Aug. 21, 2012
Editor’s Note: K-State Sports Extra continues its nine-part look at the 2012 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position. Past articles include the quarterbacks, defensive ends, interior defensive line, offensive line and linebackers. Today’s article highlights the running backs and tight ends.
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By Mark Janssen
John Hubert is not the biggest back in Big 12 territory at 5-foot-7, 191 pounds, and he’s not the fastest with a 40-speed of no faster than the mid-4.5s.
But, what co-offensive coordinator and running backs/tight ends coach Dana Dimel does say about Kansas State’s tailback is that, “John is one of the best finishers in the Big 12. He’s an aggressive runner who isn’t afraid to give up his body, and he blocks very well. If he improves a little bit in each area, we’ll be in good shape.”
A year ago, Hubert played in the offensive shadow of quarterback Collin Klein as he gained 970 yards on 200 rushes with just three touchdowns.
Hubert, a junior from Waco, Texas, had season bests of 26 carries for 166 yards at Miami, which included a pair of 47-yard rushes.
“What we hope is that John can go over 1,000 yards this year with about the same number of carries, which would mean more yards per carry,” said Dimel. “We have enough running backs that I don’t think we’ll have run John any more than we did last year, but we’ll be trying to increase his efficiency. We just really like how he runs and blocks so hard on every play. He really puts it out there.”
Dimel said he wouldn’t be afraid of having a running back-by-committee philosophy after Hubert with the likes of Angelo Pease, Robert Rose and DeMarcus Robinson. Collectively, however, they only have 45 carries for a total of 179 yards as Wildcats.
Pease, a former transfer from Hutchinson Community College, is a 5-foot-11, 215-pounder who had 36 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns last year. Many of those carries came out of the “Wildcat” formation. His season-high came against Kansas with eight carries for 61 yards.
“He’s really strong and very fast,” said Dimel. “We didn’t get him until August last year, so he was really never in shape. He’s made a lot of improvement since the end of last year, plus has had a chance to get healthy.”
At 5-foot-4, 174 pounds, Rose has none of the on-paper characteristics that one is looking for except for that fact that Dimel says, “He is so shifty, so he’s tough to get on the ground. He’s a guy that we really like.”
Robinson, a product of Wichita Northwest High School, is a modest 5-foot-6, but solid at 206 pounds.
“DeMarcus has a good combination of speed and size, and we’re excited to see the improvement he’s made,” said Dimel. “Like John, he’s fast, but not a blazer. His strides are shorter, but he has enough speed to break the big one.”
Completing the backfield will be 6-foot-4, 256-pound senior fullback Braden Wilson, who was limited to just 15 rushing yards on five carries, and two receptions for 15 yards in 2012 as he paved the way for Klein and Hubert.
“We believe that Braden is ready to step up and have a good senior year. We’ll be trying to do different things to get him the ball,” said Dimel of Wilson, who has career totals of 15 carries for 31 yards and 13 receptions for 110 yards. “Braden makes it difficult for teams to prepare for us because of his versatility. He has the combination of size and movement. Not a lot of people have someone 6-4, 250 who isn’t afraid of collisions.”
RUNNING BACK NOTES:
• Hubert will be trying to become only the 25th career 1,000-yard rusher in K-State history
• As a prepster at Midway High in Waco, Texas, Hubert broke the city rushing records set by NFL Pro Bowler LaDainian Tomlinson. Hubert rushed for 2,523 yards as a senior, following a 1,747-yard season as a junior. As a senior, he was ranked the No. 4 running back in the state of Texas.
• Pease is a native of Cairo, Ga., and a former transfer from Hutchinson Community College. At Hutch in 2010, Pease rushed for 834 yards and passed for 281 yards with six touchdowns.
• Rose is a product of Miami Springs High School in Miami, Fla.
• Robinson was ranked as the 18th-best running back in the nation and a four-star recruit as a senior at Wichita Northwest
DIMEL SAYS TANNAHILL, MCDONALD HAVE IMPROVED
Kansas State has the best of both worlds when it comes to the tight end position.
The Wildcats have 6-foot-3, 253-pound Travis Tannahill and a 6-foot-8, 283-pound Andre McDonald. Tannahill is a senior out of Overland Park, Kan., while McDonald is a junior from Choctaw, Okla.
“They’re totally different,” said Dimel, of his two tight ends. “Travis is more finesse who knows how to position his body when it comes to blocking and in the passing game, while Andre is a raw, talented kid who has a high skill-set. He’s big, can run and is hard to tackle in the open space.”
Tannahill started last year and caught 10 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown. His touchdown came on a one-handed grab at Miami, while he caught a season-long 34-yard pass against Texas A&M.
“I think Travis is an all-conference type kid. He’s really worked hard and during the off-season he discovered we have a weight room,” said Dimel. “He got in there and got big and strong. In the past, he’s relied on his intelligence and finesse, but when you put those gifts with how hard he’s worked in the weight room, I think he has a chance to be a really good player.”
McDonald caught nine passes for 136 yards and one touchdown in his sophomore season. He a pair of passes against Missouri, while he threw off several would-be tackles for a 34-yard game at Miami.
This year, Dimel says, “Travis has a little more experience in our offense, but Andre took some nice strides last year and has demonstrated the ability to be a good blocker on the goal line.”
The third candidate at tight end is Zach Trujillo, a 6-foot-4, 236-pound sophomore from Edmond, Okla. Trujillo played in 12 games last year, but most of those snaps came on special teams. He did gain his first start against Oklahoma State.
TIGHT END NOTES:
• Out of Olathe East High School in Kansas, Tannahill was ranked the 13th-best player in the state and as a three-star prospect. He also played basketball and was a state champion in the javelin as a sophomore.
• Tannahill has played in a total of 38 K-State games with 19 career catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns
• McDonald lettered in both basketball and baseball at Choctaw High School
• McDonald has played in 25 games with 14 career catches for 212 yards and two scores
MEET COACH DIMEL:
• A native of Columbus, Ohio, Dimel played at K-State in 1985 and 1986 after a two-year career at Hutchinson Community College
• In his 15th season on the K-State staff
• Other coaching experience came as a head coach at Wyoming from 1997-99 and Houston from 2000-02. He’s also been on the staff at Arizona. At Wyoming, he was the youngest head coach in Division I football at the age of 35.
• Has coached 34 players who have advanced to the National Football League
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