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SPRING FOOTBALL STORY LINES

Also See: Kynard Jumps NCAA Top Mark of Season at Texas Relays

By Mark Janssen    

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State spring football drills are under way with each session pointed to the Annual Purple-White game scheduled for 1:10 p.m. on April 30 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Here are a handful of points of interest, if not areas of emphasis, as the season concludes its first week.

STARTING AT QUARTERBACK WILL BE...
At each and every position, coach Bill Snyder says spring camp has opened as the regular season concluded with the returning players.

Further defines, that means that Collin Klein, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior, has the starting quarterback position in hand.

As a freshman, Klein played wide receiver before moving back to his regular position of quarterback last fall. He played in nine games with two of those being starts. He completed 11-of-18 passes (61 percent) for 165 yards and one touchdown, plus rushed for 430 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and six touchdowns.

"We'll be looking for Collin to expand his abilities and become more of a solid passer for us," said offensive coordinator Del Miller.

Coach Bill Snyder added of Klein, "He's shown his ability to be an effective runner, but he needs more of an opportunity to throw the ball, and I think he has that ability."

Breaking Klein's game down in four areas, Snyder said, "He's done a nice job in terms of leadership with his teammates, he's good at running the football, his mental aspect of the game has grown considerably, but we need to continue to enhance his total skill package, which includes throwing the football."

Having been in the program for a year, Sammuel Lamur is next on the depth chart. The 6-4, 210-pound senior completed all three of his passes for 28 yards in a couple games last year, plus rushed three times for 20 yards.

Snyder said of the transfer from Joliet Community College, "He brings good speed to the position and has the ability to provide quality leadership. He's an enthusiastic young player, who has the ability to throw the ball. We need to enhance his decision-making capabilities, but he's made great strides in learning the offense."

Third in line is Blinn College transfer Justin Tuggle, a 6-3, 228-pound junior. The Alpharetta, Ga., native was ranked a 3-Star juco quarterback after passing for 2,015 yards and 17 touchdowns, plus rushing for 733 yards and a dozen TDs in his sophomore season.

Like with most transfer players, Snyder said, "We'll have to wait and see, but he's worked hard in the off-season camp. He's a sizeable youngster and we like the way he runs. He has that natural athletic ability, but now he's going through the process of learning the offense and we're seeing how well he throws the ball."

While the talents of Carson Coffman were belittled for the majority of the 2010 season, whoever his replacement is will be taking the spot of an individual in Coffman who completed 65 percent of his passes, which set a school record for a single season.

JUST HOW GOOD ARE THESE BROWN BROTHERS?    
Arthur and Bryce Brown are on that list of greatest Wildcat players ... who have never played a down.

Products of Wichita East High School, Arthur started his career with the Miami Hurricanes after being ranked the No. 1 player in Kansas and No. 2 prep linebacker in the country in his senior season in 2007.

He played in a total of 23 Hurricane games in 2008 and 2009, but the 6-1, 233-pound junior enjoyed only modest success recording just 17 total tackles.

"He's a detail-type football guy," said defensive coordinator Chris Cosh. "He's a great leader in his own way. Sometimes those that say very little can still say a lot."

Brown is expected to enter camp as a starter alongside Alex Hrebec and Emmanuel Lamur.

Bryce Brown was ranked the No. 1 overall prospect in America in 2008 when he took his running talents to Tennessee.

With the Vols, Brown, a 6-0, 216-pound sophomore, rushed for 460 yards on 101 carries in 2009, plus caught 10 passes for 137 yards.

"He's everything that everybody expects him to be," said Daniel Thomas after watching Brown demonstrate his skills as a scout team member last fall. "He's fast and he's physical. He's going to be real good, I think."

Miller added, "He's somewhat similar to Daniel, but remember, Daniel has done it and Bryce has not."

Co-coordinator Dana Dimel said of Brown, "Bryce is fast. He has that pure speed we haven't had for a long time."

Other candidates at running back are returnees DeMarcus Robinson and John Hubert, plus Angelo Pease, who was more of a Wildcat-formation quarterback from Hutchinson Community College last fall.

