Tag Archives: collin klein quarterback

The Honey Badger Way

25 Oct

Klein (7) reacts after his team held Miami inside the 2-yard line during the final minute of the game. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Throughout the season, the toughness of a certain Kansas State quarterback has become more and more apparent – so much so, in fact, to spawn a YouTube video of highlights of his plays with audio describing a honey badger, a creature renowned for its fearlessness, toughness and resiliency in the face of scarier-looking foes – like, for example, snakes.

His teammates have certainly gotten a huge kick out of the video, and they enjoy teasing him about it.

“We make fun of him all the time, on Twitter and things like that. I know we get a real kick out of it. He gets kind of embarrassed sometimes because he doesn’t like that much attention, but we like seeing him embarrassed like that sometimes. He’s always playing that tough-guy role, so seeing him out of his element sometimes is pretty funny.”

For his part, the always-modest Klein seems to find it pretty hilarious too. He said the video was a learning experience – before seeing it, he did not know what a honey badger was or what it looked like. He couldn’t help laughing as he tried to answer what commonalities he might have with the animal.

Evidently they’re pretty tough sons of guns. That’s about all I know, really, and eat cobras. I don’t eat cobras, if you’re going to ask that question.

In all seriousness, though, Klein’s toughness – which he says is inspired by the effort of the guys on the field with him – has been a rallying point for his teammates on many occasions. Defensive end Tysyn Hartman said he has not seen Klein slide yet, which Hartman and others appreciate.

“Some of these quarterbacks, they run, they slide, give up an extra yard or two to save their bodies. He’s giving it up for the program. That’s leadership at its finest. We see him giving up his body to get those extra few yards, get the first down, and that makes us want to play harder.”

 

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Klein’s Rise: Not a Surprise

13 Oct

Photo by Jeff Tuttle / AP

Doug Klein can remember the exact day and place when he first thought that his son Collin could play Division I football.

On Sundays, the Klein family would go to church, and then the boys would settle in on the couch to watch NFL games. At halftime, they’d go play catch in the front yard. This day, Collin was the receiver and Doug was the quarterback. As a 6- or 7-year-old, Collin already knew what a slant route was, and a hitch, and a stop-and-go, and a fly, and a flag and a post – all those routes. But one of his catches in particular caught his dad’s attention.

“He ran a square-in route, and I threw him the ball, and it was a catch that you rarely see that’s even made in high school, where you reach out, you catch the ball with your hands, you look it in, all of the technical aspects of it,” said Doug, who coached for several years at the high school and collegiate levels.

“I said to myself at that point, ‘If the Lord has this planned for Collin, and it’s in his heart to do it, he can play Division I football, and he’ll do it if he wants it and if the Lord has it mapped out for him.’ And we just let it go from there. I knew he possessed the skill sets necessary to do. It was just a matter of whether the Lord would put it together for him and if it was a passion the Lord put on his heart to do. And obviously all of those pieces fell into place and here he is.”

One tough kid

With the hits the Kansas State starting quarterback has shrugged off this season on the way to rushing nearly 100 yards per game, there has been lots of talk about his toughness. His parents say that attribute is nothing new.

When he played basketball in elementary school, Collin had issues with the arches of his feet, and the doctors recommended aggressive, deep-tissue massage and bathing his feet in ice. As one might be able to imagine, that is not a pleasant treatment. In fact, it’s extremely painful. But even as a fourth- or fifth-grade kid, he had the physical and mental toughness to do what needed to be done to fix the problem, his dad said.

During his junior year of high school, Collin sustained an ankle injury during a football game. The X-ray showed no breakage, so after different treatments over the course of two weeks, Collin returned to the field, played out the rest of the season and led his team to the state championship game. Two weeks after that, basketball season started, but something wasn’t right. An MRI showed that Collin’s ankle actually had been broken. So, like all great athletes, he knows how to play through pain.

All that said, knowing that their son is strong doesn’t necessarily make it easy to watch him take the shots he does. Doug and Kelly Klein have been around football and seen their kids play it for a long time, but some worry still comes naturally. While football is a physical game in generally, the hits a quarterback takes appear – and in some cases are truly – a little bit different.

“His are more often very visible, number one,” Doug said. “Number two, they’re usually in space, with a lot of momentum, so the velocity and all that kind of thing is a lot more intense. It’s different, I will tell you that. It’s different watching them go through that. But like I said, I understand it.”

A lifetime love

Aside from his athletic ability and toughness, Collin just loves the game, his parents said, and always has.

As a sixth grader, Collin served as defensive coordinator for his younger brother’s football team. He would draw up plays and coach the kids who were just a couple years younger than him. That defense didn’t allow a touchdown all season long.

Some kids make doodles in the margins of their papers at school. On Collin’s papers, it wouldn’t be unusual to find a football play drawn up on the side, Kelly said.

“He loved the pace and the strategy of football,” she said. “As a quarterback, you’re always reading defenses, you’re always planning. The strategy. He loves the strategy of football. He’s a very smart football player, so he really picked up on that, the strategy of it.”

Looking forward

Collin is only a junior, so it will be interesting to see what he can accomplish going forward this season as well as his senior year. With teams like Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on the 2011 schedule – besides the opponents the Wildcats have already faced – Collin and Kansas State as a whole have a chance to prove themselves on a very high level.

What’s more, Collin’s brother Kyle is a freshman on the team this year. His parents anticipate watching Kyle’s story unfold just like Collin’s has. If what we’re seeing now is any indication of the impact another Klein could have, that’s very good for Kansas State.

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?