Big 12: South Florida Bulls
Scott told the Boulder Camera he has no plans to return to the Colorado team he left last season after playing five games while struggling with injuries.
"Nope, not at all," Scott told the Camera when asked if there was any truth to an anonymous report that was given by Denver station KCNC. "It is a lie. I don't plan on coming back."Scott has been the most-heralded recruit signed during Hawkins' tenure, but struggled through two injury-plagued seasons with the Buffaloes. He rushed for only 95 yards last season, rushing for most of those yards against Toledo. He injured his knee in that game and underwent minor surgery before leaving the team in November.
The Camera also reported that senior running back Demetrius Sumler has appealed the decision where his Colorado scholarship was revoked by Hawkins for the spring semester. Sumler announced last month that he planned to graduate from Colorado this spring and then transfer to another program for his senior season next fall, utilizing an NCAA rule that allows graduates with remaining eligibility to make a move. Kansas State quarterback Grant Gregory utilized the rule to transfer to the Wildcats from South Florida for his senior season last fall.
The departure of Sumler and Scott's rebuff of the Buffaloes' program has placed a huge priority heading into spring camp for running backs. Hawkins added four running backs among his Class of 2010 who could arrive when fall camp begins in August. But in the spring, the Buffaloes will have three scholarship running backs on their roster -- projected starter Rodney "Speedy" Stewart, Brian Lockridge and Corey Nabors.
The Tampa Tribune reported that a variety of coaches had interest in the position created when Jim Leavitt was fired on Jan. 8.
Among the more notable applicants included Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, former Iowa State coach and current Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney and former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator and current Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora.
Another candidate was Nebraska football consultant Joe Moglia, a former chairman at TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation and a former defensive coordinator at Dartmouth.
The interest in the Bulls job isn't unexpected. Many coaches see it as a potential coaching gold mine because of its facilities, location and conference affiliation. It's not a surprise that some of the top Big 12 coordinators and other coaches were intrigued by the school and its possibilities.
Here are some of the conference's most notable headlines for your noontime edification.
- The Oklahoman’s Jake Trotter ponders whether Jim Jeffcoat, Ruffin McNeill or Jim Leavitt could be joining Bob Stoops’ staff.
- Top recruit Jackson Jeffcoat, the son of Jim Jeffcoat, tells KRIV-TV in Houston that he is considering Oklahoma, Houston, Texas and Arizona State.
- The Sporting News’ Russ Lande analyzes what Darrell Stuckey, Larry Asante and Keith Toston need to do to impress NFL scouts at this week’s East-West Shrine Game.
- The Memphis Commercial-Appeal’s Phil Stukenborg reports that former Texas Tech assistant coach Brian Mitchell has joined Larry Porter’s staff at Memphis.
- Among the more notable assistant coaches from Nick Saban’s coaching tree include Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and Texas Tech defensive coordinator James Willis, ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel writes in his three-point stance.
- Texas running backs coach Major Applewhite, Oklahoma State assistant head coach Joe DeForest and former Texas Tech defensive coordinator/interim head coach Ruffin McNeill are among the names that have surfaced for the vacant head coaching job at Louisiana Tech, Jimmy Watson of the Shreveport Times reports.
- The Daily Texan’s Robert Rich shares a few memories from his trip to the Citi BCS National Championship Game.
- Texas Tech has lost a recruiting commitment from linebacker Fred Harvey of Memphis, Tenn., after the coaching change to Tommy Tuberville, Adam Zuvanich of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports.
- The College Football News’ Pete Fiutak writes that Colt McCoy’s injury in the championship game put a capper on a disappointing 2009 college football season.
- FoxSports.com’s Pete Schrager has Nebraska and Texas making BCS bowl trips next season and Oklahoma ranked in the Top 25 among Big 12 teams.
- Sam McKeown of the Nebraska State Paper analyzes where Ndamukong Suh goes from here.
- The Omaha World-Herald’s Tom Shatel expresses some trepidation about the Nebraska-Boise State series.
But there are still some stories across the conference that are percolating.
- Alabama associate coach James Willis is expected to accept the vacant defensive coordinator position at Texas Tech, according to Chase Goodbread and Tommy Deas of the Tuscaloosa News.
- The San Antonio Express-News’ Brent Zwerneman reports that Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox met with Mike Sherman about a similar position at Texas A&M and that A&M All-American Von Miller still is mulling whether to declare for the NFL draft.
