MANHATTAN — Time for a little spring (notebook) cleaning in the wake of Kansas State’s Purple-White game Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium:
LOUSY LABEL? Call him a runner if you wish, but Alex Delton showed plenty of passing ability during the scrimmage. The Hays product completed 16 of 21 throws for 144 yards and two touchdowns to help the Purple rally for a 31-28 victory, and he added 57 passing yards and another TD for the White.
Delton understands why he is considered a running QB, especially after last year’s MVP performance in the Cactus Bowl, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he agrees with the label.
“I feel like if you’re a fast quarterback, you’re labeled as a runner,” said the 6-foot-4, 204-pound junior from Hays, who is competing with sophomore Skylar Thompson for K-State’s starting job. “But I throw the ball a lot more than I run the ball, especially in practices and stuff. I practice way more passing than running.
“Running’s a way more natural, like an athleticism-type thing that I feel like I’m blessed with. I’m cool with being labeled as a runner. I’m a passer as well. Really, whatever I can do to make plays and make the team move in that direction, I’m cool with whatever.”
SEPARATING SIGNAL-CALLERS: As similar as Delton and Thompson are in both the passing and running games, coach Bill Snyder said other evaluations would take precedence in determining which signal-caller starts the Sept. 1 opener against South Dakota.
“The big thing is going to be, hopefully, that we’re mistake-proof, that from a security standpoint they’re doing what they need to do to make sure that we have good possession of the ball,” Snyder said. “As I’ve always said, it would be about game management and how well they can get us in, get us out of the right things and wrong things and manage the ballgame and be turnover-free. That will be a major criteria for the evaluation.”
‘GIVE ME MY FOUR’: First-year running backs coach Eric Hickson must have been giddy when he saw Alex Barnes’ 5.2-yard average on 18 Purple carries.
According to Barnes, K-State’s backs have adopted a new rushing mentality under Hickson, who starred in the backfield for the Wildcats during the mid-to-late 1990s.
“Last year, we were taught more to stay lateral and kind of read and kind of feel out holes and stuff like that,” Barnes said. “But this year if there’s a hole there, take it, get downhill and get what you can.
“He’s happy with four yards every play, and that’s something he stresses: get those four yards. You hear him screaming on the sideline, ‘Give me my four.’ ”
GIVE HARTER A HAND: Junior Adam Harter appears to be the front-runner to replace All-Big 12 fullback Winston Dimel.
Harter, a 6-2 junior, showed why he was used as both a fullback and tight end at Butler Community College. Harter registered team highs of seven receptions and 60 yards with one touchdown for the winning Purple squad. He also had 37 rushing yards on six carries, including a powerful 5-yard burst on a fourth-and-2 play.
“He had a good day today,” Thompson said. “With losing Winston, the fullback position is wide open and we need a guy to step up and take ownership of that spot, and Adam’s done a great job. He’s constantly trying to get better and working hard. Every day at practice he has a good mindset and you can tell he really cares.”
SPEAKING UP: Defensive tackle Trey Dishon rated his two-tackle, one-sack spring game performance as average, but the massive Horton junior is doing his best to lead a defensive line that no longer includes All-Big 12 Topeka High graduate Will Geary.
“Being a leader in your position group, you’ve got to be vocal,” said Dishon, one of 15 K-State player representatives. “That’s my biggest thing right now is being vocal for these guys, being confident, and help teach and learn what’s going on for them.”
WHAT’S NEXT? With spring workouts concluded, Duke Shelley was asked what he and the other K-State veterans would do between now and the start of August practices to keep the younger players sharp. The senior cornerback didn’t hesitate in offering his reply.
“Film room is probably the biggest thing,” he said. “Get those guys in the film room and just break down every play, break down spring practices, one-on-ones, reps. The biggest thing you can do is get in the film room. You can see where you mess up, you can see what you did right and you can just always improve from it.”