Tag Archives: Tysyn Hartman Kansas State

Kansas State vs. Texas Tech: The Breakdown

16 Oct

(AP Photo/The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Stephen Spillman)

Is it really fair to keep calling the Wildcats underdogs? Week after week the line favors the other team, and week after week Kansas State finds a way to triumph. It makes many mistakes, it misses opportunities here and there, but the coaches and players overcome all that. The result? The team’s first 6-0 season since 2000, when many of the college juniors – like myself – on this year’s team were just 10 years old.

On Saturday, the Wildcats took on the Red Raiders in Lubbock. They had not won there since 1997. They hadn’t beat Texas Tech in the last five seasons. But yesterday, Kansas State did exactly that, 41-34. The team won the game and bowl eligibility even though it gave up 30 points  – only the second time that has happened in a conference road game since 1989.

During his on-field interview at the conclusion of the game, coach Bill Snyder lamented the inconsistencies of the team across the board and pointed out times the Wildcats could have put away the ball game but did not. At the end, however, he did concede this:

“A lot of it was good.”

For example, Nigel Malone’s pick-six to start the game – not the worst way in the world to grab some momentum and put a hostile crowd on its heels. Of course, two more interceptions – one by Tysyn Hartman, another by David Garrett – boosted this defense’s credentials even more. On special teams – long an emphasis of Snyder squads – the Wildcats had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by freshman Tyler Lockett, son of his school’s all-time leading receiver Kevin Lockett. (For more on Tyler, check out my AP article on him.) Oh, and Raphael Guidry blocked not one, but two field goal attempts by the Red Raiders. Offensively, there weren’t massive fireworks, but the Wildcats did score 41 points while amassing just 339 yards of offense … as opposed to Texas Tech’s 461 passing yards and 580 total yards.

Like Snyder said, though, it was not a perfect performance by any measure. The coach values discipline, and the Wildcats committed 10 penalties for 78 yards, including multiple false starts. He also wants the team to preserve a “bend but don’t break” mentality and avoid giving up the big plays that will really sink the ship. While it could be argued the Wildcats did ultimately accomplish that, the secondary got torched on several huge pass plays – including the 40-yard strike that got the Red Raiders their first six points – and the defense allowed nearly 600 yards of offense. Also, kicker Anthony Cantele missed on the extra point attempt that followed Lockett’s touchdown, and he couldn’t convert on a 31-yard field goal attempt with under five minutes to play.

(AP Photo/The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Stephen Spillman)

With those pros and cons listed, here are some quick thoughts and final takeaways:

  • Can we go ahead and recognize what a talented quarterback Collin Klein is? Completing 12 of 18 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown is something that will catch Heisman voters’ attention, by any means, but stats mean a heck of a lot less than wins do. For example, Texas Tech’s Seth Doege connected on 43 of 63 passes for 461 yards, but he had 3 interceptions, and the Red Raiders lost. Plus, with Klein’s 110 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground, he has numerically moved into the same conversation as Michael Bishop and Ell Roberson, the only other two Kansas State quarterback to crack the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Klein now has 1,002.
  • Texas Tech had 10 receivers who caught a pass of 10 or more yards. Four of those caught one for more than 15 yards. Two of those caught one for 40 or more yards. Obviously, defenses will give up a big play now and then, and those big plays are much more likely to be pass plays than run plays. But giving up 461 yards through the air is not something the Wildcats can afford to do long term. Shoring up the secondary will be key to beating teams like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, whom Kansas State faces in back to back weeks on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5.
  • Of course, since the AP now has Kansas State ranked No. 12 in the nation, that whole “underdog” persona might be difficult to hold on to, at least next week when the Wildcats face the poor, hapless Jayhawks. Obviously, the team should not overlook anyone, but if there was any team Kansas State could overlook and get away with it … Wait a minute, remember Eastern Kentucky? Better not to underestimate anyone.
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The “Inner Arthur” Brown

21 Sep

Kansas State middle linebacker and team captain Arthur Brown is known as a quiet guy, the epitome of the “leader by example” who lets his play on the field do most of his talking for him. At least, that’s how he is most of the time.

Safety Tysyn Hartman said that while Brown is not the type of guy to get excited about much, it’s a riot when he does.

“Every now and then we’ll tell a joke or something, but when he does laugh and get funny, he gets kind of physical,” Hartman said, unable to talk about his teammate without smiling. “That’s one of the only times where he actually gets loud and the inner Arthur shows. Shaking shoulders and doing all that, it’s pretty funny.”

When Hartman first saw this lighter, more jovial side of Brown, it took him off guard. When he talks about that initial impression, he can’t help laughing.

“Me and Chris [Harper] saw it on separate occasions, and it was funny because he had brought it up to me and I was like, ‘That just happened to me like two days ago!’ so it was pretty funny that I wasn’t the only one experiencing it.”

Whether he’s completely focused or having a little fun, it’s hard to argue that Brown has been anything but a perfect addition to the Kansas State defense.

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.”