- My ESPN.com colleague Chris Low reports that Will Muschamp and Mike Gundy are among those in play for the vacant Tennessee head coaching job. And the Birmingham News’ Kevin Scarbinsky wonders if Tennessee officials are willing to make Muschamp an offer he can’t refuse.
- The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel writes about other one-and-done college coaches, including Howard Schnellenberger at Oklahoma and David McWilliams at Texas Tech.
- Doug Lederman of Inside High Education writes about how the incidents involving the ouster of Mike Leach and Mark Mangino signal a change where coaches are confusing discipline and abuse.
- Kicker Justin Castor of Arvada, Colo., has backed out of his commitment to Kansas, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. Castor is still considering Colorado and Arizona State.
- East Carolina’s Skip Holtz appears to be the top name for the vacant South Florida job, although former Iowa State coach and current Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney also is being mentioned, according to the St. Petersburg Times’ Greg Auman.
- New Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville tells USA Today’s Thomas O’Toole that he hopes his players will be “resilient” in the culture change with him taking over the program.
- The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Matthew McGowan and Adam Zuvanich report about the latest legal briefs filed by Mike Leach’s attorneys that claim his firing was based on factors beyond his coaching and alleged mistreatment of an injured player.
- Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram provides an early look at next season’s Big 12 race.
- The pundits at CollegeFootballNews.com weigh in on the hiring of Tommy Tuberville by Texas Tech.
But try telling that to administrators who are hiring and firing coaches as I write this.
Here are some stories percolating from around the Big 12 about the game last night and other assorted topics as I scramble to make my mid-afternoon flight.
Enjoy the weekend.
- Former Kansas State co-defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt has been fired at South Florida, the Tampa Tribune reports. His possible replacements include former Iowa State coach and former South Florida assistant Dan McCarney.
- Steve Hanway of the Big Red Network writes that Mike Leach’s firing provides some perspective on recent “struggles” at Florida State and Nebraska.
- Jason King of Yahoo! Sports writes that Texas fans would be correct to affix an asterisk to Alabama’s victory over the Longhorns.
- Another indignity in Colt McCoy’s snakebit career was notched against Alabama, SI.com’s Andy Staples writes.
- McCoy’s early injury strips away much of the luster from Alabama’s title-game victory over Texas, CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd writes.
- The Kansas City Star’s Bill Reiter writes that it’s a tough time for tough coaches like former Big 12 coaches Mark Mangino and Mike Leach.
- Nebraska strength coach James Dobson has the Cornhuskers working hard barely a week removed from their impressive Holiday Bowl victory of Arizona, Lincoln Journal-Star reporter Brian Christopherson writes.
- Sam McKewon of the Nebraska tate Paper.com writes that Bo Pelini succeeded where Mack Brown didn’t -- by winning with an overwhelming defense and a less-than-potent offense.
- Joe Posnanski of SI.com writes that Mack Brown will be in for many sleepless nights after some of his coaching decisions in Thursday’s game.
- The San Antonio Express-News’ Buck Harvey writes about the crushing end of Colt McCoy's record-setting career in his final career game.
- Ruffin McNeill had a second interview with Texas Tech officials on Thursday for the Red Raiders’ vacant coaching position, Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
- The New York Times’ Pete Thamel has Texas No. 3 on his "way too early top 10 list" for the 2010 season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Six Big 12 schools are represented in the initial 62-man watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is awarded annually to the nation's best defensive player as determined by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Defensive end Jeremy Beal and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy represent Oklahoma, which leads all Big 12 teams with two selections.
Other nominees include Baylor linebacker Joe Pawelek, Texas defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle, Kansas defensive back Darrell Stuckey, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
The watch list is topped by 17 players from the Southeastern Conference and nine from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Big 12 is next in a three-way tie for third with the Big Ten and the Pacific-10.
The Big 12 has accounted for four of the Bronko Nagurski Award winners since it began play in 1996, most recently Texas' Brian Orakpo last season. Other Big 12 winners have included Oklahoma's Roy Williams (2001) and Derrick Strait (2003) and Texas' Derrick Johnson (2004).
Finalists for the award will be announced in mid-November. The trophy will be presented on Dec. 7 in Charlotte, N.C.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder appears no closer to settling on a starting quarterback for the Wildcats Sept. 5 season opener against Massachusetts than he was 14 practices ago.
Snyder said Tuesday that there is tight, ongoing competition between four contenders for the job. Carson Coffman, Grant Gregory and redshirt freshmen Joseph Kassanavoid and Collin Klein all are hooked up for the starting job.
