Football hosts open practice Saturday

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State football program hosted its lone open practice of the spring Saturday in front of approximately 300 fans.

With rain and heavy wins buffeting the Manhattan area, the workout was forced inside and took place in K-State’s indoor practice facility.

But despite the venue change, head coach Ron Prince was pleased with the two-and-a-half hour workout and the early progress the Wildcats have shown in some key areas.

“One of the most important things we are trying to do is develop more versatility in some of our veteran players and I have been real pleased with that,” Prince said. “Eric Childs and Ian Campbell have done a nice job with that and so have the tight ends and running backs. We’ve been able to find a lot of versatility with them and I’ve been very pleased.”

Saturday’s practice was Kansas State’s third of the spring and saw the Wildcats don pads for the first time. And though contact was limited during much of the workout, K-State did finish up the practice with a spirited “Oklahoma drill” won by the offense.

K-State worked in all three phases of the game during the practice and mixed situational scrimmage situations on offense, defense and special teams with fundamental work in position groups.

Several players came up big during the team sessions. Daniel Gonzalez stole the show in red-zone work, hauling in a pair of touchdown passes from Josh Freeman. The defense also had it standouts, with both Marcus Watts and Bryan Baldwin snagging interceptions.

“Finding big plays on offense and turnovers on defense are a big goal for us this season,” Prince said. “We’re trying to build more fire power on our team from a big play standpoint. I think we saw some (big plays) out there today.”

But what really has Prince excited is the level of camaraderie that appears to have already developed within this year’s team.

“We’ve got terrific chemistry on this team and I really like how we are working together toward the real objective, which is to find ourselves in the Big 12 championship game on December 1st,” said Prince. “I think everyone here is focused on that goal and focused on winning. There are really no individual efforts out here, just a bunch of kids who have made up their minds that they want to win.”

Kansas State continues spring drills on Monday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The practice is closed to the public and media. The Wildcats’ Thursday night workout will be open to Kansas State students, faculty and staff with K-State ID and begins at 9 p.m.