Sports Extra: Running Back Spot Still in Limbo

Bryce Brown

Aug. 31, 2011

By Mark Janssen – K-State Sports Extra

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That’s as close as Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder can come when identifying a No. 1 running back for Saturday’s 6:10 p.m., opener against Eastern Kentucky at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Publishing a depth chart for the first time since fall camp opened, Tuesday’s two-deep at running back looked like this: Angelo Pease or John Hubert or Bryce Brown. Then when asked about the running back position, the first name the Wildcat coach mentioned was Robert Rose.

“We’ll probably wait until Friday night,” Snyder said when quizzed about when he might know who his starter is. “I’m not sure if it will be a coin toss, but it is a difficult decision. They’re all doing reasonably well.”

Snyder went on to say that K-State has staged 35 percent of the practices that the team will have all year, and a choice has not been made.

He did admit, “We can’t continue to allow it to be four guys. That doesn’t mean all won’t get on the field, but it will not be a four-man committee. You can’t have enough repetitions for four guys and have the improvement you’d like to see.”

But he did hint, “In certain games the style of one of them may be more valuable than the style of another. That’s always a possibility.”

Brown (6-0, 220, So.) and Pease (5-11, 215, Jr.) have the most size and are the fastest of the four. “Just by nature of structure, they’re a little more physical.”

Brown last played at Tennessee in 2009, while Pease was a running back/quarterback/wide receiver last year at Hutchinson Community College.

Of Hubert (5-7, 185, So.) and Rose (5-4, 173, So.), Snyder said, “Robert is the smallest of the group. He can be a difficult guy to find like Darren (Sproles) was. With those big 6’7 guys (linemen), he’s in there waddling between their legs. He has good quickness and movement.

“John also is a good movement-type guy. He doesn’t change directions as quickly as Robert, but he has good quickness,” said Snyder. “They’re not large, but they’re not un-powerful runners.”

When 6-foot-5 quarterback Collin Klein was asked about having a 5-4 running back in Rose, he quipped, “You definitely have to take a peek back there because that option pitch has to be at a different level with Robert.”

It’s Klein No. 1 and Sammuel Lamur No. 2.

Snyder said he liked the fact that Klein “… went from A to Z very consistently through practice, improving each day … a little bit better, a little bit better.” But most recently, he added, “He has hit a plateau. He’s not going downhill, but he hasn’t made the continued progress.”

Whether it’s at running back, quarterback or any other position on the team, the Wildcat coach said, “For our program to go where we need to go, we need internal competition to enhance every individual and position by position. We want them to have to compete to get to where they want to go.”

Snyder went on to say, “Our corner positions are as competitive as a position on our football team, along with running back.”

Listed as the starting corners are David Garrett and newcomer Nigel Malone, backed by junior-college transfers Allen Chapman and Kip Daily.

• B.J. Finney is still starting, but now at right guard instead of center. The new center is 6-foot, 337-pound Shaun Simon, while Finney is joined by Keenan Taylor as the other starting guard. Finney made the move from center to guard last week
• The revolving defensive line now has Adam Smith and Jordan Voelker at the ends, while Ray Kibble and Vai Lutui at tackles. Voelker started his career as a tight end out of Butler Community College, but moved to defense this spring. He was awarded a scholarship last week
• Listed as starting wide receivers are Chris Harper, Brodrick Smith and Sheldon Smith, backed by Torell Miller, Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett
• The return men will come from the list of Ty Zimmerman and Tysyn Hartman with punts, and Thompson and Lockett with kickoffs

First, there was Kevin. Then, there was Aaron. Now, there is Tyler.

In scouting the newest of the Locketts to wear the purple and white, Snyder said, “He runs like his uncle (Aaron) and catches the ball like his father (Kevin). I’ve really been pleased to this point in time.”

At 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, Lockett is the only true freshman to be listed on the two-deep. The Booker T. Washington High School graduate out of Tulsa is a backup wide receiver and a potential starting return man.

Kevin Lockett played at K-State from 1993-1996 and still ranks as the all-time leader in receptions (217) and yardage (3,032) in school history.

Aaron Lockett played for the Wildcats from 1998-2001 and today ranks second on the career charts in punt return yardage (845), plus is first in return yardage for a single season with an average of 22.8 yards per take-back.

As of Tuesday noon, only 300 scattered single tickets in the reserved seating areas remained for Saturday’s Eastern Kentucky opener. In addition, 500 general admission tickets are available in Section 28 for $20, or, four for $75.

Tickets are available through the K-State website,, or by calling 1-800-221-CATS.

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