FINNEY IN THE CENTER OF O-LINE SUCCESS
By Mark Janssen
BJ Finney fits the image of that 1950s lineman that would totally accept wearing the leather helmet and going to battle in the trenches.
Chuckling at the notion, the 6-foot-4, 292-pounder ... topped with an old-fashion crew cut, said, "Everybody tells me I'm old fashion and maybe too mature for my age. My dad and uncle were in the Marines and I had two uncles in the Navy, so I was raised in a disciplined home and had an old-fashion upbringing. Yeah, I consider myself old fashion."
"They told me if I worked hard, they would find a place for me somewhere on the field," said Finney, who as a 2-Star recruit was not only adjusting from high school to the Big 12, but also from offensive tackle to center.
Finney made sure that he was noticed during his scout team redshirt season as he earned the Scout Team Player of the Year Award.
"That meant a lot to me and my family," said Finney, who plans to major in pre-med. "Coach (Bill) Snyder talked to me about taking advantage of the opportunity (on the scout team). He said how some guys sit back and don't take advantage of the year, but I knew if I wanted to get my name in there, I would have to work hard. The award was payment for working hard that first semester."
While still a walk-on, Finney admits to the thought of being rewarded with the free education pass next fall if he maintains his starting status as center on the offensive line. "My family and I are paying for my education right now and it's taken a toll on our bank account. Coach knows I'm not going anywhere, and he has said it could be in the works if I continue to work hard."
On coming to K-State as a walk-on over a scholarship offer from Ohio, Finney said, "We take pride in the family environment here, and it's really real. You come in on a visit and you really feel the family, the brotherhood and the camaraderie that we all have."
While it's been his own blood, sweat and tears that has put him at the top of the depth chart, Finney is quick to pass along the credit to others.
That starts with 2010 starting center Wade Weibert.
"He was a huge help on everything. If my footwork was bad, he would walk me through the steps bit by bit," said Finney. "If I was calling a play wrong, he would come back and tell me what to do differently. And, (Zach) Kendall was a huge help in teaching me what the guards were supposed to do."
In addition, Finney saluted his position coach Charlie Dickey.
"Coach Dickey is a wonderful man. I cannot praise him enough," said Finney. "He's your coach, but he's also just there to talk to."
Starting with Saturday's Spring Game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Finney said his goal was to "... develop and get better. Coach Snyder and the team are depending on me. Coach wants me to strive to get better, so that's what I'll try to do on Saturday."
On his contribution, to date, Finney said, "I think I'm doing a decent job. The coaches aren't yelling at me too much. I don't think I've had too many missed assignments."
High on Finney's current game is Snyder, who understands the difficulty of the position, which to a degree captains the offensive line.
"You've got hands between your legs and people are moving all over the place that you have to identify who they are, where they are, and which way to block them," said Snyder. "He's still a freshman and has never played the position before, so it's not an easy task.
"Every day is valuable to him, and he makes it that way," continued the Wildcat coach. "I appreciate his desire to be the best that he can possibly be. He's made constant improvement. He's dedicated himself to make it constant."
What Finney has been is a consistent winner. His Andale High team lost three games in four seasons, and on the wrestling mat he lost one match in his final two seasons.
Still, he says, "I don't think I have to win to define me. Anybody that has seen me wrestle or anybody that knows me, knows I don't have to win. It doesn't define me."
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