Spring Game Analysis: Position by Position

The Spring game is in the books so who impressed and who turned the heads of the coaching staff? We take a position-by-position analysis for both teams following Saturday's spring game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium where the White team blanked the Purple team 19-0 in the game.

QUARTERBACKS

Purple

Josh Freeman is the unquestioned No. 1 starter going into his sophomore season, and that might not be the best thing for the young quarterback. Freeman might be helped by some competition to keep him on his toes, because he didn't look good at all in his spring game performance.

He went 9-for-22 for 44 yards passing and two interceptions. He would have had another one if the play wasn't blown dead by the referees who said he was in the act of being sacked before he let go of the ball.

Freeman completed just two passes to his starting wide receivers (Jordy Nelson and Daniel Gonzalez each had one) and his tight end and running back had five receptions. This could be a product of the offense that has a lot of short passes in the system, but Freeman's lack of downfield accuracy could also have contributed to this. The big quarterback with the strong arms' longest pass play was 10 yards.

He was also sacked twice and had –13 yards rushing. The Purple squad also went three-and-out on several occasions and never crossed midfield en route to zero yards of total offense.

Take this into consideration: This was a controlled scrimmage where the defenses were not allowed to blitz and they were also instructed not to hit the quarterback. Any time a defender got to either quarterback the referees would blow the play dead and he would be ruled down where he stood.

Even with all this Freeman still struggled to go through his progressions and had a hard time finding the open receivers.

Not too good for the starting QB for K-State next year.

White

Now let's not run over Freeman yet, he's still young and there isn't much in terms of depth at the quarterback position, so everyone should just give him time to get better. Great quarterbacks aren't born overnight. Redshirt freshman Carson Coffman, however, might have a little to say about who gets the starting job after his performance Saturday.

He was definitely not perfect by any means, but he appeared to be better suited for this type of offense and more poised in the pocket.

He went 12-for-29 for 69 yards and two touchdowns to only one interception. The pick was by linebacker Ross Diehl, who fumbled the ball right back to the White team on the play.

Coffman had a few overthrows and a few mistakes, but he started the game by completing six of his first seven passes and showed he can be a quality game manager.

The statistics don't lie, Coffman is now 27-0 as a starting quarterback, which dates back to his 26-0 high school career in which he took his Raymore-Peculiar High School team to two consecutive state titles in his final two years. The guy is a winner, and only time will tell if he will get the opportunity to see if his game translates over into the collegiate ranks.

RUNNING BACKS
Purple

Sophomore Jeremy James was the only running back on the Purple team because junior John McCardle was injured prior to the game and couldn't play.

James showed why he isn't well known, as he looked scared at times and had six carries for –11 yards. He also had two receptions for only one yard, and the spring game is probably the last time anyone will here from him unless a few guys go down with injuries.

White

Sophomore Leon Patton was also injured and couldn't play, so senior James Johnson got the chance to show what he was capable of early in his second year as a Wildcat.

He had five carries for 36 yards, which included a 33-yard dash through the heart of the Purple defense late in the first half. He also had two catches for three yards, and one kick return for 15 yards.

Johnson was used sparingly, but it was another senior who got a moment in the spotlight. Terry Petrie played the majority of the second half, and made the most of his opportunity with other running backs injured or not playing. Petrie had 11 carries for 54 yards and had a couple of nice runs where he was breaking numerous tackles. His longest gain was 11 yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS/ TIGHT ENDS
Purple

Starting senior wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Daniel Gonzalez were non-factors in the game, combining for only two catches and 10 yards. Senior tight end Rashaad Norwood had three catches for 17 yards, and he showed the ability to go over the middle and catch passes. Junior tight end Brett Alstatt also played for the purple but didn't record a catch. He was used mostly as a blocker.

White

K-State has very little depth at the wide receiver position, and that was exposed in the spring game. A lot of names that aren't commonly known received playing time. Don't worry just yet though, as there are receivers who will be coming in the fall that are either transferring or coming from high school that should give much more depth to the position.

Senior Toney Coleman, juniors Matt Wykes and Cedric Wilson and sophomore Tony Purvis were the receivers for the White team.

Wykes had two receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown, Purvis had two catches for 14 yards, Coleman had two for seven yards and a touchdown and Wilson had one reception for eight yards. Wilson is the only one out of these guys who will probably receive quality minutes. Sophomore Jeron Mastrud and senior Michael Pooschke were the tight ends and they combined for three receptions and 16 yards. They were used a lot in pass protection and run blocking, and not as much in route running and pass catching.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Purple

There were 11 different offensive linemen who received at least one start last year, but most of what could be called "regular" starters were on the Purple team. Senior Logan Robinson and juniors Jordan Bedore, Caleb Handy, Brad Rooker and Zach Lucas were the five starters, and they also played the entire game because there were only five linemen suited up for each team.

