INCONSISTENCIES IN THE K-STATE SPRING CAMP
By Mark Janssen
The first third of the K-State spring practices are in the books with head coach Bill Snyder saying that he has seen progress, but, "I also see the inconsistency of making improvement one day in a certain area and then the next day it levels off, or drops off a little bit."
It's just a part of coaching, especially in the spring when a host of first-timers dot the field on offense and defense, that leaves Snyder antsy about the present, not to mention the future.
"That short 15-practice window does not offer you a lot of time to have patience with inconsistencies that exist," said the Wildcat coach.
Coming off last year's 7-6 season, which included a trip to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Snyder says he has sensed an "excitement" and "enthusiasm" during the off-season, and now into spring camp.
"I think the younger players are making the effort to try to learn as much about the system as much as they can, and I have a great appreciation for that," said Snyder. "We have tried to establish a more positive direction in terms of leadership and we have some young guys who are making the effort to provide the kind of necessary leadership needed for our football team to progress."
This time of the year there are positions to be won, and lost, on an ever-changing depth chart. This season that starts at quarterback as the Wildcats try to replace Carson Coffman.
Collin Klein, a 6-5, 226-pound, junior, tops that chart, but in the next breath Snyder mentions the names of 6-4, 223-pound senior Sammuel Lamur and newcomer Justin Tuggle, a 6-3, 227-pound junior from Blinn College.
All are making improvements, Snyder said. But like with most of the positions, the coach adds, "They climb to a certain level, and then tend to drop off. As much as any position on the field, it needs some consistency to it, but you see the progress being made."
While Klein has the experience, Snyder said of Lamur, "He's right there. He's a very athletic young guy."
Wide receiver Chris Harper said of Lamur, "He's always screaming out there, which can be annoying some times, but you also need somebody that is energetic and brings enthusiasm to practice."
Tuggle, a native of Alpharetta, Ga., started his career at Boston College in 2009 when he threw for 229 yards and four touchdowns in three games. Transferring to Blinn (Texas) College, he passed for 2,015 yards and 17 touchdowns last year, plus rushed for 733 yards and 12 scores.
"He's proven to be a quick learner and is a mobile quarterback, who is capable of running the ball," said Snyder. I admire how much effort he's putting into it and how his transition has been in what he's learned in the classroom and how he's taken it to the practice field. He doesn't make a lot of mental mistakes. He's pretty physical and has shown some leadership. He's not throwing the ball consistently, but he's making progress on where to go with the ball."
Overall, Harper said of the candidates, "All of them are pretty similar. The only difference is playing time. Collin played last year and the others did not. All are dual-type guys. There's not too much difference in them."
"Collin has the experience and he's playing with a lot more confidence," said defensive back David Garrett. "He's getting the ball out quicker, which just comes from another year of experience."
Another position where K-State has no experience in the system is running back where the Wildcats will try to replace Daniel Thomas. Bryce Brown, John Hubert and Robert Rose were the first three names listed by Snyder, but DeMarcus Robinson is also expected to be in the mix.
"We have good depth, which is a plus, but the negative side is we have no experience there," said Snyder.
Snyder said Thomas was slightly bigger than Brown, and a little more fluid runner, but he added, "Bryce has some capabilities, as well. Bryce is learning to be a multi-faceted running back. Daniel had some of those capabilities. He took it to heart that it was important to be a complete player, and Bryce is in the process of learning that."
OTHER WILDCATS TO WATCH FOR:
David Garrett is getting snaps at cornerback, while newcomer Nigel Malone of City College of San Francisco is the other name mentioned most. Snyder said "seven or eight" guys are in the mix, plus fall transfers in Kip Daily of Blinn College and Allen Chapman of City College of San Francisco.
"We're not as deep as we want to be, so we have David working at two positions," said Snyder. "He can play inside or outside."
Another popular new name to the secondary is safety Tanner Burns, who transferred a year ago from San Jose State.
"He has that swag," said Garrett. "He brings a lot of enthusiasm to the team."
Names surfacing at defensive end are Adam Davis (6-0, 254, Jr.), who redshirted last year after transferring from Hutchinson Community College, and Meshak Williams (6-4, 235, Jr.), a transfer from Hutchinson Community College.
"He's (Williams) preformed reasonably well for someone new to the system," said Snyder. "He's learning something every day, and improving every day."
And of Adams, the Wildcat coach said, "He's progressing more rapidly than I thought."
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