Tag Archives: Collin Klein

The Case for Collin Klein

4 Dec
Collin Klein and jubilant teammates celebrate the program's third conference championship in 117 years of football. (Photo by Jamie Squire)

Collin Klein and jubilant teammates celebrate the program’s third conference championship in 117 years of football. (Photo by Jamie Squire)

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein knows all this is highly improbable.

“If you would have asked anybody a couple years ago if we’d be sitting here having this conversation today, they probably wouldn’t have believed you,” the Heisman Trophy candidate said, adding with a laugh, “and would have put a lot of money down on it.”

A home-schooled kid from Loveland, Colo., Klein struggled in his first couple years in then-new coach Bill Snyder’s system, even moving down the depth chart at times as he worked at wide receiver and on special teams.

Fast forward a couple years, and Klein was at the mall with his wife, Shalin, shopping for a trip that will culminate in New York, where Collin is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy thanks to his tireless work and that of his fellow Wildcats (11-1).

Sure, it might be considered surprising, but Klein quickly disputes the notion that circumstances simply fell into place.

“There’s definitely a lot to it,” he said. “I don’t know if I’d call them random. Everything happens for a reason, and some crazy things have happened to lead our team and myself to this point. There are a lot of reasons for that. There’s a lot of hard work, a lot of preparation that have been put in on so many people’s part.”

Obviously, Kansas State’s entire team played an enormous role in Klein achieving what he has this year. It is an easy argument to make, however, that he has spearheaded a leadership movement that pushed this team to reach its potential in a way that few others around the country have.

***

Perhaps one of the most obvious aspects of Klein’s leadership is that he is never satisfied with his own performance, even though he has been tremendously effective, even though he gets boatloads of attention, even though the team has won consistently.

This is his second year at quarterback, and he says he still has plenty to learn, that he would not say he has necessarily mastered the playbook. There is more that can be done, and he’s okay with that. He welcomes that. He’s more than willing to tackle that.

“I still want to know more,” he said. “There’s still new nuances, new things that we can do and stuff. I guess that constant feeling of being comfortable with being uncomfortable and constantly trying to improve is something.”

It certainly is something. It’s something that has propelled the Wildcats to more wins than anyone outside the program ever predicted.

After all, how could any other player justify giving less than everything when the guy who seemingly would have the least to prove is the hardest worker on the team?

***

The other part of Klein’s leadership, the part those outside the program rarely see, is that the quarterback is almost as tough on his teammates as he is on himself. Unlike many athletes, he avoids swearing, but he knows how to get his point across. Other players respond because Klein has laid the foundation of relationship with each of them.

“You can’t ‘win anybody over,’” Klein said. “You’ve got to care for them and put their needs and their interests above your own, and they sense that, and they know that, and they know if it’s real or not. Folks aren’t – you can’t pull the wool over their eyes. They’re going to know if you’ve got their back or not.”

While Klein might not display emotion using four-letter words, he can still be fiery and powerful when he needs to get through to someone.

“People have taught and shown me you can be passionate and firm and very strong without swearing in someone’s face,” Klein said. “There have come a few times where I’ve had to do that. As long as the caring part is there and the heart for them is there, and it’s been there since you’ve known them, then when the time comes you have some creditability, and they trust you and they know that it’s because I care about, ultimately, you and this team.”

Of course, Klein points out – again – that none of this applies to him alone.

“As a leader, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and hold people accountable,” he said. “I’ve had to do it, but a lot of our teammates have done that, especially this season, from the seniors and all leadership positions, and it’s paid off.”

***

Another essential element of Klein is his perspective. It stems from his Christian faith, and it gives him peace in what might for otherwise be a rather turbulent and nerve-wracking time: traveling to three cities in three days to accept some awards and find out about others.

For Klein, though, there is more. His goal is bigger than the Heisman, bigger than the national championship, bigger than any of that. It’s this:

“Trying to be the best I can be with what God’s given me, trying to serve this team to the fullest with everything I possibly have and invest in the lives of people, which is the most important thing, and those people are my teammates and the people around here.”

Klein is confident those pursuits are worthy of his time and energy.