"No decision has been made and just about every time that I seem to think that someone is starting to pull away, the pack closes the gap on them," Snyder said. "I would say that on any given day they are probably pretty equal at this point in time."
That lack of separation is a trend that Snyder hopes will be ending with six practices remaining.
"The longer it goes it makes it harder and harder because it is human nature to settle into routines and to settle into performance levels," Snyder said. "I am trying to encourage that someone needs to rise above it all and continue to make that kind of improvement. And that doesn't mean that there hasn't been improvement, I'm not saying that, but not enough and not consistently enough for one to firmly establish himself."
Coffman and Gregory were presumed to have a slight edge because of their previous experience. Coffman, a redshirt junior, had 41 passes as Josh Freeman's backup last season. Gregory, a senior, threw 37 passes in the previous two seasons at South Florida as Matt Grothe's backup before transferring to Kansas State this spring.
"They both seem to do some of the same good things," Snyder said. "Carson, having been here in the spring, has had a little more experience. He's had 15 days more experience in this actual system and many more days than that when you encompass the offseason program and all that goes along with it.
"Grant probably has more playing time experience and has been around the game for a few more years with this being his sixth year in college football. Both of them come from football families, are pretty astute, and try to be good students of the game."
Coffman's father, Paul, is a former Kansas State tight end who played 11 years in the NFL. His older brother, Chase, was a record-breaking tight end at Missouri and a third-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Gregory's father Greg, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at South Florida on coach Jim Leavitt's staff before he was fired earlier this year. He now works as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Joey Jones' staff at South Alabama.
Snyder was also pleased with the progress of the two redshirt freshmen, who have both shown flashes of potential.
"Joe and Collin have both done reasonably well," Snyder added. "But, they haven't progressed at quite the same level that the other two have. They continue to make improvement and do good things."
The Wildcats will be on display Saturday at an open practice. It should be interesting to see which one of the quarterbacks takes the majority of the snaps -- or if Snyder chooses to keep them relatively equal as the season approaches.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Bill Snyder seemingly was enjoying retirement before he heard the call to return to his old job at Kansas State.
Snyder, who orchestrated one of the most celebrated turnarounds in college football history during his first stint with the Wildcats, will be facing a rebuilding job nearly as steep this time around.
The Wildcats have played in only one bowl game since their 2003 Big 12 championship season. Since then, they have had one winning season, a 7-6 mark in 2006 season.
Snyder is back, saying his zest has returned after his three-season sabbatical.
Here are three quick predictions I foresee for him and his team in the upcoming season.
1. Brandon Banks will emerge as one of the most valuable offensive weapons in the league. Fans saw Banks develop into one of the top receivers and returners last season. But I look for bigger things this season. It won't surprise me if veteran Kansas State offensive coordinator Del Miller uses him in a "Wildcat" formation that will emphasize his game-breaking skills and even see what he can do as a passer.
2. I expect at least two starting quarterbacks for the Wildcats this season and maybe even more. Carson Coffman got the nod on the first day of practice Wednesday and should be the Wildcats' opening-game starter Sept. 5 against Massachusetts. But it wouldn't surprise me if junior college transfer Daniel Thomas gets a start and maybe even Grant Gregory, a transfer from South Florida.
3. Snyder's coaching acumen will enable KSU to claim a victory or two that some might not expect this season. The Wildcats are expected by most to struggle to stay out of the North Division basement. I think they'll be better than that, coming close to qualifying for a bowl berth and sneaking in an upset from one of three late-season home games -- against Missouri, Colorado or Kansas. If they can win two of those games, the Wildcats might go bowling this season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
At least one Big East coach is glad that veteran defensive coordinator Wally Burnham has moved to his new job at Iowa State.
West Virginia coach Bill Stewart told the Tampa Tribune he won't miss the challenges posed by Burnham's intricate schemes when he was South Florida's defensive coordinator.
"Wally's been a great friend, I'm a big admirer of him," Stewart told the Tribune. "But I'm glad he's out west."
Under Burnham, South Florida's defense stifled the Mountaineers the past three seasons. West Virginia averaged 12.7 points and 153 yards rushing versus the Bulls, compared with an average of 36 points and 284 yards rushing against every other opponent during that span.
"What they did, they had two corners that locked us down and a guy they walked down in the box," Stewart said. "It's hard to run that spread with nine guys in the box and we had to throw the ball."
