EACH EXPERIENCE A PLUS FOR KSU'S HARTMAN

MANHATTAN, Kan. - A quarterback by the name of Josh Freeman stood in the way of Tyson Hartman, so the Wildcat sophomore switched to safety early in the 2008 season where he has played for 39 consecutive games through a total of six KSU assistant coaches.

Tyson Hartman chuckles at the thought of how prepared he is to be an assistant football coach. You see, in five K-State football seasons, Hartman has been coached by six different assistant coaches.

"I look at it as a plus for the real world," said the 6-foot-3, 206-pound Wildcat safety. "In the real world you're going to have all kinds of bosses including some you're not going to like, but you will always have to listen, try to learn, and be productive."

Recruited by KSU offensive coordinator James Franklin in 2007, Hartman came out of Wichita's Kapaau High School as a three-year starting quarterback and defensive back.

After a redshirt season, Hartman stayed at quarterback under the guidance of quarterback coach Warren Ruggiero in 2008, but was then moved to safety in the fourth week of the season where he was coached by Tim Tibias.

With Ron Prince going out and Bill Snyder coming in, Hartman would be coached by Vic Kenning in 2009, Greg Burns in 2010 and now Tom Hayes in 2011.

"Each was similar, yet different in their teachings," said Hartman. "All of them cared about their players. Coach Franklin and coach Burns were both very personable, while coach Ruggiero and coach Hayes are not real out-spoken, but talk to you in a conversational style. (Laughing) Coach Kenning was not afraid to get after you."

Hartman, a 2011 Wildcat captain, has now played in 39 games with 195 tackles to his credit heading into Saturday's 2:30 kickoff against the Miami Hurricanes. In 2009 he was named honorable mention All-Big 12 by the league's coaches on the field.

That's on the field.

Off the field Hartman has been a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection has already secured a finance degree leaving him with such high level courses as "golf, bowling and some on-line classes" to take this past summer and during his fall semester.

"Honestly, it's not that difficult to graduate in four years," said Hartman. "I had a few credits out of high school, and then you take at least 12 hours per semester and six hours each summer.

"I was going to work on my MBA (Masters in Business Administration), but the classes conflicted with football practice, so it didn't work," said Hartman. "But it's been a deal where you try to take your easier classes during the season, and then play catch-up in the spring with the tougher classes."

Back to the field, Hartman said of his early-career position move from quarterback to safety, "It was great for me. It allowed me to get on the field quicker rather than play another season behind Josh (Freeman)."

Today as a last-line defender, he continues to put that quarterbacking experience to good use.

"I try to take full advantage of having been coached at this level to be a quarterback," said Hartman, who has had seasons of 49, 54 and 86 tackles in his first three seasons. "When I'm playing coverage's, I've already learned of possible route combinations and how offenses like to attack the coverage we might be in.

Having that in mind before a play is run can be a great advantage."

Hartman has also seen growth as a team leader on defense with Coach Bill Snyder calling his style being somewhere between rah-rah and leading by example.

"He can speak his peace, and he's not hesitant to do that," said Snyder. "He's like you'd think a senior leader to be. He has a very positive approach about things. He knows this is his last go-round and he addresses himself that way."

What Hartman wants more than anything in this final season is to be better collectively than a year ago when K-State allowed teams to run at will average 231 ground yards, and a total of 379 yards in total offense per game.

"We're going to be better at stopping the run," Hartman promised. "That has been our focus since the end of last year. We have to stop teams from moving north and south." And how might that happen?

"I think we're playing better as a team. The game is going slower and we're playing faster," said Hartman. "As for me personally, I'm not waiting. I'm playing more as an aggressor and attacking the ball carrier."


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