Snyder Eyes Improvement on Defense

Arthur Brown

July 25, 2011

Editor's Note: Kansas State improved from six wins to seven in the first two seasons of the Bill Snyder Era, Part II. But as the Wildcat coach says, "Last year doesn't count. It's all about where we go from here." Heading into the Big 12 Media Days this week in Dallas, Texas, K-State Sports Extra chatted with the Wildcat coach on his summer views of the Wildcats on offense (Friday) and defense (today).

By Mark Janssen

Better, but how much better? That is the question that Bill Snyder is even asking himself heading into the start of two-a-days next week at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

"Is our defense any better? The answer is I don't know yet," said the Wildcat coach. "I can't tell you that we've made a great deal of progress, but we've certainly made progress on that side of the ball."

For certain, there is room for improvement as the Wildcats' "D" ranked No. 106 out of 120 Division I football teams last year, allowing 445 yards per game. Against the run, K-State was listed No. 119 after allowing 231 yards per game.

To those numbers, Snyder said, "As bad as we may have been in games, there were certain times when I had a great deal of pride at what our defensive actually did, which allows me to understand we weren't nearly as bad as the perception seemed to be."

In particular, Snyder was talking about holding Iowa State to 293 yards of total offense, limiting Kansas to just seven points, and holding Texas to 14 points.

But he also admits, "I don't think we are near as good as we need to be in any facet of the game. We do have a lot of improvement to make."

K-State is bold up the middle, starting in the line where Wildcats totaling 600 pounds are plugged into place with defensive tackles Raphael Guidry (6-4, 290, Sr.) and Ray Kibble (6-4, 305, Sr.).

Staying in the center, linebacker Arthur Brown is eligible this season after transferring from the Miami Hurricane program. The back end of the defense is loaded with talent and experience with the return of co-starters Tysyn Hartman (6-3, 206, Sr.) and Ty Zimmerman (6-1, 202, So.).

"It remains to be seen, but we do appear to have improved in a variety of ways," said Snyder. "Our second and third-level run support seems improved through the players we have, and their experience."

Guidry and Kibble have 23 starts between them, while Brown had a pair of seasons of playing time with the Hurricanes. At safety, Hartman is a two-year starter for the Wildcats, and Zimmerman was a Freshman All-American last year.

Snyder said if there is a questionable area on the defensive side of the ball, it might be on the wings as the Wildcats will have a nearly entirely new cast at cornerback.

"At the corners, we have newcomers, which include some who were not with us in the spring. We do need depth at the corner positions, and we anticipate the community college players to provide that," said Snyder. "Newness is always a concern, but the new players we have coming in at least are transfers who have played at the collegiate level."

K-State's opponents will be sure to test the corners as David Garrett (5-8, 175, Sr.) is the only Wildcat with experience. He'll be joined on the two-deep chart by a trio of junior college transplants in Bubba Chapman (5-11, 180, City College of San Francisco), Kip Daily (6-0, 181, Blinn College) and Nigel Malone (5-10, 185, City College of San Francisco).

The Wildcats will also have newness at the perimeter of the defensive line with newcomers Meshak Williams (6-4, 235, Jr.) and Adam Davis (6-0, 254, Jr.) from the community college ranks. Williams is a new addition from Hutchinson Community College, while Adams transferred from HCC in 2010, but had to sit out the fall season due to injury.

Depth will come from the return of Brandon Harold (6-5, 264, Jr.), plus Jordan Voelker (6-3, 240, Jr.).

Harold has 26 games of experience, which included 12 as a freshman when he earned Freshman All-American honors with 45 tackles, with 10.5 of those coming behind the line of scrimmage.

After an injury-plagued 2009 season, Harold flirted with returning to freshman-form last year with 41 tackles with 7.5 for losses.

K-State has plenty of depth to go with Brown at linebacker with the return of senior Alex Hrbec (5-11, 240), sophomore Tre Walker (6-3, 213), plus Emmanuel Lamur (6-4, 219, Sr.), who is moving up from his natural home at safety.

Of Brown (6-1, 223, Jr.), Snyder said, "He's a team player who has worked hard at being a leader. That's not an easy thing for him because he's such a quiet individual, but he is trying to work at being a vocal leader in his own way."

Like his brother Bryce, Snyder went on to say, "Arthur has had great guidance from home, which is always beneficial. He's a very quiet and very pleasant young guy. He possesses the values that you want. Whatever you ask him, he'll make every attempt to do it. He takes his job very seriously."

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