Returning Tackles Anchor Offensive Line

Clyde Aufner

Aug. 12, 2011

Editor's Note: "K-State Sports Extra" continues its nine-part look at the 2011 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position.


August 12, 2011


By Mark Janssen


Experienced starters at tackle, backup returnees at guard and a freshman phenom at center.

With all starters written in pencil rather than pen, that's the outlook across the Kansas State offensive line early in the fall camp.

"I like our look," said K-State offensive line coach Charlie Dickey. "We have some experience at positions, we have better athletes at some positions, and we have some toughness throughout."

The returning starters are at tackle where Manase Foketi (6-5, 300, Sr.) returns on the left side and Clyde Aufner (6-6, 301, Sr.) is back on the right side.

"It's real important to have experience at those positions," said Dickey of Aufner, who has 20 starts on his resume, and Foketi with 13. "They've been through it. They've been against some good Big 12 pass rushers and are guys we're counting on."

Dickey says that Foketi is a "pure athletic guy," while of Aufner he talks of his "toughness and accountability in doing things the right way every day."

Backups will include Zach Hanson (6-8, 313, Sr.), who was a three-game starter in 2010, plus Ethan Douglas (6-6, 303, Jr.), who started the 2010 opener, and the imposing Cornelius Lucas (6-8, 331, So.), who appeared in 12 games last year as a special teams player.

Zach Kendall and Kenneth Mayfield started every game last year as seniors leaving the two offensive guard spots open for the taking.

Getting the first look will be Keenan Taylor (6-4, 278, So.) on the left side and Colten Freeze (6-4, 301, Sr.) on the right side.

Freeze played in all 13 games last year as a backup, while Taylor also saw action in each game, primarily on special teams.

"I think we'll be more athletic, but with their lack of experience, right now they're just finding their way," said Dickey, who mentioned the names of Wyoming transfer Nick Puetz (6-4, 306, Jr.) and Tomasi Mariner (6-3, 317, RFr.) as others in the mix.

Redshirt freshman B.J. Finney (6-4, 297) has positioned himself as the starting center after earning Scout Team Player of the Year honors in 2010. After walking on to the program, the Andale, Kan., product earned a scholarship earlier this summer.

"You have to like his toughness, plus he's very dependable and accountable," said Dickey. "Any position on the offensive line is tough, but at center you're asking them to do a lot of things, including making some offensive calls, and he's accepting that role.

"B.J. is a former high school wrestler, which you like," said Dickey. "You like the toughness of a wrestler at that position."

Backing Finney is the mammoth Shaun Simon (6-0, 337, So.), who is a transfer from Hutchinson Community College.

The collective positions do have Big 12-size as the potential starters average 6-4, 296 pounds, with four of the five starters tipping the scales at 297 pounds or more. Of the overall top 11 linemen, nine are 300-pounds plus, with three of those in excess of 315 pounds.


MEET Charlie Dickey (Offensive line)
• Third year on the K-State staff
• Previous Division I coaching stops at Arizona, Washington and Utah
• Graduate of Arizona. He was an offensive lineman in 1983 and 1984 when he had a streak of 1,230 consecutive offensive plays.  He was the Wildcats' Offensive MVP in 1984.
• Coached in 10 bowl games at Arizona, Utah and K-State
• Wife - Lisa; Children - Jazmin, Tasha, Shyanne, Charles Jr.
• Tasha is a member of the Arizona women's basketball team, where Lisa also played in 1983-85.

PROSPECTS AT OFFENSIVE LINE

CENTER
B.J. Finney, 6-4, 297, RFr., Andale, Kan. (Andale)
Shaun Simon, 6-0, 337, So., Tulsa, Okla. (Hutchinson CC)

GUARDS
Colton Freeze, 6-4, 301, Sr., Liberty, Mo. (Liberty)
Tomasi Mariner, 6-3 317, RFr, Topeka, Kan. (Washburn Rural)
Nick Puetz, 6-4, 306, Jr., Salina, Kan. (Wyoming)
Keenan Taylor, 6-4, 278, So., Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington)

TACKLES
Clyde Aufner, 6-6, 301, Sr., Raymore, Mo. (Raymore-Peculiar)
Ethan Douglas, 6-6, 303, Jr., Basehor, Kan. (Basehor Linwood)
Manase Foketi, 6-5, 300, Sr., Hesperia, Calif. (Mt. San Antonio College)
Zach Hanson, 6-8, 313, Sr., Sacramento, Calif. (Sacramento CC)
Cornelius Lucas, 6-8, 331, So., New Orleans, La. (Edna Karr)


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