GOIN' TWO WAYS
It's not that Wildcats haven't gone two ways with a player before, but it's normally at the end of the season ... like with Chris Canty moving to wide receiver along with his cornerback duties, for example.

But at the start of this season Snyder says he's toying with the idea of getting fullback Braden Wilson more snaps at defensive end, where he played briefly at the end of last year. The 6-3, 254-pound junior out of Smith Center, Kan., was the lead blocker for many of the yards gained last year by Daniel Thomas.

Jordan Allred, who redshirted last year after transferring from Pierce Community College where he was a 3-Star talent on the offensive line, will also get an opportunity on the defensive line. Allred is a 6-2, 300-pound sophomore from Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Of each player, Snyder said, "Jordan appears to have the capacity to play on both sides of the ball, and with Braden, he has already demonstrated that he has the ability to play on defense, so he'll also get that opportunity this year."

OFFENSIVE PLUSES/CONCERNS
Strength: While K-State started a pair of senior wide receivers against Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl in Adrian Hilburn and Aubrey Quarles, the position is in good hands as they were taking the place of the injured Brodrick Smith and Tramaine Thompson, who both return to the field in 2011.

Smith (6-2, 212, Jr) was K-State's top target through five games with 14 catches for 191 yards, while Thompson (5-7, 164, Soph) caught 19 passes in seven games before season-ending injuries. With the return of Chris Harper with 25 catches for 330 yards, that position has a quality 1-2-3 start going into the 2011 season.

Concern: Sixty percent of K-State's offensive line graduated with center Wade Weibert, plus guards Zach Kendall and the mammoth Kenneth Mayfield.

Getting the first look at center will be Scout Team Player of the Year BJ Finney, a 6-4, 292-pound freshman from Andale, Kansas.

Dimel said of Finney, "He's sort of a throwback lineman of the 1950s. He has that flat-top haircut and is just one of those tough Kansas kids. He has that K-State makeup."

A standout prep wrestler, Finney chose to be a walk-on at K-State over a scholarship offer at Ohio.

Also vying for snaps will be Hutchinson Community College transfer Shaun Simon (6-2, 315), who missed the 2010 season due to an injury, plus did not play in 2009 due to not meeting academic standards at Colorado.

Top candidates at guard will be Keenan Taylor (6-4, 280, Soph), Colten Freeze (6-4, 294, Sr), Ethan Douglas (6-6, 300, Jr), and Jordan Allred (6-2, 300, Soph), plus Nick Puetz (6-4, 303, Jr), a transfer from Wyoming last year.

DEFENSIVE PLUSES/CONCERNS
Strength: Bolstered by the arrival of Brown, K-State also has mega-experience returning at the trio of linebacker positions with seniors Alex Hrebec, Emmanuel Lamur and David Garrett, juniors Jarell Childs and Blake Slaughter, plus sophomore Tre Walker.

Hrebec has been a three-year factor for the Wildcats and recorded 77 tackles last season while playing in just 11 games due to an injury. Garrett, who also played in the secondary, registered a team-high 92 tackles, Childs had 53, Slaughter 47 and Walker 47 playing as a true-freshman.

Concern: Terrance Sweeney and Stephen Harrison started as senior cornerbacks last year recording 42 and 36 tackles, respectively, plus combining for 3.5 tackles for losses, four interceptions, 21 passes broken up and a pair of fumble recoveries.

The candidates to replace Sweeney and Harrison?

Garrett (5-8, 176, Sr) has shown the ability to play the position, but is more of a strong safety/bandit-type athlete. With limited experience is Matthew Pearson (5-11, 187, Sr), who scored two tackles last year.

Expected to contend for snaps from the junior college ranks are Nigel Malone and Allen Chapman, both from City College of San Francisco.

Malone is a 5-10, 185-pounder who was a 3-Star recruit in the 2010 class. He had 25 tackles, three interceptions and nine passes broken up as a sophomore in leading CCSF to a 12-1 record.

Chapman, a 5-11, 180-pounder, was named California Community College Athletic Association First Team All-American for his play in 2010.


We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.