Collin Klein impresses Texans coach Gary Kubiak, but doesn’t get contract

The way Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak praised Collin Klein over the weekend, it sounded like the former Kansas State quarterback was on his way to signing a free-agent contract with the NFL team.

“I tell you what, it was impressive,” Kubiak told reporters when asked about Klein’s weekend performance. “I’m fixing to go up and have a long talk with him. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but to watch how far the guy came in two and a half days; (he) really played probably his best day out here today. He’s found a way his whole career, and he’s probably going to find a way this time, too.”

Klein will have to find a way with another NFL team, as it turns out. The Texans didn’t offer Klein a contract, and he left Houston still in search of a NFL home.

Those who watched the Texans’ rookie camp indicated Klein got off to a slow start, but showed rapid improvement.

“He’s got a ton (of talent),” Kubiak said. “For what he did in college and what Jake (Plummer) has been doing with him, he’s come a long way, as far as working under center and stuff. The arm strength is there. The delivery is a little different but you work with that. But his instincts as a football player you can’t coach; the way he just takes off and stuff like that.”
Read More »

Sunday Rewind: K-State 51, Missouri State 9

Kansas State’s 51-9 victory over Missouri State on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium was the closest 42-point victory you will ever see.

At halftime, the Wildcats led 9-6 and everyone feared this could be Eastern Kentucky all over again.

Early in the third quarter, the Bears tied things up at 9-9.

As the clock ran out, it was a blowout.

So how did K-State turn a game that was tied in the second half into the lopsided victory all BCS conference teams hope for on opening night?

Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
Read More »

Collin Klein, Nigel Malone, Arthur Brown nominated for national awards

The Kansas State football team was well represented on the national awards front Monday morning.

Three Wildcats were named to preseason watch lists for some of the most prestigious awards in college football.

Senior quarterback Collin Klein is up for the Maxwell Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate football player. Senior cornerback Nigel Malone and senior linebacker Arthur Brown are both up for the Bednarik Award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive player at the end of each season.

Klein is one of 65 total players, including 11 from the Big 12, named to the Maxwell watch list. He is the third player in K-State history to make the list and the first since Darren Sproles in 2004.

Brown was a semifinalist for the Bednarik last season, but Malone is in the mix for the first time. They are the third and fourth K-State players to be considered for the award and the first since Chris Canty in 1996.

A list of semifinalists for both awards will be announced on Oct. 29, with the field being cut to finalists on Nov. 19. Both awards will be presented Dec. 6 during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show.

Sunday Rewind: K-State 30, Iowa State 23

Overall Assessment:
Coming into Saturday’s game against Iowa State, the Kansas State football team wanted to win the final game of the regular season for several reasons. Players viewed a 10-win season as a great accomplishment, and wanted to put themselves within reach of a BCS bowl.

But they also wanted to send the seniors out on top. After beating the Cyclones 30-23, it sounded like players were motivated by that more than anything else.

“We just wanted to win the game for them,” sophomore linebacker Tre Walker said. “It wasn’t about Iowa State. It wasn’t about getting a three-way tie for the Big 12 championship. We just wanted to win it for them because we love them so much.”

Throughout the week, seniors and upperclassmen were allowed to give speeches to the rest of the team. Some of the most emotional came on Friday night at the team hotel.

Senior cornerback David Garrett said he was the first to speak to the whole team on Wednesday, and that after hearing everyone’s take on the season he thought the team was fired up to play.

“Our team, we care a about each other a lot,” Garrett said. “We are always together. Everything we do, even if it has nothing to do with football we do it together. Us stepping up like that and showing that we care and expressing ourselves, it gets to people and makes us go hard.”

Well, K-State’s seniors went out in style. They finished the season 10-2 and finished second to only Oklahoma State in the final Big 12 standings. Now it will wait to find out if it makes a BCS bowl.

