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Back in the Bill
April 26, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
It's been a long winter, but after nearly four months of slumber, the gates of Bill Snyder Family Stadium will finally reopen and the stadium will come alive again for the annual Purple vs. White Spring Game this afternoon at 1:10 p.m.
Beginning with a special announcement set to take place prior to the opening kick, the 2014 K-State football team will be ready to show fans exactly what it's worked on this spring.
While earlier this week head coach Bill Snyder explained the format of the scrimmage will most likely feature K-State's No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense on the same unit, he said he may change his mind. Though the format of the game will be a surprise to fans, there is one thing you can count on, and that is that the Wildcats will treat today's game just like any other game day.
"Part of the day is to develop an understanding about game day," said Snyder. "Everything we do on Saturday will be a replica of what we do any Saturday in the fall. We try to duplicate meetings, pregame meals and all that goes along with it. That mental preparation and that focus, it isn't the same but we try very diligently to make it the same."
On what the day will be like for the players, linebacker Charmeachealle Moore said, "We wake up in the morning, come eat breakfast and we're in game mode. We're not on our phones; we're just focused on our jobs because we still have to practice, we still have to play, play hard. We get to see the fans, the fans get to come out and see what we're doing, so we're very excited about it every year."
The annual spring game marks the final of K-State's allotted 15 spring practices. So, with three weeks of early morning training and intense practices under their belts, the Wildcats are ready to get on the field and compete for a final time before the 2014 season gets underway in August.
"This Saturday is definitely for the fans," said defensive end Ryan Mueller as he smiled ear to ear. "I'm excited to see all the fans and some of my friends are coming to the game too. It's a fan thing, so we're not going to reveal our whole playbook, but it's also another opportunity to work on some fundamental footwork, to have feel for what it's like out there and to have people out there in the stands cheering for you. So there's a little more added pressure."
There will definitely be more pressure when all eyes are on the field this afternoon, however for Snyder, it's no pressure at all. The walk out of the tunnel to cheering fans is a walk he cherishes.
"People are very gracious and I really do think about the fan base when I go out on to the field when they're there, and they are there every time we play," the coach said with a grin. "How could you not - as a player and as a coach - want to do the very best that you could possibly do for the people that care so much? You think about the little children that line the walkway going out of the locker room and you see those youngsters and you see how emphatic they are and their appreciation for the players when they come out. To me that has to be inspiring for a young guy. I think about those things."
NEWMAN, SPROLES TO SERVE AS HONORARY COACHES
Two K-State football greats are back in the Little Apple as K-State Athletics announced both cornerback Terrence Newman (1999-2002) and running back Darren Sproles (2001-04) will highlight this year's game as honorary coaches.
"This is my first time back in about six years, so a lot has changed," said Sproles after attending K-State's practice yesterday. "I'm looking forward to the game. Being back in that stadium brings back a lot of memories; it's going to be exciting."
A 2003 All-American and Wildcat legend, Sproles stamped his name in the Wildcat record book as he set 23 different school records in his four years with the program. He helped guide K-State to a 2003 Big 12 Championship after leading the nation with 1,986 rushing yards. That same season, he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting and garnered a spot on the All-Big 12 first team.
Sproles finished his K-State career with 4,979 rushing yards - a school record by a whopping 1,986 yards - and 45 touchdowns. He started every game his junior and senior years, and, along with earning First Team All-Big 12 honors in 2003, he also earned Second Team All-Big 12 accolades in 2002 and 2004.
Sproles will begin his 10th NFL season in 2014 with the Philadelphia Eagles as he was recently traded to the team this offseason after playing three years with the New Orleans Saints.
A 2002 consensus All-American, Newman is in his third season with the Cincinnati Bengals and his 12th NFL season overall. In 2002, Newman was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year along with a selection to the All-Big 12 First Team after carding 54 tackles, five interceptions and 14 pass deflections.
Not only did he excel on the football field, but Newman also competed with the Wildcat track and field team. He earned Big 12 titles in both the outdoor 100 meter dash (2001, 2002) and the 60 meter dash (2002) along with earning the 2002 Big 12 Indoor Co-Performer of the Year.
The two will be honored on the field before kickoff.
Tickets for the game are priced at $5 while children under the age of two will be admitted at no charge. Football season ticket holders who renewed their season tickets prior to the March 28 early bird deadline were mailed two complimentary spring game tickets per account, while K-State students who ordered their student pass on iSIS prior to April 25 were sent an email voucher to pick up a free ticket just outside Gate V prior to the game.
Gates to the stadium will open at 11:30 a.m., as fans can pick up the 2014 football poster at the open gates (M, P, R, V on the east side and B and D on the west side). General admission seating for the game will be open in sections 1-9 on the west side and 20-28 on the east side. Fans are encouraged to enter the stadium early for the announcement of the 2014 team captains as well as a special presentation at 1 p.m.
Fans who are unable to attend the game can watch live on K-StateHD.TV or listen on the K-State Sports Network and SiriusXM channel 85. A special Purple/White pregame show will open the broadcast at 12:45 p.m., as the Voice of the Wildcats, Wyatt Thompson, and former K-State quarterback Stan Weber will call the action with Matt Walters providing updates from the sidelines.
KLEIN HEADING NORTH OF THE BORDER
Former Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein has reportedly signed with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes.
The Alouettes finished the 2013 season third in the CFL's East Division with a record of 8-10. Its 2014 season kicks off Saturday, June 14, with a preseason game against the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
After a 2012 season in which Klein lead the Wildcats to a Big 12 Championship and berth in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, he was named a second team All-American, to the All-Big 12 First Team and the 2012 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Topping off his Wildcats career, Klein placed third in the 2012 Heisman Trophy race.
Though the K-State star impressed the Houston Texans during a tryout at their 2013 rookie camp, Klein was not offered a contract and has since stated publicly about his intention to stay at quarterback and not switch positions. The opportunity with the Alouettes allows him to prove he can play quarterback on the professional level.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein looks to throw a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. Kansas State won 27-21. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)