Tag Archives: Collin Klein Kansas State

Grading the Wildcats: Game 2

18 Sep

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein (7) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas State fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Wildcats dismissed Kent State 37-0 on Saturday night. It was a reassuring victory (despite being aided by 136 yards of Kent State penalties) after the team had to scrape up a fourth quarter comeback to vanquish Eastern Kentucky 10-7 two weeks earlier. When you break down this game, however, it certainly was not all good, and the Wildcats have work ahead before they go to Miami for their third and final (and very easily the most difficult) nonconference game of the regular season.

 

Offense: B-

Certainly, having mobile quarterback Collin Klein run the ball 19 times proved to be effective against Kent State, but that is probably not a strategy anyone can expect to be successful long term. If Kansas State has to use him that much on a regular basis, the most likely outcome is that he gets hurt. Now, head coach Bill Snyder said that using Klein’s legs that much is not the plan going forward; he compared last night’s game to last year’s game against Texas, in which running Klein just worked, so they kept doing it.

None of the three running backs (John Hubert, Robert Rose, Angelo Pease) got excessive yardage; not one of them had more than 30 yards. However, the offensive line did look better than it did in the previous game, and the overall blocking seemed improved, as evidenced by how much Klein was able to run.

Klein appeared to be getting more comfortable with the receivers this week, although Snyder said the play calling did not give him as many opportunities to work with. One aspect of Klein’s play that I noticed and appreciated was that after missing an endzone-bound Brodrick Smith on a long pass down the sideline, Klein went right back to him and hit him for a 15-yard strike on the very next play. Klein’s passing numbers weren’t stellar, as he completed 9 of 18 passes for 74 yards, but they were solid.

Sammuel Lamur also saw time at the quarterback spot, and he completed four of six passes for 42 yards. Across the board, many onlookers were impressed by how he threw the ball, and I agree that there seemed to be a certain ease and smoothness to his passing motion.

Last but not least, we can’t overlook the fact the Wildcats only scored a field goal in the second half. Part of that can be attributed to putting some of the No. 2 and No. 3 players on the field to get them game experience, but Snyder still was less than thrilled by that. If you score 34 points against a Big 12 team and none in the second half, you may well lose the game.

 

Defense: A-

There is not much to complain about when a unit gives a team its first shutout in five seasons. Even when Kent State spent what seemed like an eternity in the red zone, the Kansas State defense held in impressive fashion, and Snyder mentioned he was proud of the players for that. Not to put a damper on the shutout, but it did come against an offense ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams. Next week again Miami will be a much more telling test.

 

Special Teams: B

Tyler Lockett muffed (but then recovered) a punt return, but other than that the team seemed fairly solid. Anthony Cantele hit all his field goals and extra points, and David Garrett and Tramaine Thompson got some decent returns. For this unit, the second impression was much, much better than the first.

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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.”

Quarterback Preview

29 Aug

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein (7) avoids defensive end Brandon Harold (91) during the first half of their spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 30, 2011, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

By all accounts, Collin Klein will be the starting quarterback for Kansas State this season. Though he threw only 18 passes in 2010, chances are that most Wildcat fans remember his first career start: he trampled Texas for 127 yards – including 2 touchdowns – over the course of 25 carries.

Originally from Loveland, Colo., Klein redshirted with the Wildcats out of high school in 2008, so this is his third year of eligibility but his fourth year being in the program. In 2009, he did some work as a receiver and a special teams player, and last season, he made his aforementioned debut as a starting quarterback. Standing 6’5″ and weighing in at 226 pounds, he has size that should enable him to see the field well and still hold up well against (hopefully) occasional contact from defenders.

Here’s what head coach Bill Snyder had to say during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference (see the transcript of the conversation in its entirety here, via GoPowercat.com) regarding Klein and his season-opener expectations for the player :

“I’d like to think he’d play well. Certainly, his hope is to, too, I’m quite certain. He’s made progress throughout virtually the entire portion of camp. I think there was a little plateau that has taken place in the last week or so, but he’s a very conscientious young man and always is very cognizant of the good things he’s doing and the things not quite so good and that he needs to improve upon, and he really commits himself to trying to improve in those areas. He’s making progress and I’m quite certain he’ll continue to do that.”

Of course, Snyder wants the other quarterbacks, including junior Justin Tuggle and senior Sammuel Lamur, both of whom have mainly junior college experience, to get some game repetitions when there is an opportunity to do so. By my estimation, that opportunity could exist in the first two games (Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 3 and Kent State on Sept. 17), but the time for experimenting will be limited past that point, as the team travels to the University of Miami for its final nonconference game and then goes right into its Big 12 schedule.

Klein has the support of his teammates and coaches, and many fans are optimistic about him as the starter, but no one outside the program knows for sure what to expect from him on a week-in, week-out basis simply because he has had limited game opportunities to demonstrate his arm strength, accuracy, decision-making and other elements of running a team. Of course, we know he can be a mobile quarterback, if all else fails.

While the offensive line isn’t as experienced as it was last season, Klein will have more targets to hit as receivers Brodrick Smith and Tramaine Thompson come back from injury.

Personally, I think it’s great that the Wildcats seem to have a solid starting quarterback going into the 2011 season. I would think that when a team has multiple quarterbacks taking equal practice reps, their teammates develop chemistry with both, and some may prefer the style of one player to that of the other. Then, when a decision finally comes as to who gets to start, or when it’s one quarterback playing in one half and one the next half, it has the potential to be somewhat of an uncomfortable transition. Obviously, Snyder knows what he is doing: he’s been a head coach at this school for 20 years now. However, I really like this year’s decision (more than last year’s) to determine earlier on who the main quarterback will be.

Overall, I’m optimistic. Is it Saturday yet?

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.