Tag Archives: Bryce Brown

Preview to the Position Previews

28 Aug

Kansas State’s football season opener is almost here, and so it’s time to go over who you’ll be likely to see on the field Saturday night against Eastern Kentucky. To keep the conversation going all the way up until game time, here’s a brief overview of what the Wildcats have in each position on the field. In the next few days, we will dig a little deeper and look at who the favorites are for the more competitive positions this season. But for now, here’s the general outlook:

  • QUARTERBACK – I don’t see head coach Bill Snyder setting anything in stone as to who the starter is, but what I’m hearing is that there is not much dispute that Collin Klein will be the one at the helm this season. Justin Tuggle and Sammuel Lamur also competed for the spot, but it seems to be all wrapped up. (For why I think that is wonderful for the Wildcats, check back here on Monday.)
  • RUNNING BACK – Despite the whole missing-summer-practices fiasco, I would guess that Tennessee transfer Bryce Brown will still start here. However, when Snyder is invariably asked the question in the upcoming press conference, I will – hopefully – be able to give a more precise report on whether or not he leads the pack, which also includes John Hubert, Robert Rose, DeMarcus Robinson and Angelo Pease.
  • FULLBACK and TIGHT END – Though it made seem odd to group these positions together, I see these players as the ones who do an awful lot of essential blocking and don’t get to touch the football very often. So, basically I’m separating them from others in this list just to give them a little credit. Anyway, Braden Wilson will be the big man at fullback, and Travis Tannahill is probably the go-to tight end.
  • RECEIVER – Chris Harper is back, and so are Brodrick Smith and Tramaine Thompson, who were developing good on-field chemistry with then-quarterback Carson Coffman until they suffered season-ending injuries around the halfway point of the season. Maybe one player people are most interested to see is one whose name evokes many good memories for longer-tenured Wildcat fans: freshman Tyler Lockett is the son of Kansas State all-time leading receiver Kevin Lockett and nephew of Aaron Lockett, No. 4 on the all-time receiving list.
  • OFFENSIVE LINE – For many, it is going to be a bit strange to have the quarterback protected by guys who don’t have the names “Weibert,” “Mayfield,” and “Kendall” across the backs of their jerseys. Quite frankly, it’s a little nerve-wracking to realize that both the center and the guard spots will be newcomers to the team – but then, turnover of players is the norm in college sports. (For more on the O-line, check back later in the week).
  • LINEBACKER – This might be one of the team’s strongest areas. Of course, that hypothesis is predicated on the success of Tennessee transfer Arthur Brown, who has yet to actually play for the Wildcats in a game. That his teammates elected him a captain, though, and that Snyder has spoken highly of him, are certainly good signs. (More on this promising group on Monday!)
  • SECONDARY – With Tysyn Hartman and Ty Zimmerman at the safety spots, the Wildcats should be able to prevent opponents from getting those killer big plays that Snyder so dislikes to give up. David Garrett, who led the team in tackles last season, will return as a cornerback, and junior college transfers are competing for the other cornerback spot. Tom Hayes is the first-year coach for this group. (Again, hopefully I will have an update on this later in the week.)
  • DEFENSIVE LINE – Ray Kibble and Raphael Guidry are the only seasoned veterans in the vicinity, but several junior college players that will be on the ends of the line look like they could make an early impact. Last season the Wildcats’ defense was one of the worst in the country, and these guys are the first line of defense (no pun intended, but since it’s there, I’ll go ahead and leave it) for keeping that from happening again. More on this crew later.

Spring has Sprung: What to make of the “15th practice”

30 Apr

While a spring game doesn’t usually give a solid idea of whether a team is good in comparison to other teams, it can sometimes yield hints of which players are confident and which players work well together. In my opinion, that is exactly what the “15th spring practice,” as head coach Bill Snyder referred to it, did for the Wildcats.

For my actual story on the game, read this or this or this – that’s the beauty of writing an article for the Associated Press. Here, I’ll just go through a few of my more opinionated observations about the ramifications of the Purple team’s 38-37 win over the White team.

First, I’d be no less than flabbergasted if Collin Klein doesn’t end up with the starting job. Now, Snyder might not – probably won’t – announce it. It’ll more likely than not be a “surprise” just like it was last season with Carson Coffman. Klein has the most game experience and looks the most confident and most comfortable with the receivers. He played great in the spring game, just like Coffman did a year ago. I could be wrong, but I’d guess that Snyder will stick with that modus operandi for choosing the starter. Some may question his methods, but I’m sure it’s true – as the saying goes – that Snyder has forgotten more about football than most people will ever know.

