Spring Practice Underway

Spring Practice Underway

MANHATTAN, Kan. - K-State football coach Bill Snyder met with the media on Tuesday for the first time since spring football practice started. While stressing that the successes of last year should not be taken for granted, the Wildcat coach said he was pleased with the out-of-season work, and to date, the first few practices.

For the most part, Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder said, "Basically, we've had a pretty good mindset in what we're trying to accomplish."

He added of the goals of the spring season, "We're trying to become a tougher and more aggressive football team." Plus, he's trying to address the areas that were hit by graduation, or where depth is a concern.

HUBERT STILL NO. 1:
Saying that "… everybody goes in where they came out of the previous season," Snyder said that John Hubert is K-State's No. 1 running back through the early portion of the spring season.

"John is No. 1, but Angelo (Pease) will have the opportunity to compete for the No. 1 spot. They're No. 1 and No. 2," said the Wildcat coach. Plus he said, "(Robert) Rose and (DeMarcus) Robinson have all proven over the course of last year that they are capable of being competitive, as well."

Snyder added, "You could say that the position is John's to lose, but you could also say that there is an opportunity to win the position by the other three. We're better because of the competition."

Hubert, a 5-foot-7, 191 pound junior, rushed for 970 yards last year, which included a 4.8-yard per carry average.

Pease, a 5-11, 215-pound senior, rushed for 144 yards on 36 carries in 2011, while Robert Rose, a 5-4, 174-pound junior, had 35 yards on nine rushes. Robinson is a 5-6, 206-pound sophomore.

BEHIND KLEIN:
Snyder said that behind starting quarterback Collin Klein were Daniel Sams, a 6-2, 211-pound redshirt freshman from Slidell, La.; Tavarius Bender, a 6-3, 210-pound true-freshman from Lincoln, Neb.; and, Sam Johnson, a 5-11, 215-pound sophomore. None have taken a collegiate snap.

While in the program longer, Snyder said of Johnson, "He has a total understanding of what we're all about. He's not a bad thrower, but doesn't have the physical capabilities as the other two. But he knows the system. The other two are in the learning process."

Sams passed for 577 yards and rushed for 579 as a senior in high school. He also caught 21 passes for nine touchdowns as a receiver. Bender was an early high school graduate who arrived at K-State for the second semester. He was rated as the No. 20 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 1 player in the state of Nebraska. As a senior, he passed for 1,025 yards and rushed for 699.

TUGGLE ADJUSTING FINE TO NEW POSITION:

A quarterbacking candidate a year ago, Justin Tuggle has moved to linebacker and is battling Jarell Childs for a starting outside linebacker spot.

A 6-3, 233-pound senior, Snyder compares his physical nature to Emmanuel Lamur.

"He's not quite as emotional, but he's an athletic young guy and has good size to play the position. That transition is not easy, but he's raw, but doing a good job," said Snyder, who said the position move came prior to the Cotton Bowl in early-December.

"He's just not exactly sure where he's going or how to get there. But his effort is good and he's willing to learn. He's a pretty athletic young guy."

Tuggle's father, Jessie, played 14 seasons in the NFL and played in five Pro Bowls.

FILLING KIBBLE'S SPOT:
K-State faces a significant loss in the departure of Ray Kibble as a starting defensive tackle, but also Raphael Guidry from the middle of the defensive line.

Admitting that it will be "difficult" to fill the void, Snyder mentioned the names of John Sua (6-, 290, Sr), Wesley Hollingshed (6-1, 299, Jr), and Daryl Blackmon (6-7, 281, Jr) as candidates along with returning regular Vai Lutui (6-2, 289, Sr).

"From that pool, plus the newcomers we have coming in, we can find a quality two-deep," said Snyder.

GARRETT A HUGE LOSS:
David Garrett packed limited pounds on his frame, but he was a playmaker for the Wildcats that will be lost.

"David did a lot of very productive things in a lot of area," said Snyder.

The Wildcat coach said that Garrett's intangibles will be missed as much as his athletic skills.

In the mix to fill his position will be Allen "Bubba" Chapman, a 5-11, 180-pound senior, plus Randall Evans (6-0, 190, Soph) and Dorrian Roberts (5-10, 170, Jr).

LOCKETT BACK IN ACTION:

After being sidelined for the final four games of the season, Tyler Lockett is "doing quite well," in the words of Snyder. "Tyler is a better player today than when he finished his season last year. He works at it and it's important to him. Once the out-of-season drills started, he had very few limitations."

As a true-freshman, the 5-11, 175-pounder caught 18 passes for three touchdowns, plus led the nation in kickoff returns at the time of his injury at 35.2 yards per return.

REPLACING HARTMAN?

Tyson Hartman is gone as a three-year starter at safety with Snyder listing Thomas Ferguson, Randall Evans, Jarad Milo as the top candidates. Milo is a 6-2, 195-pound senior transfer from Butler County Community College.

O-LINE NOTES:
Returning starters on the offensive line are center B.J. Finney at center and Nick Puetz at guard, plus Manase Foketi, who started early in the year at tackle, but was then sidelined by an injury.

"He's doing some things, but not everything," said Snyder of Foketi.

Names Snyder mentioned as possible starting candidates were Boston Stiverson (6-4, 306, redshirt-freshman), Tavon Rooks (6-5, 270, Jr), Tomasi Mariner (6-3, 317, Soph) and Cody Whitehair (6-3, 300, redshirt-freshman).

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