“That’s more important and will leave a longer legacy than any award, even as prestigious as the Heisman,” he said, “and with that perspective, and knowing that, that kind of puts it all in order for me.”

His grasp of a bigger picture also prevents him from dwelling on regret and what might have been. The loss to Baylor ruined Kansas State’s championship hopes and possibly Klein’s Heisman chances as well. He’s far from immune to the pain of that loss, but he knows there is more out there.

“It’s going to be a hard one forever,” he said. “It’s something probably none of us will ever forget. The lesson, and the response of our team in being able to bounce back, get back on the horse, finish, finish like we did, was huge and a valuable lesson. Who knows however many times you’re going to have to use it. Life’s not going to be easy, so it’s just about how you bounce back and respond and move forward.”

***

What does moving forward mean for Klein after graduation? Will he pursue an NFL career? Will he make use of his finance degree? What’s next for a player who has been compared to Tim Tebow and has brought more attention and success to Kansas State than it has enjoyed for so long?

 The short answer: He does not know.

The longer answer: He knows the goals he wants to achieve regardless of what profession he enters.

“I want to honor and serve my Lord and Savior,” Klein said. “I want to take care of my family spiritually, financially and physically and serve the people in whatever community I happen to be in at the time. Whatever that looks like, if it’s using my finance degree, or if it’s playing ball, if it’s a mixture of both, who knows. Who knows what it could be. Whatever it looks like, as long as those three things are intact, will be just fine.”

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Wildcats finish 10-2 over Cyclones

3 Dec

Klein passes to a teammate during the first half. Photo: Orlin Wagner / AP

Again, the Wildcats won in dramatic fashion, finishing off Iowa State 30-23 and earning a 10-win season for the first time since 2003.

The quality of the play matched the quality of the weather early at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. In the first 10 minutes of the cold, rainy Senior Day game, Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett fumbled a pair of snaps while Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein absorbed a pair of sacks.

With about five minutes left in the first quarter, though, Iowa State put points on the board first with a 30-yard flea-flicker from Barnett to Darius Darks.

“We were just executing,” Barnett said. “I don’t think K-State was expecting us to come out that way, and we just kind of took advantage of it, but then they definitely started catching on and made some adjustments.”

The Cyclones’ lead disappeared almost instantly. The Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage the next drive was a 68-yard bomb from Klein to Tramaine Thompson. It tied the game 7-7.

Shoddy tackling, however, allowed the Cyclones to run right back into the end zone. Duran Hollis took the ball 44 yards to give Iowa State a 13-7 lead. However, Kansas State’s Raphael Guidry blocked his fourth kick of the year to limit the deficit to six.

A 37-yard field goal by Anthony Cantele put the Wildcats within three points of the Cyclones, and a series of mistake-laden drives by both teams ensued. Iowa State had to punt after consecutive false starts. Kansas State had to kick it away after a failed lateral on third down, and the Cyclones went three-and-out for the first time.

With the clock winding down in the first half, Kansas State drove down the field on the strength of 17-yard catch by tight end Travis Tannahill, a 14-yard reception by Hubert, a 10-yard run by Klein and another 14-yard catch by running back John Hubert.

The drive culminated in the least surprising play of the season – a one-yard rushing touchdown by Klein. Cantele’s extra point gave the Wildcats a 17-13 lead going into halftime.

After Kansas State went three-and-out in its first series of the second, Guidry again came up huge on the defensive end. He intercepted a tipped pass by Barnett to set the Wildcats up on Iowa State’s 47-yard line.

While the team struggled to move the football, it got far enough to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt for Cantele, who converted to give Kansas State a 20-13 lead with 8:48 to go in the third quarter.

“We had one turnover – they didn’t have any,” Iowa State running back Jeff Woody said. “If you look at the stat sheet … it’s like looking at a reflecting pool. One side or the other, it’s almost identical: rushing yards, passing yards, total yards, first downs, everything is identical. If there are two more evenly matched teams in the country, I’d like to see them.”

Iowa State kept itself in the game, though, keeping its drive alive through three third-down situations and eventually scoring on a 13-yard touchdown run from Woody. The score tied the game at 20 with 4:25 to play in the third quarter.

