A Look Inside K-State Football's Spring Practice

But, of course, that is the case every year as the nature of college football rosters are ever-changing.
"It truly is a work in progress," explained Snyder about this year's team. "We say it every year, but the dynamics are different no matter how many you lose or how many you don't lose. It's obvious that there were some critical elements in our program that we lost; the production that we had offensively is sorely missed. I think from a special team's standpoint we retained all of our specialists except the return guys. That's a big production that you miss. From a defensive standpoint, we lost fewer numbers but the dynamics are still difficult."
Overall, the Wildcats lost a total of 23 players (11 of which were starters) from last season but return 16 starters among their 46 returning lettermen.
After spending the winter months conditioning and training on their own, K-State began its spring slate on Wednesday, April 1, and is allotted a total of 14 spring practices leading up to the Spring Game in Kansas City's Sporting Park at 3 p.m., on April 25
"After we practice tomorrow, we'll be a third of the way through," said Snyder yesterday afternoon as he addressed the media for the first time this spring. "Fifteen practices, they go by quick. Out-of-season (training) was significant, but I don't know if we got as much out of the out-of-season as we needed to in regards of the football element, so I think our summer is going to be a major, major period of time for us." 
In the first press conference of the year, Snyder and select players spent time talking about the team, the positions that need to be filled and who has stepped up the most in those positions. Here's a look at what they have to say:
The Wildcat offense took the biggest hit this year with much of its experience graduating, including quarterback Jake Waters, star wide receivers Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton and a four-year starter at center in B.J. Finney. Perhaps the position with the biggest question mark of them all, the quarterback position is now up for grabs. 
Bill Snyder: "I think that the guys that are taking a run at it, making the effort. They're all a little bit different and their skill sets are at different levels. You take into consideration that you have to have a guy with good game management, a guy who can make good, quick, appropriate decisions and a guy who can handle the physical aspect of it as well. Everybody is kind of at a different level right now.
I think Joe (Huebner) and Jesse (Ertz) have probably been the two that have moved forward the most, but I think the young freshman (Alex Delton) - I don't like to talk about freshmen - but he's caught our eye as well. So I'm thinking he'll probably be in the mix. They all just have to improve in different areas. It's hard to assess right now who has all the skill sets to the highest degree."
Senior Cody Whitehair: "We have a couple of guys, Reed Bergstrom and Dalton Risner, they're doing some nice things for us. We look forward to that center spot being very competitive. The center position is a very important position, so losing a guy like B.J. Finney, that's a tough spot to fill. Younger guys, it takes a little bit of time to really understand that, but I think Dalton and Reed are starting to step up."
Bill Snyder: "Our backs have to run stronger, faster. There are no standouts, but I think there are three guys that are right there. A couple of the young guys are doing a nice job, they'll probably be in the mix, but Charles (Jones) right now is sitting at the top of the ladder." 
Bill Snyder: "We started off the first day of practice and we had a pretty decent day. I thought (Deante) Burton did a nice job, but the guy who has probably been the most impressive of anyone has been Kyle Klein. He's coming off of an injury and getting back on the field. He's worked hard at it and he's caught everybody's eye. We've got some younger guys, guys who didn't get a lot of playing time last year. Judah Jones, he has the capabilities, and Kody Cook took some snaps last year. We probably have six guys right now. They're not there yet, but we have them to legitimately choose from. 
Despite losing linebackers Jonathan Truman and Dakorey Johnson, as well as defensive end Ryan Mueller, the Wildcat defense is in good shape as it returns six starters, highlighted by a talented secondary made up of safety Dante Barnett and cornerbacks Morgan Burns and Danzel McDaniel. Along with that trio, defensive tackle Travis Britz and linebacker Will Davis also return for the Cats. 
Bill Snyder: "Will Davis is back. He gave us a part-time last year and has a commanding understanding of our defense and the execution of it. Elijah Lee played quite a bit as a young pup last year, and he's continuing to embrace the defense and understand where he is supposed to be and what he's supposed to be doing. Sam Sizelove has really stepped up. He's learning what the system is all about having been a scout squad last year, and Trent Tanking is putting himself in the mix."
Dante Barnett: "I told them at the beginning before spring ball that we shouldn't let any receivers catch passes on us because we are so experienced. We have the talent. We have a physical corner (Danzel McDaniel) and a speedy corner (Morgan Burns). Any time you can have a secondary come back, that's the back bone of the defense. You've got to love that."
As the Wildcats continue spring practice, stay tuned to the K-State Sports Extra for features on a few of the team's up-and-coming stars. 

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