Burnham will face one of the biggest challenges of his career as he attempts to turn around Iowa State's struggling defense. The Cyclones ranked among the bottom-10 defenses nationally in scoring defense (tied for 110th), total defense (112th), pass defense (116th) and pass efficiency defense (117th) last season.
And it doesn't figure to be any easier, considering all of the potent offenses they will face in the Big 12 this season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It would hard to imagine the day that Tom Osborne totally walks away from working for Nebraska.
Sure, he had that dalliance with politics for a few years earlier in this decade, but we always knew he would be back at Nebraska in some role.
So his announcement yesterday that he will remain in his job as Nebraska's athletic director wasn't that much of a surprise.
In fact, Omaha World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel expects Osborne to stay in his job for at least five more years. He said that Osborne looks refreshed being around coaches and athletes again, mentioning how robust he now appears compared with how he looked as a political candidate or U.S. congressman.
And Lincoln Journal-Star columnist Steve Sipple reports that Osborne still will be challenged by bringing several projects on his bucket list to fruition, including an expanded learning center for the athletic program, a new basketball training facility and a new downtown arena in Lincoln.
Getting them won't be easy. But Nebraska couldn't have a better man pitching for them than Osborne.
Until then, here are some links from across the conference.
- The Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond writes that Missouri athletic director Mike Alden is getting the last laugh after nearly losing his job three years ago.
- Venerable Oklahoma play-by-play announcer Bob Barry Sr. is recovering from replacement surgery on his right hip that was performed on Wednesday. Barry, 78, had replacement surgery on the other hip performed in April, the Oklahoman's Mel Bracht reports.
- The Sporting News college football guys disagree on which Big 12 team is headed for the biggest fall. Dave Curtis predicts it will be Texas Tech and Matt Hayes has tabbed Missouri.
- Robert Cessna of the Bryan Eagle discusses the importance of the next year's Kansas-Texas A&M game.
- The Boulder Daily Camera's Neill Woelk advocates the NCAA utilizing some "frontier justice" to punish miscreants in college athletics.
- An $11.5 million renovation to concourses on the east side of Jack Trice Stadium should result in a better experience for spectators at Iowa State games this season, Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register reports.
- The Heisman Pundit writes that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford's accomplishments make any comparisons with former Oklahoma quarterback Jason White faulty.
- Former South Florida quarterback Grant Gregory has officially arrived at Kansas State, Austin Meek of the Topeka Capital-Journal reports. Gregory will compete with Carson Coffman for the Wildcats' starting position.
- Former Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis tells the Oklahoman's Berry Tramel that he's humbled by the adulation he still receives from Sooner fans, more than 30 years after his career ended.
- The Williams and Hyatt Sports Blog isn't buying TCU as a fantasy matchup for Texas Tech for a lot of reasons.
- Massive 287-pound center Ryne Reeves of Crete, Neb., has become Nebraska's first commitment of the 2011 recruiting class, Rich Kaipust of the Omaha World-Herald reports.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
A long time ago when I was growing up, I always waited for the Street & Smith baseball yearbook to turn up at the magazine section of my neighborhood drug store.
Back in those pre-internet days, this book was the personal bible for all things about major league baseball for me and my friends.
The book had two must-have items that I waited for every year. One were the neat diagrams of major league parks with the longest home runs in history mapped out.
And the other item I couldn't wait to see were the career lists among baseball players -- both active and retired.
We couldn't find that information at the drop of a keystroke. I think that's what helped developed my interest in numbers and sports.
And it also gave me an extreme appreciation for similar career lists, like the one that the NCAA compiles for active football players.
After the defections of several players, four of the top nine current career players in terms of touchdowns responsibility are among Big 12 quarterbacks who will be back for the 2009 season. No other conference has more than two players among the list of top 10 players on the list.
As you can see, Texas' Colt McCoy ranks third in career touchdowns responsibility with 102, followed by Oklahoma's Sam Bradford in fourth place. Kansas' Todd Reesing is in sixth place and Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson ranks in ninth place.
Here's a look at the current statistics.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
After orchestrating organized chaos every day in his weight room, Baylor strength coach Kaz Kazadi has a unique way of relieving his own stress.
Long after his players have left the weight room, Kazadi gets his chance to work the machines late at night.
He'll stop for a few minutes as the only person in the gleaming room with floor-to-ceiling mirrors. While there, he'll practice what he preaches to the Bears -- albeit at a much more sedate pace than what he typically fosters during their workouts.
|Quarterback Robert Griffin has taken advantage of the strength program at Baylor.|
"I might have some slow rhythm-and-blues, maybe crank up some Marvin Gaye or some real slow jazz while I work out to really help me unwind," Kazadi said. "It's vital to my performance and longevity to do this. I have to be ready to emulate what we're preaching."