Secondly, the Browns are beastly, in the best way. Linebacker Arthur Brown led the team in stops. 14 tackles is impressive even in a spring game. He lived up to the hype there, to be sure. His brother, Bryce, was the most consistent rusher for the team with 73 yards. When the two, native to Wichita, decided to transfer to Kansas State, Wildcat fans were excited to see what would happen. Now they should be even more excited for the actual season. These two can make major contributions to the team, and I’m sure they will.

Third, I’ve always kind of wondered why these games feature the 1’s versus the 2’s. How about first-string offense versus first-string defense and second-string offense versus second-string defense, and then mix different guys in both of those groups? Granted, the response to that suggestion would probably be, “That’s what we do in practice.” I’ll defer to coaches 9 times out of 10, but it’d be neat to have a legitimately close game instead of a falsely close game due to the old halftime score swap.

Fourth, I love that the spring game allows the crowd to cheer for both teams. One the last-second touchdown drive, the band and cheerleaders were going back and forth with color chants, encouraging both sides. As the band yelled, “Pur-ple! Pur-ple! Pur-ple!” the guys with the megaphones responded, “White! White! White!” How nice to have a game in which your team cannot lose.

Fifth, Snyder’s sense of humor never ceases to amaze me. He takes joy, I’m quite certain, in sabotaging reporters’ attempts to lead him into a certain response to a question. For example, when one man asked if Arthur Brown was the fastest linebacker K-State has had, because he chased a certain player all the way across the field, Snyder responded that he could catch up with that particular guy. Obviously, it was a comment made in jest. But you have to give the coach credit for making it difficult for the media to blow things out of proportion by making their comparisons – especially ones based on performance in a spring game – seem silly.

All in all, it was a beautiful day for a nice, non-stressful game. Here’s hopefully the real season goes as smoothly.

Are You Ready for Some Football?

26 Apr

It’s that time of year again. The trees have recovered their leaves and those beautiful little purple flowers, the scurrying of squirrels and birds makes walking around campus a little more entertaining than usual, and there is finally no snow in the forecast. Accordingly, we sports fans and sports writers prepare ourselves for a preview of what is still probably the most popular sport of Kansas State: football. The spring game is on Saturday, and many are anxious for their first look at the new faces of the team.

I have class during the press conferences this semester, but the team’s sports information director sends out a transcript of each one, so here’s the latest that coach Bill Snyder and various players have had to say about the team and its progress.

First of all, the coach said the players did situational scrimmaging – setting up in preparation for different scenarios – for the entirety of Saturday’s practice. He said the quarterbacks threw for 600 yards, collectively, and took steps in the right direction for the majority of the day. Also, it impressed him that the defense held the offense to under 4 yards per rush throughout the scrimmaging, hopefully indicating that the unit will shed its reputation of not being able to defend against the run. He was happy with two groups in particular.

“From an individual standpoint, I was impressed by our second group of wide receivers,” Snyder said. “I also thought Sheldon Smith really stepped up and proved that he can get himself on the field. Torell Miller did the exact same thing as well as Curry Sexton. All three of those guys worked with our twos and really did a nice job in the scrimmage. I thought on the other side of the ball that our linebackers continued to take steps forward. They really played faster throughout the course of the scrimmage and I am pleased with the progress that they have made.”

Maybe the most publicized pair of the players on this year’s team are Bryce and Arthur Brown, brothers from Wichita who transferred to Kansas State from Tennessee and Miami, respectively. According to the online roster, Bryce is a sophomore running back, while his brother is a junior linebacker.

Snyder said Bryce runs well and has really good speed and is developing into a multifaceted player who is improving his blocking and proving that he can be involved in the passing game. However, the other running backs are coming along nicely as well, the coach said.

“I really like the progress that we are making at that position,” Snyder said. “He is the fastest of the group and more physical than the other two at least in stature to John Hubert and Robert Rose. Robert (Rose) has really come into his own, but we saw that last year when he worked on the scout team. All three of them are really competitive right now.”

Junior linebacker Blake Slaughter had good things to say about Bryce’s brother, Arthur, when asked about him last week.

“He is an extremely talented player. He is also [a] quiet leader. He is just a great person to be around and a great addition to the defense.”

Obviously, it’s hard to draw conclusions about the ability of the team as a whole from seeing part of it play against another part of it, but it is a nice opportunity to see what some of the individual players can bring to the table come fall.