Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Breaking down spring camp: Kansas State
By David Ubben
Kansas State is the final Big 12 team to begin spring practice, just in time for the first team in the Big 12's spring to end. Texas' spring game was Saturday, but Kansas State's first practice is later today. Let's take a closer look.
Schedule: The first of Kansas State's 15 NCAA-allowed practices begins today. They'll lead up to a spring game on April 27. Excluding the spring game, practices are closed to fans and media.
What's new: Defensive run game coordinator and ends coach Joe Bob Clements left the staff to take a similar job at Oklahoma State. Receivers coach Michael Smith did the same and left to Arkansas. Kansas State replaced Smith with Andre Coleman, a former Wildcat from 1990-93 who spent the last three years coaching at Youngstown State. Another Kansas State alum, Blake Seiler, will replace Clements and coach the ends. He played from 2004-06 and served as a graduate assistant on the school's staff the past two seasons.
New faces: Kansas State is welcoming nine players to spring practice who enrolled early from their 2013 recruiting class. Six of them are junior college transfers, including cornerback Nate Jackson, who could make an immediate impact in the secondary. Quarterback Jake Waters and defensive end Devon Nash, juco teammates at Iowa Western, are also on campus and ready to go.
All eyes on: The quarterback race. This thing could go in a number of directions, but Daniel Sams will try and turn spot duty as a runner in mop-up time into a starting position this spring. His competition, Waters, broke Cam Newton's junior college completion percentage record a year ago. Anything could happen, but this should be a fun race between two very different passers.
Question mark: Defensive line. Ryan Mueller showed a lot of potential last season, but all four starters on the defensive line are gone, including Meshak Williams, who put together as strong of a season as any defensive lineman in the Big 12 last season. Javonta Boyd is gone, too. Kansas State needs to find answers along the defensive line this spring, and new position coach Blake Seiler has his work cut out for him.
Breaking out: Tyler Lockett. Big 12 die hard fans know him pretty well, but he's a dangerous target who can make plays with the ball in his hand. With Chris Harper graduating and chasing NFL dreams, he's likely to emerge as the top target in the unit. He's undersized, sure, but he's dangerous. K-State will find ways to get him the ball in the passing game. He'll take advantage.
All eyes on: John Hubert. He's yet another guy stepping into a bigger role this spring. Considering how tight of a ship Kansas State runs during the spring, we won't know just how much K-State's offense will rely on him until the fall, but he's topped 900 yards in each of the past two seasons with limited carries in the shadow of Collin Klein. Klein's gone. It's Hubert's time.