MANHATTAN — Those expecting to see much-ballyhooed transfer Bryce Brown run the football 25-plus times were probably disappointed last Saturday.
As it turned out, Kansas State’s Purple-White game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan was about finding out more about the Wildcats’ passing game.
It’s safe to say that either Brown, a 2009 Wichita East High School and sophomore transfer from the University of Tennessee, or sophomore John Hubert will win the first-string running back position.
Let’s go ahead and make Brown the No. 1 back, according to this scribe.
“We really didn’t run the ball very much at all,” Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder acknowledged during his postgame press conference with the media. “The idea going in was to throw it around a little bit and look at some of the receivers we had and put our quarterbacks in a game-day position and see how they would respond in regards to decision-making when the pressure was on. That was important to me.”
Hubert had 79 yards in eight carries, including a 44-yard scoring run, and Brown finished with 13 carries for 73 yards and a pair of short rushing TDs.
“We did not put an emphasis on the running game, and it’s pretty vanilla anyway,” Snyder said. “Hand it off to Joe and hand it off to Bob and go on about your business.”
Wideouts step up
The Wildcats, who are coming off a 7-6 season and a bowl berth in the first Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York, have several wide receiver candidates going into the fall, including Tramaine Thompson, Sheldon Smith, Garden City native Brodrick Smith and Wichita product Chris Harper.
Quarterback Collin Klein, who appeared to move a step ahead of Samuel Lamur and junior-college transfer Justin Tuggle in the battle for the No. 1 job, completed 25 of 37 passes for 358 yards in a downfield attack for the Purple in a 59-16 win over the White. He had touchdown passes to five different receivers.
Sheldon Smith had five catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including a 61-yarder from Klein. Thompson had 106 yards in seven catches, including 50- and 9-yard scoring passes from Klein.
Thompson and Brodrick Smith (broken leg) are coming off injuries.
“I just think the repetitions have helped,” said Klein, the on-again, off-again starter last season, alternating with the departed Carson Coffman. “This is just the first step.
“I know that I have a lot of things that I need to get better at and things I need to improve.”