K-State secondary hopes to keep on rolling

K-State's secondary looks to replace to starters this season, but return Cedrick Williams and Jesse Tetuan. Despite the holes to fill, this might be the most depth the Wildcat secondary has had in the last five years-- especially with four junior college recruits that are expected to contribute right away.

While losing seven starters on defense presents problems of its own, the Kansas State secondary looks to replace one half of its unit.

After losing both Rashad Washington and Randy Jordan from last season the Wildcats return cornerback Cedrick Williams and free safety Jesse Tetuan for 2004.

However, it doesn't take too long in visiting with Williams to realize how serious he is about his senior campaign and a defensive secondary that's trying to find its identity.

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

Williams, who came to K-State last season from Garden City Community College, didn't even get into full-stride until the fifth game last season when he started for the first time.

"I'm more comfortable, times eight," Williams said. "This spring and summer is a reflection of how much more comfortable I am. I've been trying to increase every part of my game to be that more complete player."

And that's exactly what defensive coordinator Bob Elliott is counting on out of Williams, who had five interceptions last season, including two against Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

"Cedric has a great attitude right now and he had a great attitude last season," he said. "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.

"But I see a lot more out of him this camp," he added. "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's looking out for others little bit more now. Last year, he was just trying to survive, learn what to do."

Two Wildcats that might be in the "survival" mode this season are David Rose and Louis Lavender, who are vying for the other cornerback position, opposite Williams. Lavender started two games last season and recorded his only interception against Missouri. Rose played in all 13 games last season, but has never started. However, Elliott said both are seniors that are poised to make an impact this season.

"David Rose and Louis Lavender have been for a long time," he said. Those are the guys that coaches root for. They've been here their entire careers doing everything right, on and off the field, unselfish attitudes. And now you have to hope those guys can have good senior years. We're pulling for them."

Rose himself though, who said this is most depth he's seen in the secondary, doesn't feel comfortable with his own performance so far this camp.  

"There's so much competition going for this one spot," he said. "It's still up for grabs and nobody's spot is safe. Everyone is out to get it so I have to keep playing hard, working hard, and show I can do every single day. In no way am I comfortable where I am right now."

It appears to be a done deal at free safety with Tetuan, who enters his junior season for the Cats. Sophomore Maurice Mack is listed on the two-deep behind him.

But strong safety is something different. Senior Marcus Patton enters the fall as the starter, being pushed by Blaine Clark, another senior.

But don't forget about the four junior college transfers from last season's recruiting class, Maurice Porter, Brett Jones, Surrell Davis, and Kyle Williams. All four could make impacts on this team. Porter enters the fall behind Cedrick Williams at corner.

Elliott said Kyle Williams might follow the same route as Cedrick Williams when he first arrived in Manhattan.

"He just got here," he said. "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. It's a lot like what Cedrick went through last season when he got here. It's a lot to be thrown at one person."

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