Sports Extra: Hubert Still Wildcats' No. 1 Back

John Hubert secured his spot atop the depth chart with a 17-carry, 91 yard effort against Eastern Kentucky.

Sept. 15, 2011

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By Mark Janssen

Bill Snyder made it completely clear during Tuesday’s weekly media day: “John (Hubert) will be the starter, and Angelo (Pease) will be the next guy on the field.”

Kansas State did muster up 175 rushing yards in the 10-7 victory over Eastern Kentucky two weeks ago, but that included 78 by quarterback Collin Klein.

Of the true running backs, Hubert had 91 yards on 17 carries, Brown 16 yards on three totes and Pease 11 yards on five chances. Including Klein’s ground yards, K-State netted just 3.1 yards on 56 team carries, which includes two by Braden Wilson and four team carries.

If one is looking for excuses, coach Bill Snyder admits that only “15 percent, give or take 10 percent” of K-State’s offensive package hit the field.

Hubert, a 5-foot-7, 185-pound sophomore, is called a “slasher” by running back coach Dana Dimel, which were skills he put to work for 2,853 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior at Midway High School in Waco, Texas in 2008.

After a redshirt season in 2009 and getting only 12 touches for 30 net yards last year, Snyder says his No. 1 back is the same today as a starter, as he was a year ago.

“John is practicing about the same as he has. I haven’t seen any accelerated motivation because he’s the No. 1 guy. He’s very methodical about how he practices. That’s John’s way,” said Snyder. “It’s hard to ask young guys to be something they are not. Do I know what’s going on in his mind all the time? No, but hopefully it’s the right thing. As long as he doesn’t lose sight on what he needs to do, he’s just fine.”

During the preseason camp, Hubert emerged as the No. 1 back due to his own individual efforts. In addition, Pease did not take part in K-State’s spring season due to finishing up academic requirements at Hutchinson Community College.

Entering the year, Hubert acknowledged, “I have the edge in that I know the offense better than the new guys around. I still know the starting spot is up for grabs, so I’m going to give 100 percent just like I was a new kid on the block.

“We’ve become good friends since everyone arrived, so we’re trying to continue to compete, stay friends, and may the best man win,” said Hubert.

Speaking of Brown, Hubert added, “He’s pushing me every day. Just knowing that he’s a big-time recruit is making my game better and taking it to a new level.”

And, Hubert is doing the same for Brown: “John is just really tough. He’s like 185 pounds, but he runs bigger and tougher than that. He has a lot of power in those legs and he competes.”

Dimel says that while Hubert is a slasher, Pease and Brown run with more power. And like K-State did with Daniel Thomas last year, Dimel says, “You try to take all the weapons and try to play to their strengths.”

No matter who might lineup up in the backfield it will make little difference without a continued improvement in the offensive line.

Three changes from the opener are predicted for Saturday night’s Kent State game as B.J. Finney moves from right guard to center to replace the injured Shaun Simon, Nick Puetz takes the place of Keenan Taylor at left guard, and Colten Freeze takes Finney’s spot at right guard.

In addition, Jordan Allred has been moved from defensive tackle to backup right guard.

“They work diligently at what they do. They have made some progress, but they are so youthful that every day is a new experience for them,” said Snyder of the offensive line play. “They are intelligent young people and it is a matter of taking what you learn in the classroom to the field and replicating it time and time again. The more repetitions they get the better they become.”

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