by showing up," said Weibert. "That was false thinking. It was a slap in the face that couldn't have come at a better time."
 

Doug Dickey Visits K-State

By Mark Janssen
 
 
The Dickey name has been most significant in Kansas State athletic history.
 
There was the legendary quarterback Lynn Dickey in the late 1960s, who still holds Wildcat passing records. There was coach Jim Dickey, who led K-State to its first-ever postseason bowl game in 1982. And, there was Jim's son, Darrell Ray, who quarterbacked that '82 team to the Independence Bowl.
 
But another Dickey that isn't as well known in K-State history is Doug Dickey, who was a visitor to the K-State campus and Bill Snyder Family Stadium this past weekend when the Wildcats took on Central Florida.
 
Dickey, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, is the former head football coach at Tennessee from 1964-69, and the athletics director of the Volunteer program from 1985-2002.
 

Cats Showing Character

By Mark Janssen

 
Bill Snyder will turn 71 years of age in just over a week, and this year's football team is making him feel every one of those nearly 26,000 days of life.
 
Consider:
 
UCLA - K-State trailed 10-7 early and led by only slim margins in the fourth quarter - 17-16 and 24-22 - before a Daniel Thomas touchdown with 58 seconds left made it a 31-22 victory over the Bruins.

Coffman, Offense to the Rescue

By Mark Janssen
 

Center Wade Weibert called it "relaxed urgency."
 
Defined, that means, "When you're trying to move too fast, it can get chaotic. When you're in an urgency mode, you're moving fast but with a purpose, and you're executing. We were moving fast, but we were keeping calm."
 
The result was a 13-play, 67-yard drive that was completed by a game-winning 7-yard touchdown run by Kansas State quarterback Carson Coffman with 24 seconds left in a game. It was the Wildcats only lead on a stormy Saturday afternoon at a sold-out Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Cats to be Challenged by Speedy Knights

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Kansas State is hoping that a couple trends continue and another ends today when the Wildcats host the Knights of Central Florida at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
 
Trend 1: K-State has won its three collective first quarters by a 17-0 count against UCLA, Missouri State and Iowa State.
 
Asked how pleased he was with that statistic, Wildcat coach Bill Snyder semi-quipped, "It's like asking whether I'd rather be dead or alive. I'd rather win than lose. Whatever it is (17-0) is better than the alternative."

Wildcat Fans From Afar

By Mark Janssen
 
Visualize, if you will, hundreds of soldiers doing the "Wabash Cannonball" routine. Some are in full uniform and others in their relaxed gear of a variety of purple on white, white on purple t-shirts, all, of course, decorated with the K-State Powercat.
 
"We had a lot of fun with that. I think we sent K-State 30 minutes of raw footage that I hope can be put to music and have it shown at Fort Riley Day," said Division Command Sergeant Major Jim Champagne, who is currently in charge of the Fort Riley's First Infantry Division in Basrah, Iraq. "You can't see the purple outside our building, but my office, and in several other cubicles, there are shrines to K-State.
 
"I have a note from Frank Martin, and Joni Smoller (K-State's Director of Fan Experience) has sent us all the team posters," said Champagne. "I'm telling you, the Powercat is everywhere."

K-State Distance Runners Maturing

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Mike Smith knows his cross country programs are battling with a short stick when it comes to scholarships specified for the distance runners, but he is encouraged by the improvement his runners have made over last year.
 
"In cross country, you're measured by one meet, which is the Big 12," said Smith of the event slated for Stillwater, Okla., on Oct. 30, which is also where the Wildcats will run on Saturday at the Cowboy Jamboree. "By the end of the year, we want to run to the level we have in past years, if not a place or two higher."
 

Part 2: Gibson a K-State Icon

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" concludes a two-part story on Kansas State Hall of Famer Vince Gibson, who coached the Wildcat football program from 1967-1974.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Vince Gibson hit the ground on a dead sprint upon his hiring as Kansas State's head football coach prior to the 1967 season.
 
