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Snyder Places High Value on December Practices

By Mark Janssen

Kansas State's football camp reopened for business late last week, and will continue on a three- to four-day a week routine heading into the Christmas holidays, followed by a trip to New York City for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 30.
 
Coach Bill Snyder said that practices during the next three weeks will be "piecemealed" around recruiting trips by coaches, final exams for the players, plus a couple days off for Christmas before returning to Manhattan for a Dec. 26 practice and departure for the Big Apple later that day.

"We take these practices in three directions," said Snyder. "First, we want to spend a great deal of time on fundamentals. Second, we will work exclusively with underclassmen getting them practice time in our system as opposed to preparing as the opponent. And third, we will begin preparation for Syracuse."
 
Snyder said the work of the scout team this fall has been good, but like the rest of the roster, there has been a depth issue.
 
"When guys wear down they can't give you the real picture of what you want," said Snyder.
 
Headliners of that scout team this fall have been 6-foot-1, 223-pound junior linebacker Arthur Brown, a transfer from the Miami Hurricanes, and his younger brother Bryce, a 6-0, 213-pound sophomore running back making the move from Tennessee.
 
The Brown brothers, products of Wichita East High School, are believed to be the only tandem ever to receive 5-Star status by recruiting services.
 
Asked about where they might fit in for the 2011 season, Snyder admitted, "I think both can step in and play."
 
After registering over 460 tackles during his three-year career at East High, Arthur had only limited success with the Hurricanes with a total of 17 tackles in his two playing years when he played the weakside linebacker position as a freshman, and middle linebacker as a sophomore.
 
"He can run, he's physical, has good quickness and has a nose for the football," Snyder said. "Fundamentally, he's been a pretty good player in regards to being in a good football position and it appears he will be a good tackler, as well."
 
As a backup running back for the Vols in 2009, Bryce Brown rushed for 476 yards and scored three touchdowns.
 
With Wichita East, he was clocked at 4.32 in the 40, which helped him rush for 1,472 yards as a freshman, 2,039 as a sophomore, 1,825 as a junior, and 1,873 more yards in his senior season. Those numbers helped earn Brown the Hall Trophy that goes to the No. 1 prep player in the nation.
 
"Bryce has proven to be a multi-purpose back that can run the ball, plus work effectively in a passing game. He's also a more than adequate blocker," Snyder said. "He's not quite as big as Daniel (Thomas), but he's also not a small back. There are a lot of similarities in that both are fluid, run with quickness and can change direction. Bryce is a little faster (than Thomas)."
 
Snyder says it's these December practices with scout team members, plus working with other young players in the program, that helped turn the fortunes of K-State football starting in 1993 when the Wildcats started a run of 11 consecutive postseason years.
 
"Over that period of years of 9-, 10- and 11-victory seasons, being able to bring in better talent, and then having extra days to practice was a great benefit to the growth of our program," said Snyder. "You will never hear me say that there are too many bowl games because I understand how going to some of those early bowl games ... Copper and Aloha ... benefitted our program."
 
"Those early bowl games were a God-send to K-State, and then we were fortunate enough to prolong that streak over an extended period of time," said Snyder.

K-State will face Syracuse December 30 at Yankee Stadium in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN.

Tickets remain for the game in the official K-State block and are in great locations. Those tickets begin at just $100. Fans can purchase tickets through the K-State Athletics Department at the official online bowl headquarters - www.k-statesports.com/bowlgame. Fans may also purchase tickets via phone (1-800-221-CATS) or in person at the Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum through 5:30 p.m., Monday, December 13.