Cats see Transfer at Quarterback

There's no reason to be going goofy that Kansas State quarterbacks are grabbing busses out of town to the west, to the south, and to the north.

To the departed players involved — Kevin Lopina, Allen Webb and now Allan Evridge — and even to those who wear purple-tinted glasses, every decision only makes sense, and it all comes down to one of the first heroic moves by Ron Prince as coach of the Wildcats.

Sure, there was reason to be rah-rah giddy about how Prince swept into the Flint Hills and nabbed Josh Freeman from the cornfields of Nebraska, but now comes the flip side to that steal.

While Prince was only trying to better his team at one of the 22-plus positions, if your name's Lopina, if your name's Webb, if your name's Evridge, the message was spelled out in pretty much capital letters: New coach has "HIS" quarterback ... who happens to be a true-freshman.

Five quarterbacks for one position? No, it's not going to work. For three, at least, it wasn't going to work.

Those three — Lopina, Webb and Evridge — are now gone.

''I did everything they asked of me, on and off the field,'' Evridge said on Wednesday after announcing his plans to transfer.

He even said he toyed with the idea of switching to defense.

''I did everything right by the program, but it didn't look like I was going to be given an opportunity to contribute to the team in the way I would have liked.''

Lopina, a native of the state of California, returned closer to home to attend Washington State University after a redshirt-freshman year at Kansas State.

With Evridge being a sophomore, and Freeman a freshman, Lopina's future looked to be one of no more than holding a clipboard on Saturdays.

Off-seasons and Mr. Webb have never seemed to be a match at K-State. Following the 2004 season, Webb was suspended from team workouts and forced to drill on his own.

This summer, Webb failed to fulfill academic obligations, according to Prince, and didn't even spend the summer in the Little Apple working out with his teammates after not being honored a scholarship for summer school classes.

In all honesty, if Webb was not going to be ''the man,'' it's probably for the best that he opted to end his playing career at Texas State, and not being a possible disruption to the Wildcat program.

And now Evridge, who less than a week into camp, apparently viewed his role as being third in a two-quarterback system. After starting half of the 2005 season, it was possible scout team duty that came up in his crystal ball for 2006.

While the NCAA transfer rule is likely a good one to prevent wholesale player movement, it is unfortunate for Lopina and Evridge that they will miss another fall of playing.

Lopina will be forced to sit for the second straight year, and then will have three years of eligibility to play. Evridge, if he goes to a D-I program, will not be allowed to play in 2006, and will have two years in 2007 and 2008 to complete his collegiate career.

''It's a surprise this time of the year,'' associate athletic director Jim Epps said Wednesday. ''When Lopina transferred, it's more typical for a player to be disenchanted for whatever reason. But at this time of the year, when you're embarking on two-a-days and the academic semester is going to start in eight or 10 days, it's unusual.''

He added, ''The fact that you have three kids all who play the same position is unusual. But when you get back to the premise of a new coach comes on board, a new system, a new offense, kids could say, 'That's not why I was originally recruited to K-State.' ''

The question now — and without answer until 2007, or so — is whether the three-for-one deal in quarterbacks will be worth it.

While scout team walk-on quarterbacks will surely be added to the roster with the start of classes, it's fact that K-State enters the season with only two QBs on the roster. The deepest position on the field four months ago is now the most fragile with Dylan Meier, who is coming off a reconstruction of his right shoulder, and Freeman, who has never taken a snap beyond the Friday Night Lights League.

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