The name is Coffman ... Carson Coffman, and he'll be wearing No. 14 Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium during the Purple-White game. Coffman will be Kansas State's starting quarterback replacing three-year starter Josh Freeman, the first-round draft choice last weekend of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Following Josh (Freeman) ... those are big shoes to fill. He was a great player here and he will be a great player in the NFL," said the 6-foot-3, 212-pound junior. "I feel like I am pretty well prepared to follow in his footsteps. I backed him up for three years and I think I have an idea of what it takes to play this position in the Big 12. I am excited to get out there and show people what I can do."
Coffman has enjoyed good days on the practice field this spring, but also felt the wrath of the coaching staff on other days.
Heading into Saturday's 3 p.m. Purple-White game, coach Bill Snyder said, "Carson, in the last two days, has made a big jump in his performance. For the most part, in a scrimmage environment, he has been going against both our one's and our two's. He is still extremely inconsistent, but he has taken some steps in the past two days."
In particular, Snyder said "ball security" has been an area of improvement, as well as accuracy with his throws.
"He's feeling more comfortable with the offense. He's learning new terminology and new schemes," Snyder said. "He's trying to become comfortable with his progressions, and to do it more rapidly."
And the quarterback says the same: "I'm starting to play rather than think. I feel like I am getting a better grasp on the offense. I am really starting to feel comfortable in the plays, knowing what my receivers are going to be doing, and knowing where the holes are going to open up. These last couple of practices, I feel like I have been playing pretty well."
Of his new quarterback, receiver Brandon Banks offered, "Carson is a laid-back guy. He's quiet, but when we put the pads and helmets on, he's a different type of guy. He's a leader out there, and he's trying to get better every day. He's a pretty cool guy, not a rah-rah guy. But when he steps between the lines, he knows how to be a leader."
Offensive guard Brock Unruh said that Coffman has always been a "great guy" who has displayed positive leadership qualities. Now he says, "He's making positive movements with this team."
Unruh calls it "measurable improvement" since the first few weeks of spring ball, but adds, "We are nowhere near where we need to be, but the improvement is a good sign that we are going in the right direction."
That's at quarterback, and an offensive line that includes himself at left guard, plus Nick Stringer at left tackle, Clyde Aufner at right tackle, Colten Freeze at right guard, and either Zach Kendall, Trevor Viers or Wade Weibert at center.
"Just getting coordinated and having everybody being on the same page has been a really big thing, in pass protection as well as run blocking," Unruh said.
"It is kind of the choreography of everything. We have to get everything put together, and it just seems like there are signs of us being able to do that. Being a cohesive unit is a really important part in being a good football team."