Freeman Struggles with Conditioning

Josh Freeman coasted on easy street a year ago. The high-profile Kansas State talent out of Grandview High School could do little wrong, according to first-year coach Ron Prince. All eyes are on Josh Freeman this year with expectations High for the young QB to take the next step. Coach Prince and Co. have placed a premium on Conditioning....

Freeman's 52 percent completion and six touchdowns were due to his super-human talents. His 48 percent incompletion rate and 15 interceptions were due to suspect play calling, or not having enough talent around the 6-foot-6, 238-pound freshman.

"Coach Prince really did act like a shield last year," Freeman admitted. "Going into the Baylor game, I think I threw two or three interceptions in the second half just trying to make plays rather than run the system, but he took the blame. Coach shielded me from any negative criticism from the media and stuff like that."

Prince didn't deny that he ran interference for his young signal caller, explaining, "These are amateur athletes. If someone is going to shoulder the blame, I'm the guy."

Prince said he also understands how visible the head coach and a particular school's quarterback are on a college campus, and also how the expectation level exceeds being sensible for high-profile recruits out of high school.

"When a player is highly recruited, the grace period sometimes isn't very long," Prince said. "While I think he has terrific talent and think he'll play terrific football for us, what you never want to do is put a player in a position where he feels like has to shoulder the entire load."

To open fall camp last week, Freeman found himself in Prince's doghouse perhaps for the first time, as he was one of seven Wildcats not to pass the pre-camp testing program. "It's a big deal, and I've made it a big deal," Prince said. "I've made it as uncomfortable as I can. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but there's a standard and an expectation."

After weighing as much as 258 this summer, Freeman checked into fall camp at 245, but wasn't using that as an excuse.

"I felt like I was in good shape, but obviously I wasn't able to step up and do it," said Freeman, who did end up passing the test on Sunday.

Coming to the defense of Freeman were his teammates. Jordy Nelson called it just a little "bump in the road," and Marcus Watts added, "That's a tough test. Even if you're in shape it's a tough test."

For the record, the test includes six 50-yard shuttle-dashes, a two-minute rest, six 50-yard shuttle-dashes, a two-minute rest, and six 50-yard shuttle dashes.

Skill-position players must do the sprint exercise in 50 seconds, linebackers in 55 seconds, and linemen in 58 seconds. Every Wildcat has now passed the test.

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