Tag Archives: Arthur Brown Kansas State

Big 12 Preview: Kansas State

31 Aug

As nice a person as he is, quarterback Collin Klein has no problem showing ferocity in his leadership on the football field, and that attitude will continue to permeate the team this season. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Overview: In 2011 the Wildcats’ total offense ranked ninth in the league, their defense fifth. Despite the numbers, and despite being picked to finish eighth in the league, Kansas State won 10 games. This year, I’ve seen the Wildcats picked to finish fifth or sixth in the Big 12. Maybe it is just because I attend Kansas State, but I think those predictions are much too safe.

Offense: The biggest offensive weapon for the Wildcats is quarterback Collin Klein, who scored 27 rushing touchdowns and 13 passing touchdowns in 2011. Those numbers moved him into the company of Heisman Trophy winners Cam Newton, Tim Tebow and Eric Crouch as one of just four college players to collect at least 20 rushing touchdowns and 10 passing scores in a single season. 85 percent of Kansas State touchdowns in 2011 included Klein.

In addition to him, the Wildcats return talented receivers in Chris Harper, Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett. Running back John Hubert is also back, along with center B.J. Finney. The sophomore center will be expected to take a leadership role on the line, where Kansas State is projected to start a pair of freshmen.

Coaches have said the Wildcats’ offense will be more versatile this season, using the passing game more effectively to keep opposing defenses off-balance. Klein added a caveat to that, however: whatever allows the team to win is what Kansas State will do.

Defense: The return of linebacker Arthur Brown is monstrous. He led the Wildcats with 101 tackles last season and is the heart and soul of the defense. He will defer that title, of course, if you ask him, which just makes him that much more of a leader for this unit. Tre Walker should also make an impact at the position. Coming back in the secondary are Nigel Malone and Ty Zimmerman, but the Wildcats will have to replace last season’s starters Tysyn Hartman and David Garrett. The defensive line boasts four seniors in tackles Vai Lutui and John Sua and ends Meshak Williams and Adam Davis.

This season the defense is under the direction of Tom Hayes, who was promoted to coordinator after coaching the secondary last season.

Special teams: Kansas State’s most under-appreciated unit is in good hands again this season. Placekicker Anthony Cantele and punter Ryan Doerr are both seniors. Lockett, though a sophomore, took two kickoff returns all the way last season, and Thompson, a junior, generally gets good yardage on his punt returns as well. Longsnapper Marcus Heit played in 12 games last season and was perfect on 128 snaps, continuing the tradition of excellence set by his predecessor Corey Adams, who signed with the Dallas Cowboys last summer.

Schedule: With a road game at Oklahoma slated as their Big 12 debut, the Wildcats may not go undefeated as long as they did last season. However, one way or another they will have two weeks before facing Kansas for their conference home opener. On Oct. 13 and 20 Kansas State has back-to-back road games against Iowa State and West Virginia, and following are home games against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats go to Texas for contests with TCU and Baylor, and then they finish up with Texas at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Projection: In 2011 I predicted eight wins for the Wildcats, and everyone said I was much too optimistic. I never saw any publication project even that number, and as it turns out, Kansas State and its 10-win season made even my guess look too conservative.

This season, I’ve projected a range of wins for each team in the league. For the Wildcats, my range would be eight to 10. Officially, I say 10. The Big 12 has some of the country’s best teams – six of them, if you believe preseason polls – so two losses would still be an extremely impressive year.

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Kansas State ranked behind five Big 12 teams in AP poll

18 Aug

One step forward, two steps back. The Wildcats finally received a little recognition, a bit of the benefit of the doubt in national polls … only to be listed the lowest of all teams from their conference.

After going 10-2 in the 2011 regular season and earning a berth in the Cotton Bowl, Kansas State received a modicum of respect. This year, voters for both major preseason polls – Associated Press and USA Today – placed Kansas State in the nation’s top 25. The Wildcats are No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 21 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.

What is somewhat surprising, though, at least to this writer, is how many Big 12 teams have been ranked above Kansas State – Oklahoma at No. 4, West Virginia at No. 11, Texas at No. 15, Oklahoma State at No. 19 and TCU at No. 20.

Last season the Wildcats defeated Texas and nearly defeated the hot-as-all-get-out Cowboys in Stillwater. Kansas State did not play West Virginia or TCU in 2011, but both those teams come to the Big 12 from conferences not nearly as well represented in the Top 25 … meaning the level of competition they faced each week was significantly lower for them than it was for the Wildcats.

Oklahoma is justified, sure, but Oklahoma State is minus its unearthly tandem of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, and Texas is 13-12 over the last two seasons.

I am not saying Kansas State should be in the Top 10 or anything – not yet, anyway – but it seems to me a bit of a stretch to project that there are five teams better than the Wildcats in their own conference. Time will tell, of course, but watching Kansas State’s unprecedented run last season made me a believer.

With Bill Snyder at the helm, Collin Klein and Arthur Brown emerging into bigger leadership roles than ever in their senior seasons, and more returning players than the Wildcats have had in years, I would think this is the season you go out on a limb and give Kansas State an edge over some of its flashier opponents.

Of course, maybe the slight of being picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Big 12 will do the Wildcats good. After all, they certainly flourished in the underdog role last season.

In the preseason polls of 2011, coaches picked the Wildcats to finish eighth in the Big 12. As mentioned countless times later on, Kansas State finished the season No. 8 in the country. Poll, schmoll.

