Aug. 15, 2012
Editor's Note: K-State Sports Extra continues its nine-part look at the 2012 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position. Tuesday’s article featured the quarterbacks, while today we highlight the defensive ends. To have K-State Sports Extra delivered to your inbox each morning, click here.
By Mark Janssen
If there’s a position, or a pair of positions, where Kansas State has loads of experience heading into the 2012 season, it’s at defensive end.
On one side of the defensive line will be Adam Davis, a 13-game starter in 2011. On the flip side will be Meshak Williams, who came off the bench to earn Second Team All-Big 12 honors.
“We feel pretty good about our starters,” admitted 11th-year coach Joe Bob Clements, who has been elevated to Defensive Run Game Coordinator for 2012. “We have a lot of experience that has played at a very high level. Are there areas where we need to improve? Certainly, and we’re working on those areas, but we expect them to have a big year.”
Both transfers from Hutchinson Community College, Williams is a 6-foot-3, 245-pounder from Sylvester, Ga., while Davis is a 6-foot, 259-pounder from Folkston, Ga.
Williams earned his all-conference honors a year ago after scoring 28 tackles, which included 10 for negative yardage, while his seven sacks tied for sixth in the Big 12.
“He’s a big-time pass rusher,” said Clements. “He’s fast getting off the line.”
Davis is a Preseason All-Big 12 choice by Lindy’s after his season of 45 stops, plus five pass deflections and one forced fumble in 2011. He had four sacks, which all came in the final three games of the year.
“Adam is our most complete player,” said Clements. “He may not have a lot of sacks, but he’s physical, and he’s the most dependable player we have against the run and giving consistent pressure.”
Of their experience, Clements said, “There’s no way to put a value on it. The only way to get game experience is to play in games. You can simulate things in practice, but that’s not a game.”
For each talent, there was a time of development Clements says every player goes through when coming through the community college ranks.
“It’s all about adjusting to the competition you’re going against,” said Clements. “In junior college, you might go against a BCS caliber player once or twice a year. When you arrive in the Big 12, it’s every single game you’re lining up against a BCS player, plus every day in practice.”
In comparing the duo to past K-State defensive linemen, Clements says, “Adam has the strength of Chris Johnson (1997-2000), but is not as productive. Chris just made a ton of plays. Meshak perhaps plays a little like Tearrius George (2004-05).”
After Williams and Davis, Clements said, “It’s not a concern, but we have some unknowns backing them up. No one else has a wealth of experience.”
Saying that he needs three front line defensive ends, battling to become that third go-to player are Ryan Mueller (6-1, 246, So.), Laton Dowling (6-2, 257, So.) and Marquel Bryant (6-3, 239, RFr.).
Mueller played in pivotal third-down situations last year in all 13 games, while Dowling experienced snaps in eight different games.
“We need a third guy who we can move from side to side and not skip a beat,” said Clements.
DEFENSIVE END NOTES:
• Davis’ 23 community-college sacks ranks second in Hutchinson CC history. Williams had 23 sacks in his senior season at Worth Country High, which stands as a school record
• Possible reserves are Kansans in Mueller from St. Thomas Aquinas in Leawood and Dowling from Dodge City
MEET COACH CLEMENTS:
• Played defensive end at K-State from 1995-98… A 1999 K-State graduate in mass communications, later receiving his M.S. in Counseling and Student Development in 2009
• One of many walk-on to starting status stories during the Bill Snyder era
• Other Division I coaching experience at San Diego State and Kansas
• Has been a part of 13 bowl games as a player (four) and coach (nine)
• Is the son of former Emporia State player Bob Clements
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen or Kansas State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.