The Wildcats’ third possession of the half appeared to begin badly, but a sack of Klein was whistled as a horsecollar. A pair of 15-yard and 21-yard runs by Hubert got his team into a first-and-goal situation on the 3-yard line. However, the Cyclones held them to a field goal, and they only fell behind 23-20.

A 43-yard field goal by Iowa State put the Cyclones right back in it with 6:12 to play in the game.

Driving for the win, the Wildcats got lots of help from Hubert. He got a 22-yard run right off the bat. Klein connected with Torell Miller for a 21-yard gain, and it was Hubert who took it 26 yards – including an impressive tightrope walk at the end – and dove into the end zone for the game-winning score.

“When the game was on the line, they had to line up and take it down the field,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “They answered and took it down the field with a great rush attack and a smart throw and catch.”

3:29 remained, but the Cyclones could not get a score. On fourth and two, Woody carried the ball, and as he was about to get tackled, he threw the ball over his shoulder in hopes one of his teammates would recover. Ultimately, though, the Wildcats recovered and ran out the clock.

Woody recognized that on that play, the Wildcats knew what was coming, having seen it earlier in the game.

“They jumped the snap count,” Woody said. “The rhythm of the cadence is the same, and we went on a certain cadence that they had heard before. As the ball was moving – they didn’t even react to it. They were reacting to the sound. They jumped the count and dug into one of our linemen and forced disruption in the backfield.”

That would be the final big play the Wildcats needed to take care of their part in going to the best bowl possible.

KSU defeats Texas for 9th win of season

19 Nov

With under 3 minutes to play in the ball game and Texas driving, Kansas State had not gotten a sack. After three consecutive incompletions by Case McCoy, the Wildcats’ Adam Davis picked the best possible time to put the quarterback on the ground. Not long after, Kansas State secured a 17-13 victory, its fourth consecutive win against the Longhorns.

Though the Wildcats amassed only 121 yards of offense compared to the Longhorns’ 310, they came out on top to move to 9-2 on the season.

The game began as a snoozer. In fact, each team only had a field goal until 9 seconds remained in the first half.

Kansas State struck first with a field goal – all it could manage even having just 16 yards to go after an interception by Emmanuel Lamur with 11:06 to go in the first quarter gave the Wildcats a super-short field. A few possessions later, Texas took advantage of its own fairly decent field position by converting on a 38-yard field goal. The game remained tied 3-3 until the final seconds of the half.

On a drive that included an 11-yard catch by Chris Harper and a 24-yard zinger to Sheldon Smith on the sideline, Collin Klein threw a strike to Harper to put the Wildcats up 10-3 going into halftime.

Texas’ first drive of the second half gave way to another interception by the Wildcats, this one by Ty Zimmerman, who picked off the Longhorns twice in last season’s game. The ensuing possession for Kansas State ended – predictably – with a touchdown rush by Klein. This put Kansas State up 17-3 with 6:59 to go in the third quarter.

The Longhorns answered with a long drive that culminated in a 36-yard touchdown pass from McCoy to Blaine Irby. This put Texas within a touchdown of Kansas State with 3:43 to play in the third quarter. Leading 17-10, the Wildcats’ offense stalled. The Longhorns pulled within four points after getting a field goal with 4:27 left in the game.

Leading Texas 17-13, Kansas State went three and out. The Longhorns turned it over on downs, and even though the Wildcats had to punt on their next possession, Texas ran out of time.

Wildcats take painful loss on homecoming weekend

29 Oct

In the first seven minutes of the ball game, it appeared all the critics might be right about Kansas State. At the end, they were … at least about this particular game. The scoreboard read 58-17 Oklahoma. It was a devastating blow to the previously undefeated Wildcats.

“Right now my thoughts are, ‘Just forget about it,’” said wide receiver Tyler Lockett. “We were not ready to play, and we got beat badly, and nobody wants to lose like that.”

On homecoming weekend in Manhattan, the defense that had been so highly regarded took a horrible beating. The Sooners’ offense ran rampant, gaining 690 yards. 520 of those came through the air, the worst aerial attack ever by an opponent at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

While the skill and speed of No. 11 Oklahoma did not shock the Wildcats, they certainly did not expect the outcome they got on Saturday.

