Saturday Practice Report

With Easter it took me a little while to put my notes together but I thought you might like my report anyway :) Saturday's Practice Report, an Injury Update and all the Notes you can handle.....


Overall:

The practice originally was scheduled to take place at Snyder Family Stadium but was moved inside the Indoor Football Complex due to the threat of inclement weather. Coach Ron Prince said the ability to adapt to changing environments are important in football, and he is glad his players were able to deal with the change of location.
"I'm really pleased with everything that the players are doing and especially their high level of concentration," Prince said. "We have tried to change the environment on them a little by moving practice and playing music indoors, which is all a part of teaching them how to stay focused, and I am happy with where that's going."


Depth Chart:

Coach Ron Prince
talked after practice a little about how the depth chart is constantly changing from day to day, but he is now starting to get a feel for his players and where they might fit in the lineup.

He also said he knows what to expect from his more-experienced players, and now he wants to get an idea about what the backups can do for the team.

"Really the challenge now is for us to make sure we are developing good players and players for depth throughout the roster," Prince said. "My concentration this week and next week will really be on those players who haven't been highlighted up to this point.

"How much more is (senior linebacker) Brandon Archer going to show me? I really want to know now who will step up and be the next Brandon Archer for K-State. I am looking for those second level guys who have either been special teams players to this point in their career or backup players who now have an opportunity to work with the first unit or who will work with the second unit or varsity type of unit for the first time, and I am excited to find out what they are going to show me."


Spring Game rosters:

The Spring Game
will consist of two teams: the White Wildcat team coached by defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and the Purple K-State team coached by offensive coordinator James Franklin.

Prince said the two coaching staffs will participate in a draft on Thursday to select their teams. He said he will be the commissioner of the draft and will void any draft selections or trades he deems unfair.

"It'll be a lot of fun," Prince said. "I want to make sure the chemistry throughout the roster is adequate and really improving, and that's the reason for chopping and mixing up a lot of different players.

"I'm sure the performance may not be as clean as we would like, but I really think in the long run this will pay us dividends."

The players got together for team drills twice and ran through certain plays for about 20 minutes each time.


Starters for team drills:

The first-team players on
the offensive side were quarterback Josh Freeman, running back Thomas Clayton, wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Val Taylor, tight ends Rashaad Norwood and Donald Raymer, and offensive linemen (from left tackle to right tackle) Greg Wafford, Derek Meyer, Ryan Schmidt, Matt Boss and Gerard Spexarth.


The defensive starters during the team drills were safeties Kyle Williams and Andrew Erker, cornerbacks Justin McKinney and Bryan Baldwin, linebackers Zach Diles, Brandon Archer and Ross Diehl, and d-linemen Blake Seiler, Ian Campbell, Steven Cline and Eric Childs.


Quarterbacks:

None of the quarterbacks stood out above the rest and were all very inconsistent on the day. I think it is evident that Coach Prince is rolling through all of the Quarterbacks, trying to gauge where each is at right now and looking to the who is going to step up this spring.

Josh Freeman
took most of the snaps with the first team and threw a couple nice long balls and slants, but he was inaccurate at times and had a hard time hitting receivers in the chest. He throws harder than most of the other guys, but sometimes had a problem throwing a tight spiral. Prince said Freeman is learning the offense quicker than he expected, and he is coming nicely for being such a young quarterback in a new offense.

Kevin Lopina
took most of the snaps with the second unit and was the most consistent of the bunch, which isn't really saying much. He was fairly accurate during team drills but overthrew a lot of his receivers during quarterback drills. Has a quick release and throws a nice tight ball.

Allan Evridge and Dylan Meier
saw minimal playing time during team drills, and both performed about the same. They were inaccurate in both team and individual drills. Both had trouble finding receivers on the fly pattern, and underthrew their receivers a number of times on crossing routes, comebacks and quick outs.

Allen Webb
looked threw a nice tight spiral on the fly patterns during the individual drills, and looked like he was prime for a nice showing in the team drills, but he did not get the chance and sat out all during team drills.


Running backs:


Thomas Clayton
started and gave the fans a little of what is expected from him. He broke off a couple of nice runs and was cutting and juking well. Thomas looked comfortable finding the hole and using his blockers to get him a few extra yards. Coach Prince said the coaching staff is trying to focus on making Clayton a more complete back. If everyone remembers last year, Clayton had a great spring that led to him leading the nation in rushing early in the season before the injury bug hit.

"Thomas is a terrific player and we are trying to make sure he has the overall game," Prince said. "Every running back now needs to have the complete package or else he is just a liability. We are trying to make sure all of our running backs are multi-faceted and they are all making progress toward that."


Donnie Anders and Terry Petrie
both got significant playing time during practice with Carlos Alsup and Parrish Fisher both being injured, and used the opportunity to let the coaches know they could contribute if called upon. Petrie had one play where he juked a couple of defenders and had about a 50-yard scamper down the sideline before he was run out of bounds.

"There is going to be some competition," Petrie said. "But I fit into the offense perfectly because I am a smaller back and an outside zone guy. I have shown that I can be focused and do what I need to do to help the team. The more reps that I have been getting is helping me because I was at the bottom of the depth chart and now I'm in the mix of things and I have a chance to compete with the rest of the guys.

"I'm expecting to help out and I think I will help the team a lot."

Prince is taking note of these guys and a couple other running backs, and is hoping to get them into game situations in the future so they can help the team.

