Tag Archives: B.J. Finney 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.

Pregame Thoughts: KSU vs. Texas

19 Nov
  • After five comeback victories this season and an 8-2 record despite being considered an underdog in almost every game, the Wildcats cannot in good conscience be counted out of today’s contest in Austin. In case that is not evidence enough, yesterday’s epic upset of Oklahoma State by Iowa State should make it very clear that anything can happen. At this point, Kansas State is accustomed to the underdog role, and while it might be a source of motivation going into games, more than anything it’s a sense of satisfaction after wins.
  • With that said, this game is not a gimme by any stretch of the imagination. Despite the fan mentality of “WE OWN TEXAS” and the fact that the Wildcats have won the last three matchups, and the fact that the Longhorns are in a bit of a slide, Texas always has massive potential. It’s a deep team with oodles of tradition and a venerable, talented coach.
  • This might be the second-best defense Kansas State has faced this season, second only to Oklahoma. The Longhorns rank 14th in the country in total defense. While I think quarterback Collin Klein will still run wild – like he did against Texas last season and like he has since then – the passing offense for Kansas State has to be active enough to distract the Longhorns and keep them honest. That passing offense has been steadily improving in the last several weeks and has to continue along that path tonight.
  • Spotting the other team 14 points cannot be a strategy the Wildcats employ again this week, as they have the past three weeks. While coach Bill Snyder finds that statistic interesting, he said that good teams are consistent, and part of consistency is starting games well. Redshirt freshman center B.J. Finney remembers that starting fast gave Kansas State an advantage against Texas last season.
    “We just got on them quick, played a good game, so I’m sure they’re going to be looking for a little bit of revenge this year, seeing as how it’s Senior Night down there,” said center B.J. Finney on Tuesday. “They’re going to be motivated. We’re going to have to execute well and play our best game and hopefully come out with a win.”

     

Reasons to be optimistic about Game 2 for the Wildcats

12 Sep

1. Unity is an element that head coach Bill Snyder emphasizes. The Wildcats demonstrated that in a big way as they persevered through a long, largely futile and somewhat embarrassing 10-7 win over Eastern Kentucky in the season opener. Not only did they grind away until finally getting some points, but according to quarterback Collin Klein, the mood on the sidelines was supportive despite the fact that the defense was thriving (allowing only one touchdown, and that when EKU recovered a fumble at the Kansas State one-yard line) while the offense struggled.

“We hung together as a team, didn’t start picking at each other as an offense, or our defense didn’t get on us when they were playing really well and we were struggling,” Klein said. “There wasn’t that animosity back and forth. We didn’t start falling apart. We hung together.”

2. The performance against Eastern Kentucky was only the first game of the season. After watching film of the game, Snyder said the majority of mistakes were correctable ones. Among those were inconsistencies in footwork along the offensive line, which the coach attributed in part to some of the players being a little nervous in their first game and therefore not focusing enough on the mechanics of their position on each snap.

“We’re young,” Klein said. “I know that the guys are working hard. We all did things at times that were uncharacteristic of us. I made a couple decisions that I would like to have back, but it’s trying to stay at it, be diligent, don’t get down … It really is a marathon and not a sprint.”

3. It was a bad game. Simply and truly, the game against Eastern Kentucky was not a demonstration of the Wildcats all performing at their maximum potential. Mistakes were made. In fact, center B.J. Finney called the game a “crapshoot of mistakes.” Obviously, the good news here is that not every game will be a bad game.

“I would like to think it was just a bad performance and that’s not a true read, an accurate assessment of where we’re at,” Klein said. “I know a lot of times I’ll have a one-time instance that isn’t who I am or what kind of player or person I am. It’s the kind of thing where obviously it’s a wake-up call … I know we’re further along than what we showed on Saturday, but like you said it’s a matter of proving it, and we’re going to do the best we can to do it.”