“We knew what kind of a team they were coming in,” said quarterback Collin Klein. “It wasn’t a surprise, but frustrating, not being able to execute like we were. We were struggling, and to watch them come right back – it was hard.”

Largely thanks to two interceptions by Nigel Malone in the first half, the No. 10 Wildcats trailed just 23-16 going into the locker room at halftime. As the second half progressed, it became clear who made better halftime adjustments.

In the final 30 minutes, the Wildcats did not score; the Sooners scored five touchdowns. Kansas State recorded just 32 yards of offense in the second half. Oklahoma got more than 10 times that number – 378, to be exact.

While those statistics make the home team defense look pretty awful, coach Bill Snyder said made it clear that it was a team loss.

“We have been able to, through the course of seven ball games, to possess the ball and move the ball well enough to keep people’s offense off the field a substantial amount of time, and we were not able to do that,” Snyder said. “This wasn’t totally a defensive malfunction to the degree that it cost us the ball game. We lost the ball game on both sides of the ball.”

Interestingly enough, it did not start out that way.

To begin the game, Oklahoma marched down the field on consecutive possessions while Kansas State answered with three-and-outs. The Sooners took a 14-0 lead.

A minute later, the Wildcats took advantage of the Sooners kick out of bounds. They got a field. It was 14-3. It was a modest beginning for the Kansas State offense, to be sure.

On the first play of the second quarter, the Wildcats committed a false start, the kind of attention-to-detail penalty that coach Bill Snyder cannot stand. On the second play of that quarter, quarterback Collin Klein weaved through the Oklahoma defense for a 42-yard touchdown rush.

All of a sudden, it was 14-10 Oklahoma.

On the Sooners’ next possession, cornerback Nigel Malone picked off Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, setting the Wildcats up for – wait for it – a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Klein.

Just like that, Kansas State led Oklahoma 17-14.

After giving up 17 consecutive points, the Sooners responded promptly with a touchdown of their own. They only went up by three points, however, as defensive tackle Raphael Guidry blocked the extra point. It was his third such play of the season after blocking two Texas Tech field goals a couple weeks earlier.

With the Sooners leading 20-17, the Wildcats sustained a nice long drive only to miss a 25-yard field goal. On Oklahoma’s ensuing drive, Jones threw another interception. It was Malone again, good for his sixth pick of the season.

Unfortunately for Kansas State, that possession yielded nothing after running back John Hubert fumbled and Oklahoma recovered. Only able to get a field goal from the possession, the Sooners went into the locker room with a six-point advantage.

Though the Wildcats did a decent job containing the Sooners in the first half and moving the ball themselves, they could not do either in the second half.

“We couldn’t move the ball, and we couldn’t stop them; it’s pretty simple,” Snyder said. “Every one of our victories has really been a team victory, it truly has, and this was a team loss. We struggled on both sides of the ball, very much. Take your pick.”

With Oklahoma State next on the dock, though, the Wildcats cannot dwell on this debacle. That sentiment is unanimous.

“We’ve just got to come together on Monday and bounce back,” said cornerback David Garrett.

 

 

 

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.”

 

On the Offensive: Slow and Steady

13 Oct

Photo by J Pat Carter / AP

Kansas State faces a variety of foes with fast attacks. Baylor, Missouri, and – on Saturday – Texas Tech are just a few fellow Big 12 teams who place a high priority on hurrying. Their efficiency in getting to the line of scrimmage, calling the play and snapping the ball can put defenses on their heels. While this style may work for some teams – although apparently not against the Wildcats – Kansas State employs a slightly different modus operandi.

The Wildcats regroup behind the line of scrimmage, strategize, converse, compare notes. Smaller numbers continue to replace larger ones on the play clock. The players break from the huddle and get set. Quarterback Collin Klein and others look at their coaches on the sideline. The crowd begins to count. “Five! Four! Three! Two!” Center B.J. Finney snaps the ball.

