Spring drills have hit the midpoint with coach Bill Snyder saying of the full scrimmages, and the mini-scrimmages within normal practices, "I haven't been totally excited about them."
He did offer that "… they're trying to get better, which is what spring practice is all about. That's coming out better than we went in. We haven't made consistent progress, but we've made up and down progress."
Two individuals that Snyder did point out at Tuesday's press conference were Mike Moore, who is playing a backup linebacker spot, plus Jarard Milo, who is pressing Thomas Ferguson for a starting strong safety position.
Moore is a 6-1, 213-pound true-freshman out of Dallas, Texas, while Milo is a 6-2, 195-pound senior from Olathe, Kan., and transfer from Butler County Community College.
"He is probably one of the most impressive guys in spring practices," said Snyder. "He's only about 4-2 and 88 pounds, but he really had a very good scrimmage yesterday. He's very competitive with Angelo right now."
Speaking of smallish players, how about K-State's cast of wide receivers, which includes 5-8, 168-pound Tramaine Thompson, 5-11, 175 Tyler Lockett, and 5-11, 186-pound Curry Sexton, plus 6-1, 229-pound Chris Harper.
In the flesh, most would say those heights/weights listed in the roster are exaggerated a smidgen, if not more.
Giving K-State a possible new look at the wide-out could be 6-3, 217-pound redshirt-freshman Kyle Klein.
"We have small guys who are fighters, so maybe I can give us a different look," said Klein. Like his older brother Collin Klein, Kyle has
been a talent on the move since putting on the purple and white. Collin went from quarterback, to wide receiver, to quarterback in his first three years, and last year Kyle started the year as a defensive end, found himself at tight end in late-August, and then moved to wide receiver after the Oklahoma State game in early-November.
"The move has been smooth," said the younger Klein. "The coaches have been patient in working with me, and the other receivers have helped out a lot."
While he says he's about the same at catching the ball and being a blocker – "It's six of one and half-dozen of the other," – Klein says, "The biggest thing to learn is how to cut loose and play, but have it be within the system."
Klein says he's never caught a competitive pass from his older bro as when Collin was a senior at Loveland High School, Kyle was a strong safety. But as a senior in high school, Klein not only was a first-team Colorado All-State safety, but he also caught 47 passes for 853 yards and 13 touchdowns as a tight end.
"I really enjoyed being a receiver in high school, but the sophistication was nowhere close to what it is here," said Klein. "It was run that direction and catch the ball."
His experience at tight end in high school, and even more so through the early portion of the 2011 season, has done nothing but help him now as a wide receiver.
"I learned how to block the linebacker or defensive end," said Klein. "Now I have a physical advantage over the corners, but they're quicker. But I like it a lot more than sticking my face into a linebacker."
Overall, Klein says of his new home, "I like it. I think it fits my skill set a little better."
To Klein's improvement, Snyder says, "He's still trying to get it all worked out and learn the nuances of the position. It's time consuming, but he's putting in the effort on and off the field. He spends the extra time, and then he has his brother to tutor him."
Quarterback Klein does take every opportunity to help wide receiver Klein blend K-State's sophisticated pass-and-catch game with his individual skill set, which includes a 4.6 40 time.
"We'll be sitting at breakfast at 5:30 in the morning getting ready to go lift weights and he'll throw out a random play, and ask, ‘What do X, Y, R and Z do?'," said Klein of the four Wildcat receiver positions. "He's trying to help me out and I like it. He's been a good teacher, plus the other receivers are helping me out."
K-State's spring camp concludes on April 28 with the playing of the Purple-White spring game at 1:10 p.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.