These linemen were more experienced, but you wouldn't know it by the fact they allowed Freeman to get sacked twice and also had –44 yards rushing. That pretty much says how good these five were.

White

Junior Gerard Spexarth, sophomores Brock Unruh, Derek Meyer and Trevor Viers and freshman Kenneth Mayfield were the five linemen for the White.

They looked much more polished than the Purple team, and they allowed Coffman plenty of time in the pocket to go through his progression and make solid throws. Running backs Petrie and Johnson combined for 90 yards rushing.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Purple

The two best linemen on this team were senior Moses Manu and junior Alphonso Moran. Manu had only two assisted tackles and Moran had two solo tackles. They were both receiving double teams, and it was easy to stop them without Rob Jackson, Ian Campbell and Eric Childs coming on the outside to help out.

Freshman Zach Kendall had two solo tackles and one for loss. Junior Pete Yemm also recorded one solo tackle, but he really didn't do that much.

White

Many linemen received playing time, but only sophomore Rob Jackson and freshman Gabriel Crews recorded a tackle.

Coach Ron Prince has been raving all spring long about how unblockable Jackson is, and how hard opposing defenses are going to have to work in order to stop him come next season. He showed why Prince has been giving him such high praise as he had three tackles, two solo, with one six-yard sack on Freeman. He was in the backfield all game harassing the quarterback and affecting the run game.
Crews had one solo tackle for a 3-yard loss.

LINEBACKERS
Purple

Freshman Davyon McGhee led this squad with give tackles. He was all over the field, and was in on a lot of the tackles. His being in the lead for tackles shows how inexperienced this defense was.

Sophomore John Houlik also had five tackles with three solo stops, and he, like McGhee, was all over the field making plays. Houlik also had two tackles for loss.

Newly named captain senior Justin Roland was calling the plays for the Purple defense, and he had four tackles by himself. He made a few nice hits, and will be a huge part of the 3-4 defense next fall.

Sophomore Ross Diehl intercepted Coffman, but fumbled the ball back to the White team during the runback. He also had two tackles and the lone sack for the Purple team.

White

Sophomore linebackers Eric Childs and Ian Campbell looked like they had not yet adapted to the switch from defensive linemen to accommodate the new 3-4 defense. Campbell recorded only one pass breakup and no tackles, and Childs had one tackle and a fumble recovery.

Junior linebacker Reggie Walker led both teams with six tackles, with two for a loss. He will be with Roland in the middle of the defense next year, and he looked very good during the game. He was reading the plays well, and looked like a player who is ready to take on a more dominant role with the departure of Brandon Archer and Zach Diles.

Senior Marcus Perry and sophomore Tanner Litton each recorded two tackles, and Perry had an interception and a sack in the game.

SECONDARY
Purple

Junior Gary Chandler transferred to K-State just this spring, and he was projected as a safety, but he played cornerback Saturday. He did a fairly decent job during his limited playing time, and ended up with three tackles.

Senior cornerback Justin McKinney had four tackles, sophomore safety Courtney Herndon had three and senior cornerback Byron Garvin had three.

Sophomores Kevin Hollis and Scott Evans both received playing time at safety, and each had two tackles. They did an average job, but probably won't receive much playing time with Marcus Watts and Chandler being just two of the players who will be anchoring the defense next fall.


White

The secondary didn't do a whole lot, but that was because the rest of the defense was shutting down the Purple offense and holding it to zero total yards. Senior safety is a definite starter next year, and he had one tackle.

Senior Bryan Baldwin, like Watts, is returning from an injury and he is looking to reclaim his role as a starting cornerback. He picked off Freeman during the second quarter and returned the ball 34 yards.

That was one thing Prince said he would like to see more of next season, because last year's team didn't intercept enough passes.

Juniors Heath Alexander and Ray Cheatham and sophomore Otis Johnson all received playing time in the secondary, but again, they didn't have to do a whole lot. Johnson had two tackles and Cheatham recorded an interception.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Purple

Senior punter Cole Brokenicky took all five punts and averaged 42.6 yards per kick with a long of 57. He didn't have any downed inside the 20-yard line, but he did show he has a powerful leg.

The Purple team attempted no field goals, and junior Brooks Rossman handled the kickoff duties. He had two for 138 yards, but he will probably not receive much playing time this year.

White

Senior punter Tim Reyer will more than likely be the starter, and he showed why as he had five punts for an average of 41 yards. More impressive, however, was all five of his punts were downed inside the Purple teams' 20-yard line, with four inside the 10 and two inside the five.

Senior Tim Schwerdt attempted a 41-yard field goal but missed it wide left, and junior Jared Parker made a 50-yarder. Parker also handled the kickoff duties. He kicked off four times and had three touchbacks.


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