That sort of routine is why the Wildcats lead the Big 12 and the nation in time of position, on average holding the ball for nearly 36 minutes per game. Keeping the other team’s offense off the field is certainly a priority, but Kansas State has also been careful to actually make use of that time.

“The time of possession doesn’t mean anything if we’re not getting points,” wide receiver Chris Harper said. “We had opportunities last game where we should have put more points on the board and we didn’t. We’ve got to improve on that.”

As far as the slower-moving strategy, Harper has bought in.

“I think it’s to our benefit because we get that much more time in the huddle, more time to regroup and things like that,” Harper said. “You can go harder on the next play. There’s benefits to it. Obviously you don’t get as many plays, but I think you get more quality plays.”

Besides that, resisting the urge to turn the game into the foot race shows a certain obstinate attitude, and it fits the Wildcats well.

“When we chew up the clock, it means we’re controlling the game, that we’re trying to do what we want to do instead of play at their game pace,” Finney said. “So to be able to do that is a huge advantage in our favor, obviously.”

Those steamy summer two-a-days and weight room sessions pay off when the Kansas State offense is on the field for drives that last five minutes or more. They also give the Wildcats an advantage in the fourth quarter, when the team must stifle the comeback attempts of its opponent or launch a final rally of its own.

“I firmly believe that our conditioning has helped us win the games, especially on offense,” Finney said. “When we have those five minute drives like we had this past game, being conditioned helps you execute a lot better, takes fatigue off of your mind, and helps you get your wind back in between plays. Being in shape is a huge factor going into late quarters.”

At 5-0, the Wildcats are in better shape than most imagined they would be. Pervasive skepticism before wins over Miami, Baylor and Missouri has dwindled some, but Kansas State is still the underdog going into Lubbock this weekend. The players, however, seem a little tired of addressing what they can’t control – like the perception of whether Kansas State is a legitimate threat for the Big 12 title and possibly more.

“That’s in the eyes of the media and the nation,” Finney said. “In our eyes, we are a legitimate team and shouldn’t be taken lightly because we are 5-0. We come in every day and improve, and we just take that work ethic with us and the discipline to do everything right.”

So far, that’s looking like a good strategy.

 

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.”

“Is he related to … ?”

10 Aug

This season, there are several familiar surnames on the Wildcat roster – those of current NFL players, those of former K-State stars, and those that denote family players on the 2011 team. Here’s a snapshot of who will have the big expectations in coming years:

Tyler Lockett – Those who have followed Kansas State football across the years will recognize this freshman’s last name instantly. His father is Kevin Lockett, who is the team’s all-time leading receiver with 217 catches for 3,032 yards. His uncle, Aaron, is No. 4 on that list. Tyler comes to the Wildcats as a wide receiver, just like his famous predecessors. However, he played offense and defense at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and led his team to a 13-1 record and 5A state championship in his senior year. For his efforts – which included 42 passes for 765 yards and 13 touchdowns as well as 54 tackles and 6 interceptions – he was named First Team All-State by the Tulsa World. While receivers coach Michael Smith has had good things to say about this freshman, he may not see much playing time right away because of the depth at his position.

Ian Seau – Anyone who has watched professional football in the past 15 years knows this last name. Ian’s uncle, Junior, was a 12-time Pro Bowler at linebacker. Ian comes in to the Wildcat program at a defensive end. In his career at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, California, he amassed 89 tackles, 18 sacks and 4 blocked kicks. As much as the Wildcats’ defense has struggled in the past couple years, Ian may get to contribute quickly.

Marquel Bryant – Another incoming defensive end is a cousin to an NFL receiver who tore up Big 12 stadium fields during his time in college: Dez Bryant, who is now with the Dallas Cowboys. Marquel is another player who could help bulk up the Wildcats’ defense.


Kyle Klein – The brother of Collin Klein, a junior at Kansas State and the favorite to the win the starting quarterback position, played multiple positions in high school. While he competed at safety, tight end and quarterback in his hometown of Loveland, Colorado, he is currently listed as a defensive end for the Wildcats. He was a First Team All-State 4A selection as a senior, when he caught 47 passes for 853 yards and 13 touchdowns as a tight end and made 113 tackles and five interceptions as a safety. He was also a team captain for two years.

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.