K-State's secondary poised to return to glory

Despite losing two starters in the secondary, Cedrick Williams and company say the Wildcats will be okay in time.

Kansas State's secondary lost safety Rashad Washington and cornerback Randy Jordan from last season. But not to worry, said Cedrick Williams—the Wildcats will be okay.

Williams, the returning leader in the secondary and senior, had five interceptions last season was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection. And during media day, Williams talked about the new faces in the secondary that are left to pick up where K-State left off last season.

"I see everyone coming in competitive and working hard," he said.
"Everyone has been practicing and accountable for themselves. That's what Coach (Bill) Snyder talks about, being accountable for yourself. We came so close last season and had a team worthy of competing for a national championship."

But one thing Williams is trying to be better at is leadership, something he wasn't in position to do last season, defensive coordinator Bob Elliott said.

"I see a lot more out of him this camp," Elliott said. "He's leading a lot more now, but he wasn't in position to that last year and now he is. I see him doing things like staying after practice with some of these young guys to work on technique. He takes care of some of these guys off the field. He's looking out for others little bit more now. Last year, he was just trying to survive, learn what to do. Now he's in a position to that for others, and I've seen that.

"Cedric has a great attitude right now and he had a great attitude last season. But we need to keep that attitude where it is right now. If he's hungry and focused on everything that we're doing, he can be as good as anyone in this country. My job is to make sure he does stay focused."

So other than Williams, what else does K-State have coming back in the secondary? Try Louis Lavender and David Rose, who both have experience starting. Those two will get the first look at the other cornerback position. At free safety, junior Jesse Tetuan is back and will try to team-up with Marcus Patton, a first time starter, at strong safety.

But one common thread that can be pulled from the list of returning talent is that, though they haven't all been starters or started a lot of games, they have experience, Elliott said.

"I think competition is always good and I think we've had better competition this camp than we have had in the last couple of years," Elliott said. "That's a real positive. We've got some experience too. Tetuan has played in a lot of ballgames. He's won a lot of games for us. Cedric Williams has played in a lot of games. Patton has been here three years and learned this system as well as anyone. David Rose and Louis Lavender have been for a long time. Louis played a lot last year. David has just been waiting for his chance.

"There's a lot of experience coming back; maybe not a lot of guys that have played all kinds of snaps in games, but they know what I want and how we play. And I suspect that we're going to end up with a pretty good group."

The new guys have too started to impress, especially Kyle Williams, who came from Texas' Navarro Junior College. But Elliott compared Williams to Cedrick Williams a year ago when he was still trying to learn the defense after transferring from Garden City Community College.

"Cedric came in with all kinds of hype, but yet it took him five, six games into the season to work his way into the lineup. You have to do it the hard way. There's no easy way to do that.

"Kyle just got here. He's got to learn our defense. Once he learns the defense, there is no question he some real good ability. We'll be counting on him. How fast that is? I don't know. It just depends on how fast he picks everything up.

Three other defensive backs to keep eyes on are Surrell Davis, Maurice Porter, and Brett Jones. All three are junior college transfers and all three are quickly starting to show what they can do.

"This is most depth we've had in the secondary since I've been here, so we're looking forward to it," said Rose, who is currently penciled in as a starter at cornerback. "It couldn't have come at a better time too because we're playing all these teams that pass the ball a lot. We've got Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Fresno State, Kansas, and Nebraska's going to throw it a little more this year too."

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