Category Archives: Football

K-State Q&A: Bill Snyder’s latest recruiting class and two important basketball games

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Yes, for the most part. K-State’s main losses to graduation are Ty Zimmerman, Cornelius Lucas, Blake Slaughter, John Hubert, Tre Walker, Tramaine Thompson and Tavon Rooks. That means the Wildcats will need someone new to step up at safety, linebacker, running back, wide receiver and on the offensive line. Zimmerman, a four-year starter, will be hard to replace at safety. K-State didn’t sign any junior-college players at that position. Replacing Hubert will also be difficult. He dominated K-State’s backfield for three years, and he has no proven backup. Dalvin Warmack appears promising, but how often do true freshmen start under Bill Snyder? The Wildcats will likely turn to players already in the program to fill those spots.
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John Currie explains why K-State benefits from occasional Thursday football games

The wait is over. This afternoon, Kansas State announced that it will play Auburn on Sept. 18, a Thursday, next season. With that, the Wildcats’ 2014 football schedule is finally set.

K-State had been waiting on ESPN, which will televise the Auburn game nationally, for a decision on the date of the game.

When asked in December about the possibility of moving the Auburn game to a Thursday, Wildcats football coach Bill Snyder had this to say: “It’s the last thing in the world I want to do.”

Weekday games are always met with mixed reactions in Manhattan. While some are excited about playing in front of a large audience, others complain of inconveniences such as rushing to the game after work.

On Monday, K-State athletic director John Currie explained why he supports (occasionally) playing football games on Thursday in a letter to fans.

From the letter:
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K-State Q&A: NCAA Tournament, Thomas Gipson, Marcus Foster, Shane Southwell, a tricky game at West Virginia and football

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Kansas State will make the NCAA Tournament. I don’t think there is any doubt about that. The Big 12 is the nation’s top-rated conference, according to most statistical measurements, and simply playing quality teams on a regular basis will keep the Wildcats’ RPI (currently 39) strong. The better question is what seed will K-State receive in the NCAA Tournament. Halfway through conference play, it is looking like an 8 seed in the latest bracket projections. Saturday’s game at West Virginia, and upcoming home games against Texas and Kansas will be important. But so will every game remaining on the schedule. If the Wildcats take care of business and win most of their home games and find a way to win a few road games, they could work themselves into consideration for a 6 or 7 seed. It they slip up against Texas Tech or Baylor and fail to perform well in the Big 12 Tournament, they could be looking at a 10 or 11 seed.
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K-State Q&A: Keys for the Iowa State game and football recruiting

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Rebounding might be the most important part of the game. Everyone knows Iowa State is going to spread the floor and take a boatload of threes, but what happens when the Cyclones miss? Will the Wildcats be able to secure rebounds and push the ball up court, which they hope to do in order to exploit Iowa State’s transition defense, or will the Cyclones grab rebounds and score in the paint? That could easily decide the game. Another key: K-State needs to make it hard for Iowa State players to drive to the basket. Everyone from DeAndre Kane to Georges Niang can shoot or put it on the floor. Thomas Gipson, in particular, needs to be ready to defend anything. One final thought: Will Spradling could be important at Hilton Coliseum. He has a history of playing well there. He has averaged more than 11 points in his three prior trips to Ames, and he scored 15 points there last year. If he can do that again, that will help K-State tremendously.
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Postgame Thoughts and Player Ratings: Texas 67, Kansas State 64

Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 67-64 loss at Texas on Tuesday at the Erwin Center:

1. The Big 12 is loaded.
Everyone knows six Big 12 teams are currently ranked. That’s impressive. But here’s the scary thing: Texas should be in the top 25, too. The Longhorns have size and depth, and they are well-coached. With Javan Felix starting to make shots, they are capable of beating most teams, especially at home. This was the team that was supposed to cost Rick Barnes his job, but it now appears destined for the NCAA Tournament. With back-to-back wins over Iowa State and Kansas State, trips to Austin are starting to look as treacherous as trips to Ames, Norman and Waco. A year ago, Weber said winning at Texas was a sign that K-State was good enough to win the conference. This time around, a loss in Austin shows just how tough the conference is. There are very few easy games in this league. Outside of TCU, and possibly West Virginia, they are all a challenge.
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K-State Q&A: The Big 12 basketball race, Jevon Thomas, Jim Wooldridge, attendance figures, Daniel Sams and facility upgrades

