SE: Wildcats at Work to Become Better

Head Coach Bill Snyder is beginning his 21st season at K-State

Aug. 7, 2012

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By Mark Janssen

The preparation for the 2012 Kansas State football team is underway with Bill Snyder approaching his 21st Wildcat season at the helm of the program with the same mindset as the first 20.

“We have different pockets of capabilities that we’re working on,” said Snyder. “We’re not singling out just the things that our guys do extremely well, but our focus is on those things that we don’t do extremely well so we can get better with everything that we do. We are addressing things across the board.”

And yes, that starts with No. 7, Collin Klein.

“Is Collin better? Yes, he is. He’s made himself a better player and a better leader because of his focus on what this program is all about,” said Snyder. “Those are fundamental and technique things that we address daily and things he has worked on diligently.

“With Collin, and every individual on our team, it goes back to wanting to improve on every phase of the game every day,” said Snyder. “That comes through watching video tape, working on executing techniques and working in the weight room.”

KLEIN ATTENDS MANNING PASSING ACADEMY: The Wildcat quarterback took a break from K-State’s summer workouts to attend the Manning Passing Academy in mid-July.

Located on the campus of Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., the camp is headed by former NFL great Archie Manning, plus his sons who are current NFL quarterbacks – Peyton with the Denver Broncos and Eli with the New York Giants.

While designed for current high school quarterbacks, a total of 41 current-day college quarterbacks were also on hand to help with the teaching.

Personally, Klein said, “We didn’t have a lot of time to throw the ball, but there was a chance to pick up a few tips. Mainly, it was a chance to be around some amazing people.”

LINE THOUGHTS: While pretty solid at the 11 starting offensive positions, Snyder said that developing depth was high on K-State’s priority charts heading into practices.

That’s true at every position, but in particular across the line where two freshmen – Boston Stiverson and Cody Whitehair – are penciled in as starters on the right side, along with first-time performer Cornelius Lucas, a 6-foot-9, 322-pound junior, at left tackle.

“It’s a long season and you need depth. By the end of the season, we know we would have to be very fortunate to have everyone we started the season with,” said Snyder. “You better have quality at your No. 2s. That’s true on both sides of the ball – offensive and defensive line. That’s a major issue right now. If you don’t have a defensive line, you’re not going to have a defense. If you don’t have an offensive line, it’s certain that your offense will struggle.”

AREA OF COMFORT: If there’s a collective position on the field where there is a comfort level it would be at linebacker with a potential starting trio of Arthur Brown, Tre Walker and Justin Tuggle, plus depth from Jarell Childs, Blake Slaughter and Jonathan Truman.

Of Brown, Snyder said, “He’s one of those guys that truly does play sideline-to-sideline. He has a suddenness to his game that gives you the capacity to overcome mistakes because he can cover so much ground.”

CATS NO. 21: Kansas State was one of six Big 12 football teams ranked in the 2012 USA Today Sports Coaches Poll as the Cats are No. 21 in the preseason survey.

The ranking marked the first time since 2004 that a K-State team has been ranked in the preseason coaches’ poll as the Wildcats checked in at No. 13 that season. K-State’s inclusion in this year’s preseason poll marks the ninth time since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996 that the Wildcats have been ranked in the survey’s Top 25.

Other Big 12 programs joining Kansas State in the preseason poll were Oklahoma (fourth), West Virginia (11th), Texas (15th), TCU (17th) and Oklahoma State (19th).

PRESEASON HONORS: More Kansas State football players have been decorated with preseason honors than ever before, but if one asks Bill Snyder about that, he’ll emphasize the word “preseason.”

To the Wildcat coach, “It goes back to not taking anything for granted. You applaud each and every one of them, and you congratulate them individually and as a team, but you do so with the knowledge that those recognitions still have to be earned and deserved at the end of the year.”

Of his preseason recognition as one of the premier quarterbacks in the country, Klein said, “All of that takes care of itself. Right now, it is on about me becoming the best I can be and the team becoming the best it can be. The honors come at the end as a team accomplishment.”

FAN DAY: Kansas State will hold its annual Fall Football Kickoff on August 18, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Snyder, plus selected players, will address the fans at around 6 p.m., followed by an hour-long autograph session. Additional details will come at a later date.

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