The extra work in the weight room obviously has paid off for Kazadi, a former linebacker at Tulsa. His own career isn't that far removed after he was sixth-round draft choice who spent a season with the St. Louis Rams in 1997. Later, he played four more seasons in various professional leagues before deciding to go into strength and conditioning coaching.
Today, he looks like he could still stack up a ball carrier or two in the Oklahoma Drill. With his bald head, ripped build and intense nature, Kazadi is reminiscent of Lou Gossett in "An Officer and a Gentleman" in his role of a drill sergeant training his young troops.
Kazadi hasn't been involved in any scrapes with any recalcitrant Baylor players like Gossett when he squared off with Richard Gere in a climactic scene from the movie. But if he did, it's understandable that Kazadi could take of himself against nearly any member of his team.
"If you are selling beauty products you have to look like you've used them," Kazadi said. "The whole thing is working with 18 to 20 year old kids who look my way, they have to know that I'm practicing what I'm preaching."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Spring football, like the season itself, is a time of rebirth and renewal.
From the likeliest BCS challenger to those teams merely hopeful of escaping from the cellar, it's a time to look ahead to later in the season with hope and promise for what could happen.
And it's no different for Big 12 teams after the completion of their spring practices.
In fact, it might be even more anticipated because the Big 12's returning collection of talent looks even better than last season when the conference had an unprecedented hammerlock on the top 15 throughout most of the second half of the season.
After the work this spring, here are some trends we saw across the conference.
Offense again will rule: With eight returning starting quarterbacks from last season, Big 12 offenses looked as if they picked up this spring from last season's arcadelike numbers when the conference accounted for five of the top eight passing offenses and five of the top nine teams nationally in scoring and total offense. The spring showed that we should likely expect more of the same this season.
The two best teams have the two best defenses: Texas and Oklahoma appear to be poised to challenge for the national championship again. They will return quarterbacks who finished 1-2 for the Heisman Trophy. But the biggest reason for the high expectations at both South powers coming out of spring practices is their defensive growth. Oklahoma has nine starters back from last season and might have the nation's most talented and deepest front seven. Texas could conceivably have the nation's top secondary, with consistent two-deep talent at every position. That ability to make consistent defensive stops will be critical for both teams and their title hopes.
If you can't stop them, tweak your defense: Kansas and Kansas State struggled mightily making defensive stops. So it's not surprising that Mark Mangino and Bill Snyder both inserted the 4-2-5 alignment to be their base defensive set. It makes sense in this conference to have as many defensive backs and playmakers on the field as possible. Even Texas is incorporating parts of a five-defensive back set with talented safety Earl Thomas playing as a nickelback. Getting as many fast defensive players on the field as possible makes sense considering all of the talented skill-position people in the league.
Baylor's "Superman" doesn't need to run track: Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin made history last season when he won the conference's 400-meter hurdles only a few weeks after enrolling in school. Despite world-class speed that someday might earn him a shot at the Olympics, Griffin decided to dedicate himself to his football team this spring. It served as a unifier for the Bears, who appear to have a roster talented enough to enable them to challenge for a bowl berth for the first time since 1994. Griffin's diligence at football might get the Bears back in the bowl picture sooner than we all think.
Heavy lifting required for the new head coaches: Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads and Kansas State's Snyder probably have a better appreciation for their rebuilding jobs after gauging the talent of their teams -- or lack thereof -- during the spring. Rhoads vowed at his introductory news conference that his teams would hit opponents as they came off the bus. After only a few practices, Rhoads was blunt when he said his team could use extra practices and needed an infusion of speed to live up to those boasts. Snyder wasn't quite as verbose, but just as busy. As KSU quarterback Carson Coffman appeared to have claimed his No. 1 quarterback job late in spring practice, Snyder quietly attracted former South Florida quarterback Grant Gregory to provide immediate competition at the position and counted the days until heralded junior-college quarterback recruit Daniel Thomas arrives to boost the talent level of his barren team. It looks as if it will be some tough early sledding for both coaches trying to return their programs to respectability.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Bill Snyder has never been the biggest fan of spring games.
In a perfect world, the veteran Kansas State coach likely would have preferred to use his final spring practice in a more controlled atmosphere than at the spring game.