If the Cowboys play in the BCS title game, the Wildcats could head to the Fiesta Bowl. If Alabama heads to the BCS title game, K-State may go to the Sugar Bowl. Or maybe K-State will end up in the Cotton Bowl. It will definitely be one of those three. We’ll know for sure in a few hours.

Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
Read More »

Bill Snyder helped Arthur Brown, Ray Kibble secure prestigious mid-season honors

Two of Kansas State’s best defensive players received extremely high praise from college football expert Phil Steele today. On his website, Steele named linebacker Arthur Brown a first team All-American at mid-season and defensive tackle Ray Kibble a third team All-American.

Their honors represent a drastic turnaround for both players.

A year ago, Kibble struggled to do much of anything while making 30 tackles in 13 games. He also had considerable trouble in the classroom. As a senior, he is one of K-State’s most important players. He has made 15 tackles (including two for loss and one for a sack) and is looking good academically.

Meanwhile, Brown has gone from making 17 tackles in two seasons at Miami to leading K-State with 38 tackles through five games as a junior. He is a legit difference-maker and is playing like one of the best linebackers in the nation.

How did they do it? There are many reasons, but both Brown and Kibble credit Bill Snyder for their growth. When the K-State coach came out of retirement to lead the Wildcats for a second time, many wondered how well he could connect with young players. At the age of 72, there is quite an age difference between them. But Brown and Kibble are proof that the gap is not too wide.

“I really watched him a lot, and he helped me carry out my duties,” Brown has told me of Snyder. “He helped me become the player I am today.”
Read More »

Sunday Rewind: K-State 24, Missouri 17

Overall Assessment: When Kansas State’s 24-17 victory over Missouri was complete Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Collin Klein summed up the afternoon by describing his mindset heading into the final drive of the game.

Bad weather, a pair of reversed calls and two late Missouri touchdowns tried to put a damper on things, but Klein would have none of it. When K-State got the ball with 5 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, it led by seven points and didn’t want to let things get dramatic the way they did the past two weeks.

Saturday’s victory was the Wildcats’ most complete effort of the season, and Klein wanted to make sure it ended with him taking a knee.

“It was our time,” Klein said. “We were saying to each other, ‘We’ve got to go win the game.’ The defense has been playing great and doing a great job for us. That was really our chance to run off about 5 minutes of clock. It’s something you’ve got to be able to do. It’s a family affair. You’ve got be there for your team and we were able to do it.”

Yes they did. K-State’s defense once again carried the flag, but its offense showed considerable toughness and poise in the second half. It did what it had to to help the Wildcats improve to 5-0. Like Snyder likes to say, “It was a team victory.” Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
Read More »

Sunday Rewind: K-State 28, Miami 24

Overall Assessment: This was Kansas State’s biggest win since … when?

That’s the question I think is most up for debate today. The Wildcats defeated the Miami Hurricanes 28-24 at Sun Life Stadium and Saturday’s game certainly has to rank highly among recent wins for the program.

Beating Texas, UCLA and Central Florida were all nice wins last year, but they each came at home. A 62-14 thumping of Texas A&M was awfully impressive two seasons ago, but the Aggies were a different bunch back then. They aren’t comparable to a road win over Miami.

I think you’ve got to back to 2007, when K-State crushed Texas 41-21 in Austin under Ron Prince to find a more impressive victory. Under current coach Bill Snyder, this is probably the biggest win since the Wildcats took down top-ranked Oklahoma 35-7 in the 2003 Big 12 championship game.

Saturday’s win wasn’t anywhere near that meaningful, and Snyder said that he doesn’t think K-State has “arrived” yet. He thinks it still has plenty of work ahead of it. That’s true. The Wildcats will need to continue improving to win tough upcoming games against Baylor and Missouri, but this was a nice start down that path.