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Kansas lost four games before the start of conference play, and the Big 12 is too tough to envision anyone going undefeated. So I guess it is silly to imagine the Jayhawks running the table. Remember, they got clubbed at Baylor (a NIT team) and TCU (a horrible team) last year. Texas Tech (still bad) stomping Baylor (now a top 15 team) earlier this week shows the Big 12′s depth. Still, the conference race is currently KU’s to lose. The Jayhawks have already beaten K-State at home and they have defeated Oklahoma and Iowa State on the road. Will anyone else duplicate those victories? If they beat Oklahoma State and Baylor next, they will have a huge advantage at 5-0. K-State does have a shot at challenging them. Victories over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have the Wildcats off to a nice start, and the upcoming schedule isn’t daunting. But they can’t afford to drop any games they are favored to win. Beating West Virginia and Texas will be vital. They will also need to prove they can play in tough road environments. If they can do that, then future games against Iowa State and Kansas take on added meaning.

I agree that Jevon Thomas has developed into a valuable sixth man. His speed allows K-State to score in transition and get up the court in ways it simply couldn’t while he was waiting to become eligible. He can come in for Marcus Foster or Will Spradling, and the pass-first point guard helps in many ways. Against Oklahoma, he even made a difference on the glass, grabbing four rebounds. The best part about his game is that he doesn’t lose turnovers. He averages one per game. His defense has dropped a tad from his blazing start, but that is to be expected now that opponents know who he is. As a freshman, he has a lot to offer K-State’s basketball program.

During the Jim Wooldridge era, Bramlage Coliseum averaged about 7,000 fans. The 2001-02 season bottomed out with 5,915 fans. His final season, in 2005-06 topped off at 7,664. Then Bob Huggins arrived and attendance regularly shot up over 12,000. The bottom half of the Big 12 currently averages between 4,000-9,000 fans. Remember, all of those numbers are based on announced (not actual) attendance. By the way, while we’re talking about Wooldridge, congrats to him on becoming the full-time AD at UC-Riverside.

Sams played some running back in high school, and I think he could succeed there at K-State. After all, he is a running quarterback. But he says he only wants to play receiver or quarterback. When he said he would consider changing positions next season, I asked for his thoughts on possibly switching to running back or safety, as well. He didn’t seem remotely interested. Besides, I trust K-State coaches when they say DeMarcus Robinson and Jarvis Leverett are capable replacements for John Hubert.

I think so. He wasn’t plagued by fumbles last season as a quarterback. I’m sure there will be an adjustment curve for him if he switches positions, which is no guarantee, but Chris Harper, Ty Zimmerman and Justin Tuggle all thrived in different spots after coming to K-State as quarterbacks. Bill Snyder knows how to get the most out of his players, regardless of position.

Here are the two things I keep hearing when I ask about K-State’s new wave of athletic facility upgrades: They are in the very early planning stages, but with a $50 million price tag they are thinking big. I don’t know specifics about what the new north end of Snyder Family Stadium will look like when this project is complete, but it will feature drastic changes. Additional seating and a more enclosed stadium both seem like possibilities. Still, no timetable is in place for that project. K-State is much closer on adding videoboards to Bramlage Coliseum and Snyder Family Stadium. Depending on fundraising, you could see those popping up later this year.

Have a comment or future story idea for K-Stated?
Twitter: @KellisRobinett

K-State Q&A: Thomas Gipson, Marcus Foster, Sunflower Showdown, football recruiting and a prediction for next season

It’s time for another K-State Q&A, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Of course. Kansas State has won three of the last 50 against Kansas, so logically the Wildcats have a better than three in 60 shot at pulling an upset Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. I actually think K-State has a better-than-normal shot of beating Kansas. Yes, the matchup is bad (the Jayhawks have Joel Embiid, Perry Ellis, Tarik Black and Jamari Traylor inside while the Wildcats have Thomas Gipson) and K-State hasn’t seen a loud road environment all season (Bruce Weber blared crowd noise during practice Thursday to try and simulate what the team will see in Lawrence), but Marcus Foster, Wesley Iwundu and Jevon Thomas don’t know anything about this rivalry. They haven’t been a part of the last seven losses at Allen Fieldhouse, where K-State repeatedly fell impossibly behind in the first half and lost big. That will help. If Foster can make outside shots and Thomas can make life difficult for KU’s point guards, K-State will have a chance. But Gipson, Shane Southwell and Will Spradling need to deliver, too. Can the Wildcats put together that type of all-around performance in their toughest road game of the season? It’s unlikely, but they have won 10 straight. It’s possible.
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Michigan quarterback Shane Morris gives Kansas State something new to prepare for