"Donnie Anders and Terry Petrie have both gotten some significant reps this spring and so has John McCardle and Courtney Greer," Prince said. "I have been very satisfied with that. They are obviously players who I am looking at to make a jump and I'd like to see their talent on a more consistent basis.

"Being able to play on special teams is critical for a guy fighting for playing time at running back, that is one of the ways that you get on the bus and have a chance to run the ball."


Tight End:

Rashaad Norwood
showed his ability to separate from defenders and find holes in the defense to get open. He had a bunch of nice grabs and had to lay out a couple times for poorly thrown balls, coming down with a lot of nice receptions. He did drop a couple passes, but for the most part was consistent. I really did not notice much out of the young guys that grabbed my attention.

Rumors are Coach Prince wants to change the offense and go to multiple sets and use the air game a bit more to stretch the field. If this is the case, another Tight End is going to have to emerge to give some depth at the position as well as provide the offense with another Big Target out there. I am going to be looking at Pooshke and Prater
in the future but Norwood is clearly the man at Tight End right now.


Wide Receivers:

A lot of receivers got playing time with the first team, and the three who played the most were Jordy Nelson, Jermaine Moreira, and Val Taylor. Daniel Gonzalez, Preston Taylor and Toney Coleman also saw some action.

Nelson ran solid routes and did not drop many passes during either team or individual drills, and that is where the consistency stops. Every receiver besides Nelson dropped numerous catchable balls. There were too many times when a ball would be seen going into the receiver's hands and sliding on through landing on the turf.


Offensive Linemen:
No offensive lineman stood out among the rest, which is good when talking about offensive linemen. Linemen are usually noticed only when they do something wrong, so when no lineman is noticed then they are all working together and getting the job done.

They did have a problem moving back the defensive line during the goal-line drills, but other than that they were consistent. The guards were pulling well and they all had good pass-blocking techniques.


Safeties:

Kyle Williams
is again impressing with his speed and ability to find the ball. He always seems to be in the right place and isn't afraid to lay someone out.


Andrew Erker
started at the other safety position and showed nice footwork and good speed. He is taking every opportunity to get playing time will Marcus Watts is out with his injury.


Cornerbacks:

Bryan Baldwin
continues to be impressive with his shutdown speed and ability to go up and deflect the ball away from receivers without drawing a pass-interference penalty.


Justin McKinney
showed as much promise as Baldwin. McKinney had two nice interceptions, and he took one over 90 yards for a score. He started to slow down during his interception run, but defensive coordinator Raheem Morris started chasing him and yelling at him to make sure he ran the whole 90+ yards.


Linebackers:

Brandon Archer
continues to make plays for the defense and is one of the few guys who are definite starters for next season. He had one play where the quarterback was trying to fit the ball in-between defenders and he came out of nowhere to pick it off. He had four or five open-field tackles, but didn't get too much of an opportunity to showcase his tackling skills because the defense was only allowed to hit the running backs and not take them to the ground.

The only time the defensive could go all out was during the goal-line drill at the end of practice, and Reggie Walker was one of the linebackers who took full advantage of this opportunity.

On the third play of the drill, Terry Petrie took the handoff and tried to score from one yard out. At first, the offensive line gave Petrie enough room to score, but Walker came out of nowhere to close the hole and nearly took Petrie's head off. Walker got up and made sure everybody knew who he was. The rest of the defensive players celebrated with him and they let the offense know who was in charge.


Defensive Linemen:
Prince praised the d-line and said he was especially happy with the progress of
Ian Campbell and Eric Childs, and he could not say enough good things about Junior Moran.

"I'm very pleased with how the d line is coming together, and I am really excited about the speed and athleticism that we are getting from them," Prince said. "I'm really excited about the way that Eric Childs is rushing the quarterback along with Ian Campbell, and one player who has had as good a spring as anybody is Junior Moran. I'm really pleased with how he is coming along, and I'm really excited about his development and his future."

Special Teams:

The kickers left the Indoor Football Complex towards the beginning of practice and did not return until practice was nearly complete. They probably went to the stadium to practice kicking in the windy conditions.

Goal Line Drill:

The last drill of practice was a goal-line drill. The drill began with the ball on the one-yard line. The first team offense, led by Josh Freeman, took on the first team defense in a mini game to see whether the offense could score or if the defense could shut them down.

Clayton had three runs during the drill and never managed a score. Tight end Brett Alstatt scored two of the three touchdowns for the offense and both plays were fake handoff passes. The other score for the offense was by Donnie Anders. The defense stopped the offense five times and looked like they were the better of the two.

After every score the winning side rushed the field and celebrated as if it were a real game situation. It got so bad that one of the defenders got into a small scuffle with an offensive lineman. The fight was quickly stopped and play continued.


Injury Report:

Running back Parrish Fisher and wide receiver Yamon Figurs were both absent from practice, and Fisher has been seen walking around with crutches after being injured during the Saturday practice April 8th.

Running back Carlos Alsup, free safety Marcus Watts, linebacker Steve Mathias and offensive linemen Jacob Voegeli and Nick Stringer all attended practice but were not wearing shoulder pads or helmets.

Cornerback Justin McKinney
came up limping after a play during the goal-line drill but said after practice that he would be fine.

Coach Prince did not talk about any of these players' injuries after practice and would not give any insight as to how long any of them would be out of commission.

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