Tag Archives: Jordan Voelker Kansas State

KSU players recognized on midseason All-Big 12 team

14 Oct

I don’t know how much longer the Wildcats will be able to claim underdog status. Phil Steele released his lists of midseason All-Americans and All-Big honorees, and eight Kansas State names sit among them.

Steele put linebacker Arthur Brown as a first-team All-American. To anyone who has seen him play, this is no surprise whatsoever. He’s 7th in the Big 12 with 38 tackles that include several sacks and tackles for loss. Numbers really do not explain what he brings to this team, though. He gets to the football like he’s magnetically drawn to it. He puts the kind of hard, jarring hits on players that make you happy that you decided to pursue a professional other than football.

Nosetackle Ray Kibble earned third-team All-America recognition. The way the defensive line has been playing, this is very much justified. The Kansas State defense ranks 16th in the nation and is particularly strong against the run. Plus, the Wildcats allow opponents to convert on third down only 30 percent of the time. Kibble has had much to do with that. Coach Bill Snyder said  he is really coming into his own as a leader as well. Fellow defensive tackle Vai Lutui received a spot on the All-Big 12 third team. This is his first season at a D-I college, as he transferred to Kansas State after helping lead Mt. San Antonio Community College to a 13-0 record in 2010.

Defensive end Jordan Voelker saw time in five games last season, a walk-on after transferring from Butler Community College. Steele named him to the second-team All-Big 12. Listed there with him is cornerback Nigel Malone, who apparently resembles players on many different teams because opposing quarterbacks keep throwing him the ball.

As part of Kansas State’s wonderfully revamped linebacking corps, 2010 Freshman All-American Tre Walker made third-team All-American. An enthusiastic vocal leader for the team, he’s one of the younger guys with D-I experience on the roster. Cornerback David Garrett is another passionate player Steele named as third-team Big 12. Wide receiver Chris Harper said Garrett epitomizes the attitude of this team: he may be small, be he’s so tough.

Running back John Hubert is the lone offensive player for Kansas State on this list, as a third-team All-Big 12 player. Averaging nearly 100 yards per game on a team that has a quarterback who averages nearly 100 rushing yards per game is pretty impressive. People worried about how the running game would fare after Daniel Thomas moved on to the NFL. It’s turned out pretty well so far.

 

 

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Kansas State defense looks to redefine its reputation

14 Sep

After finishing the 2010 season ranked as one of the worst defenses in the country, Kansas State currently sits in the No. 1 spot.

Of course, the team has only played one game, but with its next matchup coming against a Kent State team that managed only 19 points between its first two contests, it looks like Saturday will be a great opportunity for the Wildcats to continue what they have started. In its season opener against Eastern Kentucky, the Kansas State defense allowed only 129 yards of total offense. The players, however, don’t want to dwell on that.

“One game doesn’t define the whole season, so we’re really looking on building on that, keeping up the things we did well and improving on the things we did bad,” said defensive end Jordan Voelker, who had two sacks against Eastern Kentucky.

While the Wildcats’ defense looked fantastic in its debut, keeping the Colonels out of the end zone the entire game except when they started a drive on Kansas State’s one-yard line, Voelker said it is important for them to make corrections from that game and improve their tackling because the team will only face tougher opponents as the season wears on.

“Consistency is something Coach Snyder preaches about all the time,” said defensive back Tysyn Hartman. “We can’t have roller-coaster performances where we play great one game, terrible the next. I feel like that’s something we did last year, and we feel like we’re a better defense than last year, so we’ve got to prove that.”

And after a few games against increasingly talented opponents, maybe it will be proven.

“If we put a few good games together, I think people are going to start recognizing that K-State defenses are maybe somewhat back, and hopefully we’ve changed the perception of being one of the bottom defenses,” Voelker said.

Players say the early bye week – a quirk in the schedule, as head coach Bill Snyder referred to it – helped them come back to earth, so to speak, after their great performance in the opening game.

“It brought us down off our high a little bit maybe,” Voelker said, “and we realized that we still have a lot of things to accomplish and we’re not – statistically we’re the number one defense in the nation, but we don’t see ourselves as the number one defense in the nation with the mistakes we made. There’s always those things that we have to improve on, just the small things we’ve got to do to keep getting there.”

Cornerback Nigel Malone said the intensity of the defense has not faded since the win and that the team should be able to maintain it going into the Kent State game and the games after that. While the Wildcats want to be aggressive and tenacious, they also want people to tell that they are enjoying playing the game.

Voelker said that as the Wildcats watch tape of the Alabama-Kent State game, they were impressed by the Alabama defense and wanted to take on a similar look as far as effort and enthusiasm.

“We really like the way that Alabama was flying to the ball,” Voelker said. “That’s the image we want to try to put off, is a defense like that just looks like they’re enjoying playing football and enjoying playing with each other and having a good time and making plays while you’re doing it.”

 

Position Preview: Defensive Line

31 Aug

“Oh, that’s never happened before!”

That was the reaction senior cornerbacks Tysyn Hartman and David Garrett had as they watched film of this year’s defense. What’s the difference that compelled them to comment as they did? Speed. Hartman said the defense as a whole is much faster, and defensive linemen in particular are pursuing the ball in a way their teammates down the field greatly appreciated.

“Our D-line is so much better than last year,” Garrett said. “They give a lot more effort [and are] bigger and stronger.”

When Kansas State’s defense takes the field on Saturday, many fans might recognize only one of the front four. 6’4″ and 305-pound senior Ray Kibble, who started nine games last season and played in all 13, will anchor the defense as the nose tackle. The other defensive tackle will be 6’2″ and 280-pound Vai Lutui, a transfer who amassed 63 tackles last season while helping his Mount San Antonio Community College team to a 13-0 record and national championship win.

“Both of them play hard,” Snyder said of the pair. “Ray has really come into his own, has been a more physical player, has been a tremendous effort player during the course of our preseason practices, which I appreciate a great deal. Vai has really done the same thing, practices hard, and I’m convinced will play hard as well.”

At defensive end, 6’3″ and 250-pound Jordan Voelker (son of Randall Voelker, a three-year offensive tackle for the Wildcats) has worked his way into the starting lineup after seeing time in five games last season. On the other end is 6’0″ and 254-pound Adam Davis, a prized recruit who had to redshirt last season because of an injury after playing at Hutchinson Community College in 2009.

“Adam is a very competitive young guy, has kind of an innate knack for the game, has a feel for it,” Snyder said. “He’s one of those guys that every snap is going to be pretty much the same for him. It’s going to be his best effort each and every time, succeed or fail. Voelker, I think, is as consistent a player as we have on our football team. You exactly what you’re going to get, and you get it every single snap exactly the same way. [He’s] very responsible-capable. Whatever his responsibilities are, you’re pretty certain that’s what you’re going to get.”

The members of this season’s defensive line have the tough task of shoring up a unit that last season allowed the most rushing yards per game in the Big 12 and nearly the most in the entire nation. While players said those numbers disappointed them, they use them for motivation without holding on to them.

“It’s already left in the past for me,” Garrett said. “When you dwell on the past, you never can move forward, so it’s just a new year, a new season, a new team.”