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke insists there is a chance Devin Gardner will start at quarterback against Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, but all signs point to Shane Morris leading the Wolverines’ offense.

Gardner, a dual-threat veteran who amassed more than 3,000 yards of offense and threw for 21 touchdowns this season, hasn’t practiced since the final game of the regular season and arrived in Arizona on crutches. He is apparently suffering from a nasty case of turf toe.

In all likelihood, that will force Morris front and center. Hoke said Gardner may be able to play on Saturday if he can start practicing on Wednesday. If he stays on crutches, Morris, a freshman who completed five of nine passes for 65 yards this season, will start.

Michigan would obviously prefer Gardner to play, but Hoke seems confident in Morris. After a month of practicing with the first-string offense, Hoke thinks Michigan’s offense will look like it did during the regular season if Morris is taking the snaps.

“I don’t know how much it would change it,” Hoke said Monday at a Buffalo Wild Wings news conference. “The throws don’t necessarily have to change. Obviously we think he’s a pretty good quarterback. His ability both with his legs and arm is pretty good. I think they’d have to respect that.”
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Kansas State, Michigan experience slow ticket sales for Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

12 BWW Logo Kansas State and Michigan are both having trouble selling their full allotment of 11,000 tickets to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

A K-State spokesman said Monday that the school has sold roughly 6,000 tickets to the Dec. 28 game. The Detroit News reported last week that Michigan had sold 5,600 tickets from its allotment, and had already decided to donate 4,500 back to the bowl game.

K-State advertised bowl tickets at Intrust Bank Arena on Saturday during timeouts of its basketball game against Gonzaga, and tickets remain on sale at its athletic web site. They can be purchased for anywhere from $25 in the upper deck to $95 in the lower levels.

Though bowl ticket sales are down from the past two years, when K-State sold out its allotment for the Cotton Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl in pre-orders alone, the spokesman said K-State is still expecting 10,000-15,000 fans to attend the game. The Wildcats are well known for their traveling fan base, and should receive good fan support at Sun Devil Stadium.
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K-State Q&A: The one where we talk about Buffalo Wild Wings, but not its bowl game. Plus Jevon Thomas and Gonzaga

We have been calling this blog entry “Football Friday,” but with more and more people asking about K-State basketball, we decided to switch to “K-State Q&A.”

It’s an appropriate time to switch names. This week, we didn’t get a single question about football.

I assumed we would get at least one about Mighigan quarterback Devin Gardner, who hasn’t practiced since injuring his toe in the final game of the regular season and is questionable for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. It sounds like he will play in some capacity, but backup Shane Morris will be prepared just in case. Gardner put up good numbers this season, but some Michigan fans have been clamoring for Morris, a touted freshman. K-State has prepared for multiple quarterbacks all season. This will be no different.

Now on to your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

This is a fantastic question. I hope the fine people at Buffalo Wild Wings set up a pregame eating competition so we can find out. But for now, let’s speculate. At 345 pounds, defensive tackle Chris Brown weighs more than anyone else on the K-State football roster. So he figures to be a contender. Every member of the offensive line can probably eat their fair share of wings, too. I could see Cornelius Lucas or Cody Whitehair eating 20-plus. Ryan Mueller also strikes me as the type of person who would go all-out to win a wing-eating contest. But let’s not rule out the skinny players, either.

Go check out the Major League Eating rankings. Yes, that is a real thing. You have to go all the way to No. 12 to find a fat guy. So maybe someone like freshman defensive back Chance Pitcock, who weighs a team-low 165 pounds, could out-eat everyone. Or maybe it’s someone like Jack Cantele or Tramaine Thompson. It would be fascinating to watch. I like to think the winner could eat 35 wings.
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