Speaking at a Salina Catbacker event, he offered, "I don't think K-State people realize what a great school they have and the potential it offers in the competitive area of collegiate football. Don't let anyone tell you that this is an impossible job because of the losing tradition here. Now is the time when Kansas State can become a legend in the annals of collegiate football. But let me assure you, this job is not for the timid, the skeptic or the lazy."

Gibson a K-State Icon

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" begins a two-part story on Kansas State Hall of Famer Vince Gibson, who coached the Wildcats from 1967-1974. Today's look will include bringing "Purple Pride" to the Flint Hills. Tomorrow, Gibson will tell us where he's been since his days as football coach of the Wildcats.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Bill Snyder has often said it took a "diminutive IQ" for him to accept the Kansas State head football coaching position in 1989 when the Wildcats were on an out-of-control 0-26-1 skid over the previous two-plus years.
 
Well, in his own words, Vince Gibson said the same thing about saying "I do" to the K-State football coaching position in 1967.

Powell Has Emotion-Filled Weekend

By Mark Janssen
 
 
This will come as a surprise to most, but William Powell - the guy so many have said needs more touches, the guy who leads the Big 12 in kickoff returns, the guy who is this week's Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week - was not on scholarship until this past Friday.
 
Through a text, Powell was summoned to the Vanier Football Complex.
 
"I wouldn't necessarily say that I had a hunch, but it's always in your head, like maybe this is the time," Powell said of what he was thinking when he was asked to come in for a visit with Bill Snyder.

Letter from AD John Currie -- September 21

Let me start off by re-capping a terrific weekend in Kansas City as Wildcat Nation painted the city purple. I spent Friday traveling around KC to several meetings, as well as circling town on a mini media tour. There was a definite buzz in the stadium on Saturday as the Wildcats improved to 3-0 on the season with a big win over division foe Iowa State. As Laird Veatch and I pulled into the Arrowhead parking lot at 730 a.m. there were already thousands of K-Staters hard at work tailgating and getting ready.

We have a lot of exciting things going on inside K-State Athletics as the fall season moves on and more of our teams are beginning competition. So here's a quick update this week from inside the department:

Garrett: Little Man in a Big Man's Game

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Bill Snyder jokingly calls David Garrett his "midget in size 16 shoes."
 
Well, Garrett isn't a midget, and he doesn't wear size 16 shoes, but he is a small man playing in a game of big men.
 
"I'd say 5-8 ... (pausing and flashing a smile) ... OK, 5-7 and maybe 180 pounds," said Garrett, the Wildcat junior defensive back when quizzed about his small stature. Laughing, he added, "It tickles me inside when I hear people say I'm too small to play in the Big 12."

K-State Drives It, But Gives up Drives

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Saturday was a day for drives. Long ones and sustained ones. Some good, others bad.
 
In Kansas State's 27-20 victory over Iowa State at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas State moved the ball 64, 67, 59, 54 and 83 yards with each possession numbering nine to 13 plays.
 
That's the good.

Wildcat Run Game the Difference

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Kansas State ran, and then ran it some more ... and some more.
 
It's not the balance coach Bill Snyder wants from his team, but for the second straight week, he summarized, "We won."

Cats Open Big 12 Play at Arrowhead

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium hasn't been dubbed "Bill Snyder Family Stadium East" as of yet, but it is a venue where Kansas State has won four times in five tries heading into this morning's 11 a.m. kickoff against Iowa State in the Big 12 opener to the 2010 season.
 
"The Chiefs have been terrific hosts," said Kansas State's athletics director John Currie. "It's a world-class facility that is in a huge market for us."

Cats Excited About Big 12 Opener in Arrowhead

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Teams don't have to open Big 12 play with a victory to have a successful season, but it certainly is the preference.
 
In fact, in 2003 when the Wildcats won the Big 12 Championship, they were 0-2 after two conference games but then won the next six regular-season league games, plus the title game.
 
But to the K-State players entering Saturday's 11 a.m. league opener with Iowa State, they think this one scheduled for Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium is vital to the success of the rest of the season.

Roberson Reflects on Arrowhead Championship Moment

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Ell Roberson called it, "Our defining moment. We had won a lot of games, and gone to bowl games, but this was the Big 12 Championship."
 