KSU players recognized on midseason All-Big 12 team

14 Oct

I don’t know how much longer the Wildcats will be able to claim underdog status. Phil Steele released his lists of midseason All-Americans and All-Big honorees, and eight Kansas State names sit among them.

Steele put linebacker Arthur Brown as a first-team All-American. To anyone who has seen him play, this is no surprise whatsoever. He’s 7th in the Big 12 with 38 tackles that include several sacks and tackles for loss. Numbers really do not explain what he brings to this team, though. He gets to the football like he’s magnetically drawn to it. He puts the kind of hard, jarring hits on players that make you happy that you decided to pursue a professional other than football.

Nosetackle Ray Kibble earned third-team All-America recognition. The way the defensive line has been playing, this is very much justified. The Kansas State defense ranks 16th in the nation and is particularly strong against the run. Plus, the Wildcats allow opponents to convert on third down only 30 percent of the time. Kibble has had much to do with that. Coach Bill Snyder said  he is really coming into his own as a leader as well. Fellow defensive tackle Vai Lutui received a spot on the All-Big 12 third team. This is his first season at a D-I college, as he transferred to Kansas State after helping lead Mt. San Antonio Community College to a 13-0 record in 2010.

Defensive end Jordan Voelker saw time in five games last season, a walk-on after transferring from Butler Community College. Steele named him to the second-team All-Big 12. Listed there with him is cornerback Nigel Malone, who apparently resembles players on many different teams because opposing quarterbacks keep throwing him the ball.

As part of Kansas State’s wonderfully revamped linebacking corps, 2010 Freshman All-American Tre Walker made third-team All-American. An enthusiastic vocal leader for the team, he’s one of the younger guys with D-I experience on the roster. Cornerback David Garrett is another passionate player Steele named as third-team Big 12. Wide receiver Chris Harper said Garrett epitomizes the attitude of this team: he may be small, be he’s so tough.

Running back John Hubert is the lone offensive player for Kansas State on this list, as a third-team All-Big 12 player. Averaging nearly 100 yards per game on a team that has a quarterback who averages nearly 100 rushing yards per game is pretty impressive. People worried about how the running game would fare after Daniel Thomas moved on to the NFL. It’s turned out pretty well so far.

 

 

The “Inner Arthur” Brown

21 Sep

Kansas State middle linebacker and team captain Arthur Brown is known as a quiet guy, the epitome of the “leader by example” who lets his play on the field do most of his talking for him. At least, that’s how he is most of the time.

Safety Tysyn Hartman said that while Brown is not the type of guy to get excited about much, it’s a riot when he does.

“Every now and then we’ll tell a joke or something, but when he does laugh and get funny, he gets kind of physical,” Hartman said, unable to talk about his teammate without smiling. “That’s one of the only times where he actually gets loud and the inner Arthur shows. Shaking shoulders and doing all that, it’s pretty funny.”

When Hartman first saw this lighter, more jovial side of Brown, it took him off guard. When he talks about that initial impression, he can’t help laughing.

“Me and Chris [Harper] saw it on separate occasions, and it was funny because he had brought it up to me and I was like, ‘That just happened to me like two days ago!’ so it was pretty funny that I wasn’t the only one experiencing it.”

Whether he’s completely focused or having a little fun, it’s hard to argue that Brown has been anything but a perfect addition to the Kansas State defense.

Linebacker Preview

29 Aug

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but this year’s crop of linebackers has a chance to one of those that people remember.

First off, there is Arthur Brown, the Wichita native and transfer from the University of Miami (where the Wildcats will face the Hurricanes on Sept. 24, by the way). A junior now, he redshirted with Kansas State last season, and those in the program have been impressed by his work ethic and leadership. Fans expect him to make a big impact quickly, and the positive accounts from Brown’s teammates – who voted him a team captain this season – and coaches make that seem like a very real possibility. Whether or not he has that impact will be integral to how quickly the Wildcats can take their defense from a weakness to a strength.

Last season, Tre Walker gave the linebacker group a big boost as a freshman. Head coach Bill Snyder prefers to redshirt incoming players (his rationale is that they’ll probably be better contributors in their fifth year than in their first year) but could not in good conscience keep Walker, who would play in all 13 games, off the field. It was simple: he made the team better. Numerically, he made the Wildcats better to the tune of 47 tackles, a sack and an interception. Keep in mind, he only started two of the 13 games in which he played. Now, with a year of game experience under his belt, Walker is expected to build on his successes of last season. Ideally, playing alongside someone like Brown should help him do that to an even greater degree.

Emmanuel Lamur began his college career at Independence Community College, but in the last two seasons he has been a key contributor for the Wildcats. Fans will likely remember his 2009 season more vividly than his 2010 season. In 2009, he played safety and turned in a team-high 68 tackles … and blocked an extra point in Arrowhead Stadium to give the Wildcats a wild one-point win over the Iowa State Cyclones. Last season, he played both safety and linebacker, and this season, it seems he will be primarily a linebacker. A two-time team captain, Lamur’s quickness and length should bolster this unit in no small way.

In 2010, Alex Hrebec and Blake Slaughter, now a senior and junior, respectively, earned significant playing time at the linebacker spots. Hrebec was third on the team in tackles with 77 even though he missed two games because of injury, his K-State bio notes. Slaughter played in all the 2010 games save for one. This year, however, Hrebec and Slaughter will likely be relegated to backups. That these two will be No. 2s should be perceived as a great sign for the Wildcats. This could be one of the deepest positions on the team, and hopefully it will be the one to lead the defense to a better reputation, leaving last year’s sad numbers (11th in the Big 12 in total defense) in the dust.