This week’s player to watch: Roosevelt Nix

Roosevelt Nix made quite a name for himself last season when he became the first true freshman to ever be named Defensive Player of the Year in the Mid-American Conference.

The 6-foot (or 5-foot-11, depending on where you look) 244-pound defensive tackle earned the honor by making a whopping 20 tackles for loss, including 10 sacks, and forcing four fumbles. Now a sophomore, many in the MAC are wondering how he didn’t get more of a look from nearby Big 10 schools, especially after he started the 2011 season by recording a sack and two tackles for loss at Alabama.

No wonder he was a consensus freshman All-American and made it onto both the Bednarik and Nagurski Watch Lists.
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Position Preview: Offensive Line

Based on the lineups used during last week’s Fan Appreciation Day, here is what Kansas State’s offensive line should look like a week from Saturday against Eastern Kentucky:

Manase Foketi at left tackle, Keenan Taylor at left guard, B.J. Finney at center, Colten Freeze at right guard and Clyde Aufner at right tackle.

Even with the losses of Zach Kendall, Wade Weibert and Kenneth Mayfield, you pretty much know what you’re going to get with that lineup.

Foketi is a senior who started a year ago at the same position. He was good enough to win the spot and hold it all season, but he never did anything extraordinary. Aufner only started nine games at right tackle, but earned more praise from his coaches. Both should be solid returners on the ends of K-State’s line.

On the interior, where K-State will need to replace the three veteran leaders mentioned above, there are more question marks. Finney looks like a strong up-and-comer at center, but he is only a redshirt freshman.

The two guard spots seemed like a toss up heading into fall practices, and Taylor and Freeze may have to prove themselves in games to earn sustained playing time.
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K-State’s best unsung summer players

By now, it’s pretty obvious that players such as Tysyn Hartman, Arthur Brown and Collin Klein are excelling at Kansas State’s voluntary summer workouts. All three have been voted captains by their teammates, and all three were invited to Dallas for Big 12 Media Days by coach Bill Snyder.

But what about the players further down the depth chart? What about some newcomers? Who came into the offseason flying under the radar (excuse the cliche) but now has a chance to turn a few heads during games?

I asked those questions earlier this week, and came away with a handful of answers.

On the offensive line … “A lot of guys are working hard up front,” said Klein, a junior quarterback. “Clyde Aufner, B.J. Finney, Colten Freeze, I could go on and on.”

Aufner started eight games a year ago at tackle and as a senior should be one of the leaders on K-State’s line. Finney received great reviews from teammates at the end of spring practices. I will be surprised if he doesn’t start at center as a redshirt freshman. Freeze played in all 13 games last season in a reserve role, but could make a run at starting right guard this year.
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Despite poor stats, Snyder likes O-Line

The Kansas State football team was the victim of six sacks against UCLA, but coach Bill Snyder is trying to ignore that number.

At least when discussing the play of his offensive line, anyway.

Even though six sacks looks really bad, and no team can win while consistently being sacked that often, he pointed out today that the Wildcats’ offensive line is improving.
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