- Offensive tackle Nick Stringer is familiar with the expectations. A fifth-year senior from Topeka, Stringer came to Kansas State in 2005 to play for head coach Bill Snyder and now serves as a team captain and a source of guidance for his fellow offensive linemen with the return of the legendary coach.
Stringer (6-6, 285) has collected 23 career starts heading in the 2009 season and will anchor an offensive line that has combined for just 18 other starts. But, K-State coaches believe they have begun to build some depth and talent at the position heading into the September 5 opener against UMass.
"I think we are probably like any year, you're trying to get yourself to a good solid two deep," Snyder said. "I don't know if we are completely there right now, but I think we probably have seven or so guys that we feel are developing a consistency that we would feel comfortable with on the field. Hopefully we can develop two or three more in order to fit that group. We are not where we need to be or want to be, but they are making some headway."
Stringer, Clyde Aufner, Zach Hanson and Kaleb Drinkgern are the likely candidates to fill in the tackle positions, while Zach Kendall, Trevor Viers, Wade Weibert, Ethan Douglas, Colten Freeze, Kenneth Mayfield and Eric Benoit are among the returners at the remaining three spots.
K-State also will look at a few newcomers along the line as Will Lawson (6-8, 290) and Cornelius Lucas (6-8, 306) give new line coach Charlie Dickey two mammoth freshmen to work into playing shape.
Dickey leads the group in 2009 after coming to K-State from Utah where he helped lead the Utes to an undefeated season and a win at the 2009 Sugar Bowl over Alabama. And, so far, it has been a rewarding experience for the players.
"I have been really pleased with Coach Dickey," Snyder added. "I think he really does a fantastic job with our young guys and they have responded well."
K-State will host Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday. Gates on the west side of the stadium will open at 5 p.m., and fans may come in at that time to watch practice. The public is asked to park in the west lot and can access the stadium through Gates C, D or H.
Following the workout, Coach Snyder and the team captains will address the crowd, and fans will then be able to participate in an autograph session on the field with all players and coaches. Those participating in the autograph session are asked to limit the number of autograph items they bring to two per person.
Kickoff for the K-State Family Reunion on September 5 is set for 6:10 p.m., at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Both season and single-game tickets for the 2009 football season remain available to the general public, including individual reserved tickets for as low as $20 for the UMass game.
The most convenient way to order is here online at www.k-statesports.com. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the K-State Athletic Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum or by calling, 1-800-221-CATS.