New Players Emerge on Offense

Coach Prince is an offensive minded coach and so with Auburn looming in the very near future, the offense will welcome some new wrinkles as well as players. With players like Norwood out- Coach Ron Prince and James Franklin discuss changes to the offense and what Wildcat fans can expect to see against Auburn.

The last pieces of the Kansas State offensive puzzle have been put into place heading into Saturday's 2007 opener against Auburn.

At left tackle is Brock Unruh, 6-foot-5, 295-pounds, sophomore. After saying a week ago that the position was wide open, coach Ron Prince announced Monday that out of a list of candidates, it was the Corpus Christi, Texas, native who emerged No. 1.

"For the second straight year Brock has found his way into the starting lineup," Prince said. "He's a good athlete and has good strength. He did the same thing a year ago going into the Oklahoma State game. Brock found a way to work himself into the lineup going from tackle to a guard spot. He's done a nice job of developing himself."

Emerging as a third wide receiver is Deon Murphy, a Houston native and transfer from Coffeyville College. Murphy eased past returnee Cedric Wilson as a starting receiver, joining the duo of Jordy Nelson and Daniel Gonzalez.

When told that Murphy, who has run a 4.28 40, called himself a game changer, Prince offered, "Deon is a very confident young man and a very good football player. We've been pleasantly surprised with how tough he's been both physically and mentally. He's demonstrated a game-speed in practice. He takes practices very seriously and doesn't back away from any competition."

With tight end Rashaad Norwood suspended indefinitely after being arrested last week, Jeron Mastrud has been inked in as the starting tight end. A year ago as a true-freshman, Mastrud caught 17 passes for 235 yards.

The starting backfield will include sophomore Josh Freeman at quarterback and James Johnson at running back.

Rounding out the starting offense for Saturday will be center Jordan Bedore, guards Unruh and Gerard Spexarth, plus tackles Alesana Alesana on the left side and Nick Stringer on the right.

"Getting a group of five that can play together gives you timing and chemistry, which is what an offensive line is all about," Prince said.

With a line in place, then the Wildcats can work on fixing some of the broken parts of last year. It was a year ago that K-State's offense was:

* 11th in the Big 12 and 106th nationally in pass efficiency

* 10th in penalty yardage (56.3)

* 12th in Red Zone offense (scoring 66 percent of the time)

* 11th in third-down conversion (35 percent)

* 12th in time of possession (27:30)

* 12th in interceptions (20)

"The biggest thing we need is to be more consistent," said offensive coordinator James Franklin. "We have to protect the passer better, and we have to reduce the number of unforced penalties we had. That will make us a better team. Protecting the football, protecting the quarterback and eliminate procedural penalties."

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