K-State looked brilliant on offense at times behind Collin Klein and John Hubert. And its defense played well enough to win against a strong, fast Miami offense. Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:

Player Evaluations

Seven that were good:

1. Collin Klein. Kansas State’s quarterback did everything on Saturday. He ran for 93 yards (many of them tough yards) on 22 carries and threw for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Most of his passes were short, but they were all safe. The only time he took a risk he made a perfect pass, lofting the ball over a linebacker and in between two defensive backs to hit Tyler Lockett for a 20-yard touchdown. He left the game with blood on his jersey, too many scratches to count and a slight limp in his step. But he said that simply came from being tired after a tough game. His teammates appreciated his efforts.

Here’s what Chris Harper had to say about Klein: “I told him at halftime, ‘Since we’re in Florida you should go into Tim Tebow mode.’ That’s really what he was out there doing … He played tough. He played really, really tough. I was proud of him today. He took some hits.”
Read More »

Sunday Rewind: K-State 37, Kent State 0

Overall Assessment: Kansas State looked like an all-around better football team than it did two weeks ago, but it still has room to grow. Up next is a very difficult road test against Miami, which beat Ohio State last night. The competition will be much harder in South Beach than it has been at home in front of sellout crowds, and we will probably learn more about the Wildcats in that game than we have so far.

Still, we know a few things about them today.

For starters, K-State’s defense continues to look like a legitimately strong unit. It has allowed a total of seven points in two games, and the one touchdown it allowed came only after Eastern Kentucky started a drive one yard away from the end zone. So it has essentially come up with two shutouts. Regardless of the competition, that is impressive.

Less is known on the offensive side of the ball, where Collin Klein made a nice pass late to beat Eastern Kentucky and led K-State to a solid first half against Kent State, but then sputtered in the second. Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:

Player Evaluations

Five that were good:

1. Arthur Brown. The junior linebacker is making a huge difference on K-State’s defense. On Saturday he made 12 tackles, two for losses, and closed on the ball faster than anyone else on the field. When Snyder hints that he is the best defensive player he has coached since coming out of retirement, he isn’t kidding. Here’s the scary thing: Both Brown and Snyder think he hasn’t reached his top form.

2. David Garrett. The interception he returned for a touchdown early in the first quarter set the tone for the game. K-State’s defense was ready to overwhelm Kent State in all phases, and the Wildcats used Garrett’s big play as a springboard to an excellent night. Garrett is one of the most underrated players in the conference, often getting overlooked because of size even though he led the Wildcats in tackles a year ago. But he had a highlight moment last night.
Read More »

Position Preview: Linebacker

Of all the positions on Kansas State’s football team, the Wildcats should be most improved at linebacker.

By a wide margin.

Instead of rotating between a veteran, two underclassmen and a converted safety at two spots on the field, K-State coaches will have six players with experience at the position to turn to.

With Miami transfer Arthur Brown leading the way in the middle, many expect the Wildcats to be a completely different defense in 2011. His presence allows K-State to switch from a 4-2-5 formation, which hasn’t worked at all against explosive opponents, to a more traditional 4-3.

Along with the return of Alex Hrebec, a senior who is coming off a season in which he made 77 tackles, and Tre Walker, who looked good making 47 tackles as a freshman, K-State should have a solid group of starters. Maybe even a group the defense can lean on.
Read More »

Bryce Brown looks to improve, get healthy

Bryce Brown had a solid public debut in a Kansas State uniform over the weekend. During the Wildcats’ spring game, the sophomore running back rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns on 13 attempts. He also returned three kicks for 45 yards and looked good with the ball in open space.

At times, he used his strength and moved like Daniel Thomas. At others, he used his speed and darted up field like William Powell. The former high school All-American at Wichita East and Tennessee transfer clearly has a wide skill set, and he’s looking forward to showing that off further next season.

After injuring his left ankle at the beginning of spring practices, he was not at full strength on Saturday. Getting healthy is his No. 1 goal heading into the fall.

He said that will help him, “Get faster. That’s what my game is about: speed.”
Read More »