But his first-string offense and defense showed some flashes as it outscored the backups, 45-0. Snyder actually flipped the score at halftime to make it more spectator-friendly after the starters on the Purple team had jumped to a 17-0 edge at the break. They punctuated the game by scoring four touchdowns in the second half.
"Have you ever seen anything as boring as that?" Snyder joked with reporters after the scrimmage concluded.
Five months have passed since Snyder accepted the rebuilding job after his three-season sabbatical. There were some bright spots in the spring game despite some rocky performances earlier in practice.
The first-string offense directed by quarterback Carson Coffman piled up 483 yards. The first-string defense was even better, limiting the KSU backups to nine first downs and 123 total yards.
"This team just needs to practice, practice, practice," Snyder said.
Here are some things that we learned during the course of the spring:
- Coffman appeared to make some headway late in practice, but the quarterback position still remains open.
Coffman showed flashes by passing for 334 yards and three touchdowns. The four quarterbacks who alternated with the second-stringers were a combined 9-for-26 for 62 yards with two interceptions.
"We're much improved from where we were in the beginning of the spring, but we still have a lot to work on," said Coffman, who appears to have earned the respect of his team after they voted him as an offensive captain.
- Look for South Florida transfer Grant Gregory to challenge as soon as he arrives on campus after battling Matt Grothe for the job earlier in his career with the Bulls.
And heralded junior college transfer Daniel Thomas of Northwest Mississippi Community College will get a shot, too. If Gregory emerges to challenge Coffman, we might see Thomas moved to running back to capitalize on his athletic skills.
- One of the other bright spots of the spring was the play of freshman running back Jarell Childs, who narrowed the gap and is challenging Keithen Valentine for the starting job. Valentine finished with 92 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game and still is considered as the No. 1 contender at the position.
- Attendance for the spring game was 12,850. But the most impressive number might have been 450 -- the number of recruits and parents who attended the game.
- Freshman punter Ryan Doerr looked solid throughout the spring, capping his efforts by averaging 45.4 yards per punt in the spring game while kicking for both teams. Included in his barrage were long kicks of 60 and 58 yards.
That production is important for the Wildcats, particularly because incumbent D.J. Fulhage averaged only 38.1 yards per kick last season -- good for 93rd nationally.
- Some questioned the move of Logan Dold to running back to the secondary. While we didn't get a chance to watch him play in the spring game, his athleticism will help in the secondary.
- New defensive coordinator Vic Koenning's retooled 4-2-5 defense looks like it will be productive, although the big game might be taken with a grain of salt, considering it was against the second-stringers.
The new alignment will employ three safeties and hopefully be more productive than the group last season that was 117th in total defense, 106th in pass defense, 110th in scoring defense and 112th in rush defense.
Former walk-on linebacker Alex Hrbec accounted for a huge game with 19 tackles and Brandon Harold chipped in with nine tackles and three sacks to key the play along the defensive line.
- Harold looks a lot more comfortable as a rush end than a defensive tackle, as was experimented at times last season.
"He was a good player last year, and I think one thing that's happened with Brandon is he's becoming a little bit more physical," Snyder told the Topeka Capital-Journal. "He's gained some weight and I think he's just about to turn the corner in the weight room. He can handle a lot of weight.
"He's gaining, and I say gaining, he's still an awfully good player. But you have to realize he was a true freshman last year, so it's in his normal progression that he should get better if he's really focused on it. He should be an improved player year in and year out. And he is making those strides and he is concerned about it -- he wants to be a good player."
Harold contributed three sacks in the spring game and appeared to be one of the most productive Wildcats.
- Wide receiver Brandon Banks clearly looks like the Wildcats' most productive offensive player - as he was most of last season. Banks produced 141 yards on six receptions, including a 64-yard grab from Coffman for a touchdown.
"I'm pretty comfortable but we're going to get to keep working at it as the season comes along, and keep getting better every day," Banks said. "Grade-wise we are probably a C, but there is room for improvement. I think the second-team offense is improving a little bit, but everyone needs to step up and get better, including me. So we're in pretty good shape right now."
- Snyder made a symbolic gesture during the spring game by wearing the old-school Kansas State uniforms that looked like those worn by the Dallas Cowboys. The Wildcats won't be able to wear those once the season starts because of contract obligations with Nike.
And Snyder had an interesting look himself, wearing a coat and tie as he patrolled the sidelines. His wardrobe, he said, could be attributed to not having time to change after some activities earlier in the morning.