SNYDER'S WILDCATS SET TO OPEN SPRING CAMP
K-State will work on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays ending the 15-practice season with the Spring Game on April 30 at 1:10 p.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Coming out of the off-season program, Snyder said, "I will always labor under a concept of never being satisfied, so I wasn't completely satisfied, but we did make some progress." The Wildcat coach went on to say, "We had a nice effort with the vast majority of the youngsters in our program, and I'm confident that we became a stronger football team. I also think we've developed a greater sense of unity throughout our program." But Snyder's buzz-word of the spring camp will be "discipline." OPPORTUNITIES ON OFFENSE: On the offensive side of the ball, K-State has holes to fill with the departed Aubrey Quarles and Adrian Hilburn at wide receiver, Kenneth Mayfield and Zach Kendall at guard, Wade Weibert at center, Carson Coffman at quarterback and Daniel Thomas at running back. Revamping the line is Snyder's biggest concern as he says, "We lost three offensive linemen that were crucial to whatever degree of success we had last year. We need to establish some depth across the board (on the line). I would say we have seven youngsters competing for those three vacant positions." The Wildcats are set at tackle with the return of its top four in Manase Foketi (6-5, 300, Sr) and Clyde Aufner (6-5, 300, Sr) as starters, and Cornelius Lucas (6-8, 318, Soph) and Zach Hanson (6-8, 305, Sr) as backups. 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. Candidates at center will include BJ Finney and Shaun Simon. Finney was the 2010 Scout Team Player of the Year and Simon a transfer from Hutchinson Community College. At quarterback, the lineup will have Colin Klein, Sammuel Lamur and Justin Tuggle starting out the spring. "We will always go into the spring the way we finished in the fall," said Snyder. "But like any other position, the depth chart is negotiable on a daily basis." Sophomore Bryce Brown will get the first look at running back to replace Daniel Thomas, who ended his two-year career as the No. 2 running back in Wildcat history. "He has the ability to enhance our speed," said Snyder. "He hasn't gotten there yet, but he's working on trying to develop the skills in all facets of the game. But he is a fluid runner, and while not the same size as Daniel, he still brings size to the position." Other candidates at running back are sophomores John Hubert and DeMarcus Robinson, while Braden Wilson returns at fullback. The Wildcats have returning experience in the receiver positions with Chris Harper, Brodrick Smith, Tramaine Thompson and Sheldon Smith at wide receiver, plus tight ends, Travis Tannahill and Andre McDonald. DEFENSE MUST BE BETTER: Slots must be filled at defensive end with the departure of seniors Prizell Brown and Antonio Felder, plus Kadero Terrell (who left the team), at linebacker with the loss of Troy Butler, and in the secondary with the departed cornerbacks Terrance Sweeney and Stephen Harrison. The initial goal, according to Snyder, is to "replace the starters lost and there might be some experimentation with some positions." The biggest concern defensively is at the cornerback position where Sweeney and Harrison have graduated leaving only David Garrett as a returnee with significant snaps, plus spot players Dahrnaz Tigner and Matthew Pearson. Expected to contend for snaps from the junior college ranks is Nigel Malone of City College of San Francisco. Solidifying the secondary will be returning safeties Ty Zimmerman and Tysyn Hartman. Hartman scored 86 tackles, which included 10 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl game, and true-freshman Zimmerman had 74 stops helping him to freshman All-American Honors. Providing depth at the position will be Tanner Burns, a transfer last year from San Jose State. Adding to a cast of returning linebackers - seniors Alex Hrebec, Emmanuel Lamur and Garrett, juniors Jarell Childs and Blake Slaughter, and sophomore Tre Walker - will be Miami Hurricane transfer Authur Brown, a 6-2, 233-pound junior. "Arthur is a quiet youngster, who has tried to step up into a leadership role. Not having been on the field for us, that is not an easy thing to do," said Snyder. "He has that nose for the football and is a good thinking player. He will enhance our speed and quickness at that position." 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. Lamur, who made the move from safety to linebacker late in the season last year, is expected to start the year at linebacker this season beside Brown and Hrebec. Plenty of question marks rest on the defensive line where only Brandon Harold returns at end, while interior experience will come from the list of seniors that includes Raphael Guidry (6-4, 282), Ray Kibble (6-4, 296) and Payton Kirk (6-5, 262), plus returning redshirt Javonta Boyd (6-2, 291, Jr). Top candidates to join Harold at end are Meshak Williams (6-4, 230) of Hutchinson Community College, plus Jordan Voelker (6-3, 244), a 2010 transfer from Butler Community College. SPECIAL TEAMS: K-State returns one of the league's top punters in Ryan Doerr, but loses one of the best place kickers in Josh Cherry, plus perhaps America's best long-snapper in Corey Adams. Kickoff specialist Anthony Cantele will open the spring as the No. 1 kicker, while Marcus Heit will get the first crack at handling the snaps for field goals and punts. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at email@example.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.