Kansas State football more aggressive with offensive coordinator Klein

MANHATTAN — When Collin Klein led Kansas State’s offense at the Texas Bowl two months ago as acting coordinator, it turned out to be more than a one-game audition.

If the first day of spring training on Tuesday was any indication, Wildcat fans can expect to see the same this fall.

“So far, that’s been the tempo,” wide receiver Kade Warner said of the offense under Klein, who after the Wildcats’ 42-20 win over LSU was promoted to permanent coordinator. “Today we did a lot of huddle steps (and) we did a lot of rapids, we got up on the ball.

“Constant movement, faster movement, six games in a row in tempo and stuff like that. It’s just changing the pace and trying to get more games per game.”

Continued:Four things to watch as Kansas State football prepares for spring training

It’s a stark contrast to the more deliberate offense favored over the past three years by head coach Chris Klieman and coordinator Courtney Messingham, who was let go at the end of the 2021 regular season.

“He likes to get the ball to his point guards. That’s what I like,” lead receiver Phillip Brooks said of Klein, a former Wildcats quarterback. “We try to attack the defense rather than setting the tempo and controlling the ball.

“I like his aggressive approach to the game.”

Klieman said the month leading up to the Texas Bowl and then the game itself gave Klein a valuable head start before spring drills, which ended with an open practice at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on April 16. .

“It helped him, not just the game,” Klieman said. “I think the preparation is what was so important for him, being in front of us all leading for three weeks.

“Admittedly, we were a bit on the road (recruitment), but he was up front and leading everyone and putting together the training plans and the game plan. He leans on everyone in attack and does a very good job getting feedback from other people and then coming up with a collective idea and saying, “Here’s what we’re going to do” I think the game will help him, but I think the preparation is probably more valuable to him .

Warner, who decided to return for a fifth super senior season after being transferred from Nebraska last season, said he felt at home with the new offensive philosophy.

“In Nebraska, there were only signals, no huddles, get out and move,” he said. “So when I hear these guys struggle with signals and no huddles, that’s what I had to struggle with a few years ago, so I try to help them as much as I can.

“But I like it. More games, more attacking.”

Continued:‘He deserves this opportunity’: Collin Klein named Kansas State offensive football coordinator

Warner came late last season to finish with 14 catches for 166 yards. He had three receptions for 42 yards in the bowl game.

Brooks led the receiving corps with 43 catches for 543 yards with two touchdowns and had a team-best five for 69 yards at the Texas Bowl. The Wildcats finished the game with a total offense of 442 yards.

Brooks agreed with Warner that Klein seems to prefer a faster pace than his predecessor.

Continued:Kansas State football looks to build on Texas Bowl win

“That’s probably the biggest change,” Brooks said. “Normally (before) we controlled the pace of the game (and) we would squeeze a lot. Now it’s just like, ‘We’re going.’

“I’m excited and feel like it’s going to benefit us.”

While the slower pace in the past was designed to keep K-State’s defense off the field as well, in Brooks’ eyes, the bowl game showed that a more aggressive approach can be just as effective.

“It was really a game-changer,” he said. “I feel like our attack set the tone and we continued to attack the defence.

“And I think our defense was able to rally around that better.”

Jax Dineen to the rescue

With Klieman and his team unable to sign a veteran replacement for All-America running back Deuce Vaughn, they looked inside and may have found a solution.

Jax Dineen, their all-conference fullback, was moved to running back, helping to fill a void left by the departure of substitutes Joe Ervin and Jacardia Wright to the transfer gate.

Dineen, who is 5-foot-10, 253 pounds, definitely offers a change of pace from the sneaky 5-foot-6, 176-pound Vaughn. Other backs returning to the mix this spring include DJ Giddens and Jordan Schippers.

Will Howard is QB1 at the moment

While everyone expects Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez to be the starting quarterback for the September 3 season opener against South Dakota, junior Will Howard runs with the first team this spring.

Martinez is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered late last season and is not expected to start pitching until May. Klieman said junior Jaren Lewis and redshirt rookie Jake Rubley will also have plenty of opportunities.

Injury Update

Klieman said the Wildcats had just seven healthy defensive linemen left for Tuesday’s first practice. Super senior defensive tackle Eli Huggins said he’s limited in what he’ll do this spring and junior wing Khalid Duke is still recovering after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Game 3 ago. a year.

On the offensive line, guard Taylor Poitier is yet to return to full strength after being lost to a preseason injury a year ago.