SE: After Position Shuffle, Abdul Beecham Lands at Starting Left Guard

Abdul Beecham left his psychology class last Monday trying to wrap his mind around what he had just learned. It wasn’t a discussion on Freud or the psychoanalytic theory that had Beecham’s mind running, either. 

It was a text message sent from K-State offensive line coach Charlie Dickey, who told Beecham he would be transitioning from tackle to left guard. 

“It blindsided me a lot,” Beecham said. “I’m in class and I’m just sitting there sweating, thinking, ‘Man, I’m switching to a position I’ve never played (in college) before.’ I just had to get in the film room and study… just study as much as I can.”

Soon after, Beecham sat down with Drew Liddle, former offensive lineman for the Wildcats and current graduate assistant within the program, for a long film session. The next day? “It all just clicked,” said Beecham, who made his first start in last week’s win over Texas Tech. “I really didn’t expect it, but I’m glad it happened. It was amazing.

“Believe it or not, left guard feels more natural to me. Putting my hand in the dirt, I feel like I can move people a little better,” he continued. “I feel like it was a great move and I appreciate Coach Dickey for seeing the potential in me.”

Like his new position, K-State entered the recruiting picture for Beecham late but sold him quickly.

“It was a quick ride, but I just fell in love with the school, the fans and everything else that goes along with it,” he said. “The family aspect and the family feel that you get here. People say ‘K-State Family,’ but you don’t really feel it until you get here and it’s an amazing feeling. I love it here.”

Beecham entered K-State expecting to play left tackle, the position the sophomore shined at while with Blinn College for one season. When spring ball rolled around, he was moved to right tackle and then to right guard, both big adjustments for someone who had never played on the right side before. As fall camp opened, however, Beecham was back at left tackle. 

“Who knows? I might be snapping the ball next week,” he joked. “I’ve been bouncing around quite a bit, but I feel like it’s going to be all worth it in the end.”

So far, it has been. In a few short days, Beecham made enough of an impression to earn a starting spot on K-State’s line that he will hold again in Saturday’s 11 a.m., game against Oklahoma.  

“I just felt like all my hard work in practice and during the week was starting to pay off. It was a good feeling,” said Beecham, who described the home game in even greater terms. “Running out there and seeing all those fans, I was, like, ‘Wow. This is really it.’”

Beecham more than held his own in his first start. K-State, which travels to play No. 19 Oklahoma on Saturday, totaled 231 yards on the ground and didn’t allow a sack in the 44-38 victory over Texas Tech. 

“He has really come along and has done a nice job,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said. “I have been impressed with what he has done so far. He is becoming a physical player, as well as fundamentally he is good. He is just playing well.”

“He really played well in his first start,” freshman running back Alex Barnes added of Beecham. “He’s just mauling people and doing a good job of opening up big holes. It was a good opening day for Beech.”

On top of the position switches, Beecham has adjusted to a number of other changes at K-State, including the game speed of Division I football and Dickey’s intense focus on technique.  

“Coach Dickey is a great coach,” Beecham said. “He’s taught me more in half a year than I’d known from playing football all my life. I’m thankful for everything he’s taught me.”

As for the rest of the line, Beecham said he’s “leaned on” senior Terrale Johnson and sophomore Dalton Risner. 

“They’ve been with me every step of the way. It was tough coming in January, going through spring ball and being thrown in the fire, but they kept my head straight and let me know what I had to do to get better,” said Beecham, adding that the entire unit helped him through his first start. “The thing they did best was encourage me to not get down if I made a mistake, play physical and go 100 miles per hour. If you make a mistake, if you block the wrong person, go 100 miles per hour doing it. That’s what we have to do this week.”