That's true for him, for the Roberson-Darren Sproles backfield tandem and for the 1999 recruiting class.
 
"That was a highly-talented class," said Roberson, clicking off the names of Josh Buhl, Bryan Hickman, Andrew Shull and Nick Leckey. "It wasn't a perfect year, but it was a perfect way to end that season ... with a Big 12 title.

Wildcats Attend Fort Riley's 9/11 Ceremonies

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Last Saturday was a day for remembering 9/11 for the Kansas State athletics department.
 
For the nearly 50,000 attending the Saturday night football game against Missouri State, there was a moment of silence at Bill Snyder Family Stadium for those who lost their lives during the attack on America nine years ago.
 
Earlier in the day, the Kansas State men's basketball team attended the 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony that took place at the Cavalry Parade Field at Fort Riley.

Thomas Continues Growth at Position

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Daniel Thomas set the record straight Tuesday.
 
It was the former coaching staff that recruited Thomas as a running back, and it was Bill Snyder with the idea that he should be a quarterback.
 
So Daniel, why did the Wildcat coaching legend change his mind?
 
"Probably when he saw me throwing out there in seven-on-seven," quipped Thomas.

Cats, Hawks Open Big 12 Play

By Mark Janssen
 
 
To hear Kansas State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz talk, it really is "just another match" ... just one of 20 in Big 12 play.
 
The match in question is tonight at 7 p.m. in Ahearn Field House as 5-5 Kansas State opens the Big 12 season against the 9-2 Kansas Jayhawks.
 
"No more emphasis or no less emphasis than we put on any other match," Fritz said of opening a league year against an archrival. "I think there's a natural excitement about the match because of all of the Kansas kids involved, and it is a rivalry, but I don't put any more emphasis on playing Kansas."

Position Switches Working Like a Charm


By Mark Janssen
 
 
Bill Snyder has been magical in years past of fitting Player A into Hole B. In the message of this story, that's moving Jarell Childs from third- or fourth-team running back to first-team "Will" linebacker, and flipping fourth- or fifth-team quarterback Ty Zimmerman into a backup defensive safety.
 
Here are their stories.

Quarles: Nothing Tougher Than Watching

PROFILING THE CATS
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
What's the toughest thing about the game of football?
 
Kansas State wide receiver Aubrey Quarles says, "It's watching. Watching a team have some success and not be a part of it, or watching your team not have success and not being able to do anything about it. That's murder."

Kansas State 48, Missouri State 24

By Mark Janssen
 
 
The good news is, Coach Bill Snyder said, "We won."
 
But that was about it, as the Wildcat coach said of Saturday's 48-24 victory over Missouri State.
 
"We didn't play very well, and that's true on both sides of the ball. We're not a very consistent football team on either side."
 
In particular, Snyder was steamed about giving up 24 points and 447 yards to a Football Championship Subdivision football team, and he was peeved at a 3-of-10 ratio on third-down plays, and he wasn't happy one bit about allowing Missouri State to drive the ball 99 yards in 18 plays in the fourth quarter.

Snyder Liked Defensive Effort

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Bill Snyder never likes to see his club give up 22 points, and he doesn't like the fact that UCLA had two fourth-quarter scores. But overall, he said of the Kansas State defense, "I was pleased. I was really pleased with their effort. They were competitive. They were fighting, clawing and scratching. I did not see anyone, at any time, let up."
 
Now, he wants to see that effort duplicated tonight in a 6:10 p.m. kickoff against Missouri State ... without giving up the 22 points and without allowing two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
 
Alex Hrebec led the defenders last week with a dozen tackles, while Brandon Harold had five stops with one quarterback sack, a forced fumble and a pass block. Tysyn Hartman and David Garrett added six tackles each.

Fritz Looking for Consistency

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Coaches strive for consistency. Deb Patterson does, Frank Martin does, Bill Snyder certainly does and so does Suzie Fritz with her Kansas State women's volleyball team.
 
"Through the weekend, I honestly thought we played better and better with each match, which is all we can ask for," said Fritz of the Wildcats' sweep of Loyola Marymount, Oral Roberts and Georgia Tech in the Varney's Invitational.
 
