Hype Surrounds Sproles in K.C.

<b>Kansas City, MO --</b> The Darren Sproles Heisman Trophy campaign is underway, even though the standout Kansas State running back might seem like an unwilling participant. Sproles spoke with the media during Wednesday's Big 12 media day festivities in Kansas City, but it's clear that he'd rather do his talking on the football field.

The soft-spoken rusher made quite a statement on the gridiron in 2003, earning first-team All-American and All-Big 12 honors as a junior after leading the nation with 1,986 rushing yards. But with a fifth-place finish in the Heisman Trophy balloting last season, Sproles is dealing with more than his fair share of preseason hype this summer.

"I'm fine with it, but I don't like all of that media hype," said Sproles. "I'm quiet."

Sproles let head coach Bill Snyder and teammate Scott Edmonds sing much of his praises in Kansas City.

"I'd love for him to win it and he's as capable of anyone of winning it," said Snyder. "Darren and I have had some dialogue about this, and he is a very hungry young man. I don't think we would do for Darren anything we wouldn't do for another player in our program.

"We have a lot of information on two websites and we would encourage people to visit those sites. The format is designed for any player that could be recognized for postseason awards. We try to put as much information out as we can."

Added Edmonds, "He's the best running back I've ever played against. We don't like trying to tackle him in practice. We found that out when he came in as a freshman. I know he's going to have a big season this year. He'll get his fair share of carries and he deserves it. We need to get some victories in some big games this year."

Some might wonder just how far the Wildcats would go to get Sproles the opportunities needed to win the award.

"In fairness to our program and all the people that play the game, we want to perform as well as we can and put ourselves in the best position to win game in and game out," Snyder said. "While I know we can't have the type of season we want without Darren touching the ball, we also won't have it in our mind to circumvent success as a team for Darren's behalf. He wouldn't want that."

A blueprint for beating the Sooners?

One question that Sooner head coach Bob Stoops and his players faced yesterday was if K-State had provided a blueprint for beating them in last season's Big 12 championship game.

Snyder took a simpler approach to answering the same question Wednesday.

"I doubt that very seriously," K-State's coach said. "I heard that on the radio this morning on the way to the airport. I don't know that there is a blueprint to beat anyone. If there is, it's probably the best preparation you can put together during the week, and how well you're going to play on Saturday.

"Oklahoma is a tremendously talented football team. It's an exceptional football program. They're good enough that there isn't any particular formula that that can take place. I'd like to think that our kids were well prepared, motivated, and played very hard. Oklahoma may not have played as well as they were capable of. If you put those two things together that can happen."


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