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Summer gridiron report: Kansas State looks for new life
Just when the Kansas State football team and Wildcat fans were prepared to rid their minds of ex-coach Ron Prince, details surfaced of a multi-million dollar secret agreement that KSU administrators said they didn't know about.
Last month, K-State officials filed suit, asking a court to declare a secret agreement invalid between Prince and former athletic director Bob Krause. If found to be valid, the K-State athletic department would owe $3.2 million to Prince's company, Persuit of Perfection, LLC. K-State officials claimed they had no idea of Prince and Krause's agreement, which would pay the former K-State coach $3.2 million from 2015 to 2020.
The Wildcats already have paid Prince $1.2 million for his buyout in November 2008 when he was fired.
Talk about a mess.
Welcome to Day 2 of the Conference Chatter's summer gridiron report. For reference, here's a schedule of when each Big 12 team was/will be featured:
Big 12 North
- Monday: Missouri
- Today: Kansas State
- Friday: Iowa State
- June 8: Colorado
- June 10: Nebraska
- June 12: Kansas
Big 12 South
- June 15: Oklahoma State
- June 17: Baylor
- June 19: Texas A&M
- June 22: Texas Tech
- June 24: Oklahoma
- June 26: Texas
We'll pick it up with Kansas State, which went 5-7 overall (2-6 conference) last season. In Prince's three seasons in Manhattan, K-State went 17-20 and made a bowl appearance only once.
As a result, the Wildcats brought back one of the most iconic sports figures to ever step foot in the little apple. Bill Snyder has quite the rebuilding job ahead of him, including taking attention away from the failed Prince era.
Biggest question mark: Quarterback. Junior Carson Coffman, younger brother of former Missouri tight end Chase Coffman, won the job in spring, but he's not guaranteed to take the first snap. Junior college transfer Daniel Thomas and South Florida transfer Grant Gregory will challenge Coffman this summer.
Biggest strength: Wide receiver. Senior Brandon Banks is one of the most underrated players in the conference. He caught 67 passes for 1,049 yards and nine scores last year. Pretty amazing, considering most high school receivers are bigger than the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Banks. Maybe he beefed up a bit in the offseason. Whatever he's doing is working. He hauled in six receptions for 141 yards in the spring game.
Nick Krug/Journal-World File Photo
Banks also returned punts and kicks last year. With a lack of other home run threats, K-State could use Banks like Florida used Percy Harvin (40 catches, 644 yards, 7 TD's; 70 rushes, 660 yards, 10 TD's) last year, but to a smaller scale from a rushing perspective.
K-State's WR corps took a hit with the release of Deon Murphy from the program in March. Expect seniors Attrail Snipes and Aubrey Quarles to battle it out for the spot opposite Banks.
Breakthrough player: Sophomore LB Alex Hrebec. The former walk-on recorded 19 tackles in the spring game and was voted one of four team captains. K-State's moving to the popular 4-2-5 defensive scheme, meaning the Wildcats will employ four defensive linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs in an attempt to put themselves at an advantage against pass-happy Big 12 offenses.
Coaching stability: Here's guessing Snyder's pretty much worshipped everywhere he chooses to dine in Manhattan. Before Snyder was hired in 1989, the Wildcats were winless in 27 straight games. K-State was considered one of the worst programs in the nation. Snyder led a monumental turnaround that saw KSU go 136-68-1 under his watch, including a Big 12 championship in 2003 and winning or sharing four Big 12 North titles. So basically, Snyder's second go-around will last for as long as he says it lasts.
- Sept. 5: vs. Massachusetts
- Sept 12: at Louisiana-Lafayette
- Sept. 19: at UCLA
- Sept. 26: vs. Tennessee Tech
- Oct. 3: vs. Iowa State in Kansas City, Mo.
- Oct. 10: at Texas Tech
- Oct. 17: vs. Texas A&M
- Oct. 24: vs. Colorado
- Oct. 31: at Oklahoma
- Nov. 7: vs. Kansas
- Nov. 14: vs. Missouri
- Nov. 21: at Nebraska
Fearless forecast: 5th in North.
Favorable schedule, so the Wildcats may sneak into a bowl game with six victories. There's just too much inexperience at quarterback and in the Big 12, if you don't score, it's a big problem.
As always, discuss.