But then came practice on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Letter from AD John Currie -- September 9

First off, THANK YOU Wildcat fans for making last weekend a huge success - not only did we set a new football attendance record for a home-opener (that's two years in a row!) but your support and presence led to a Wildcat Weekend sweep in football, volleyball and cross country!

Here's a quick update this week from inside K-State Athletics:

Snyder Not a Big Fan of New Wedge Rule

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Those long kickoff returns you're use to seeing from Kansas State are going to be harder and harder to come by these days.
 
The reason is a 2010 rule change that makes the three-man blocking wedge on kickoffs illegal for safety reasons.
 
"The NFL did a two-year study on the wedge with the finding being that it was a major area of the game where concussions came from," said Phil Laurie, a Big 12 Conference observer and grader of officials. "With the wedge, the kicking team had a designated wedge buster, and the medical people found it was where concussions were taking place."

Hanson Answers Early Call

By Mark Janssen
 
 
For most non-starters in a football game, it's only natural to be in a bit of a coast-mode at kickoff time. The level of attention simply isn't as sharp as for the 11 starters.
 
But for Zach Hanson, that old football adage of being just one snap away from being in the fire of action came true on the third snap of the game against UCLA.

Cantele Answers Call

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Anthony Cantele admits, "It took some time to adjust to the different shape."
 
Cantele, a sophomore product of Wichita's Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School, was more comfortable kicking a round soccer ball, but now he is taking aim on the funny shaped oblong one that has points on each end.
 
"It was good to have a year to sit out and just work on technique and the transition back into football," said the 5-foot-11, 188-pound sophomore. "At Missouri State, I wasn't associated with the football team. I just played soccer."

Weibert: From Tears to Cheers

PROFILE
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Wade Weibert is living a dream.
 
He wanted to play Division I football. He wanted to wear the purple and white of Kansas State.
 
As an 11-year-old growing up in Hillsboro, Kan., he reflects, "I'm embarrassed to say it, but I remember crying when we lost to Texas A&M in that (1998 Big 12) championship game. I was devastated. I don't even think I knew that we would have played for the national championship, but I knew we lost, so I cried."

One of the Best All-Time Opening Wins

PERSPECTIVE
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Only time will tell how meaningful Saturday's 31-22 victory over UCLA will be, but for now it has to rank as one of Kansas State's all-time game one victories.
 
While certainly not pristine, the Wildcats did show resiliency in earning a lead to open the second half, and then answering on each occasion after the LA boys' scored.

K-State Rides Thomas to Season-Opening Win

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Daniel Thomas may not have a driver's license (really, he doesn't) to manipulate a car down the road, but driving a football he's legal... and lethal.
 
The Wildcat running back established a career high of 234 yards on 28 carries to carry Kansas State to a season-opening 31-22 victory over UCLA Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
 
"That's good. I didn't even know that I had it," said Thomas of his rushing total. "The offensive line did a great job opening holes, so all I had to do was run through them."

Just How Good Will These Wildcats Be?

PERSPECTIVE
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
OK, it's time to answer the question that yours truly at "K-State Sports Extra" has been peppered with since the Wildcats' fall camp opened.
 
You know the one. You've been asking it yourself. The one that goes, "How good will Kansas State be in 2010?"

Are You Ready For Some Football?

By Mark Janssen
 
 
As they say, you can't win them all without winning that first one.
 
Bill Snyder-coached teams are always trying to win them all BUT by winning games one at a time.
 
"You've got to play 12 ballgames, and our approach has always been the same and that's one game at a time," said Snyder, who is set to open his 19th season as head coach of the Wildcats today in a 2:30 p.m. ABC televised game against UCLA. "It's important for our young guys to approach it that same way.
 
"We can't let this game ... win or lose, play well or not play well ... have an impact on the next day or the next ballgame," said Snyder.

Thomas: Don't Ask Him for a Ride

Editor's Note: Very few times does a player with the talents of Daniel Thomas come through the Wildcat Nation. "K-State Sports Extra" thought you'd enjoy meeting Mr. Thomas ... the person. Today, we finalize a five-part feature on K-State's No. 8.
 
The son of Southern Baptist ministers Jerald and Louella Thomas, K-State's "DT" leads his total life through this scripture: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." -- Colossians 3:23

 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
One thing is for certain about K-State's "DT." You will not see him driving around.
 
Sheepishly, Daniel Thomas says, "I don't even have a driver's license. I still only have a learner's permit."
 
With a soft chuckle, the 22-year-old All-American, Doak Walker and Maxwell Award candidate adds, "Yes sir, I still need an adult with me to be legal. There's no reason, and I can drive, but I just never got into driving that much so I didn't finish all the tests."

'Momma Bear' Takes Care of Her Cubs

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By Mark Janssen
 
 
She turns 22 years of age on the 28th of this month, but to her teammates, JuliAnne Chisholm says, "I'm Momma Bear ... the grandma."
 
And like a good momma bear would do, Chisholm is doing her best to care for her nine freshmen Kansas State volleyball cubs.
 
Laughing, Chisholm says, "If it's a bad day, they come to me and ask if we can make some chocolate chip or chocolate peanut butter cookies, then we'll talk about what happened during the day or at practice. I always have cookie stuff on hand. It happens frequently."

John Currie Sept 1 Live Chat Transcript

Athletics Director John Currie held a live chat with K-State fans on September 1. A full transcript of the chat is now available

Thomas: Returning Never a Question

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Editor's Note: Very few times does a player with the talents of Daniel Thomas come through the Wildcat Nation. "K-State Sports Extra" thought you'd enjoy meeting Mr. Thomas ... the person. We'll continue to introduce K-State's No. 8 to you with a five-part feature this week: The son of a preacher; A lapse in faith and focus; Becoming a Wildcat; Returning as a Wildcat; and Mr. Humble.
 
The son of Southern Baptist ministers Jerald and Louella Thomas, K-State's "DT" leads his total life through this scripture: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." -- Colossians 3:23
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
It was at mid-season last year that Daniel Thomas started getting pestered by agents. By the end of the season, he was projected as a third-round draft choice and was encouraged to leave K-State early bypassing his senior season.
 
Encouraged, but never considered, he says.

Foketi to Make Early Start

By Mark Janssen
 
 
From his native land of Tonga, Kansas State's Manase Foketi (Muh-NAH-see FOE-kettie) simply says of his new home in Kansas, "It's different."
 
Oh, Foketi wasn't really raised in the South Pacific, but that is where the soon-to-be 20-year-old was born and where he's returned in the South Pacific to visit family a number of times.
 
"It's slow ... like in Hawaii," said Foketi of the Tongan lifestyle.

Coffman to be 'The Man'

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Saying that all of the quarterback candidates have had their "ups and downs ... good days and others not so good," coach Bill Snyder officially announced Monday that Carson Coffman would be Kansas State's starter on Saturday against UCLA.
 
"The important things are the consistent factor, not turning the ball over, managing the game, throwing the ball to the appropriate spots and decision making abilities," said Snyder.
 

Thomas: What a Talent

September 1, 2010
 
 
Editor's Note: Very few times does a player with the talents of Daniel Thomas come through the Wildcat Nation. "K-State Sports Extra" thought you'd enjoy meeting Mr. Thomas ... the person. We'll continue to introduce K-State's No. 8 to you with a five-part feature this week: The son of a preacher; A lapse in faith and focus; Becoming a Wildcat; Returning as a Wildcat; and Mr. Humble.
 
The son of Southern Baptist ministers Jerald and Louella Thomas, K-State's "DT" leads his total life through this scripture: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." -- Colossians 3:23

 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Daniel Thomas was a quarterback at Hilliard High and again at Northwest Mississippi Community College, before initially working out as a wide receiver at K-State. Eventually, he found his home at running back once the season started.
 
"I missed being 'the guy' at first because the quarterback is 'the man' of the offense. (Pause) But he's also 'the man' when you lose," Thomas said with a chuckle. "I only threw it about 10 times a game, but I missed throwing the deep ball. Usually, it was just drop back, wait two or three seconds, and take off and run."