A year ago it seemed Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was held together by duct tape at the end of the season.
The senior took blow after blow and kept on going, barely though, as he didn’t even practice the final month of the season.
This year, however, it seems Klein has taken steps to assure he’s still on the field and feeling OK at the end of the season. He’s sliding now on plays he barreled head-first into last season and opting to get out of bounds on scrambles, rather than squeezing out that last inch and risking injury.
So how does he feel so far, six games into the season?
“I do feel good and I’m always ready for another round,” Klein said Tuesday. “But around here, even if I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t tell you anyway.”
Klein does admit he is trying to be smarter, though, when running the ball in an offense that puts a lot of strain on a quarterback’s body.
“It’s a balance and I think with age, I’m a little bit smarter,” he said. “I hope that when I look back and I’m watching film that there was never an opportunity that I missed to get extra yards.
“But at the same time, I think of a quote by General Patton, ‘You don’t win wars dying for your country.’ You got to be smart about that.”
Knowing your 50 states
Yes, West Virginia is a state.
However, that apparently was a topic of debate this last week among K-State players.
“Honestly, we had an argument because some guys didn’t know where it was,” K-State receiver Chris Harper said Saturday. “Somebody was like, ‘West Virginia is in Virginia,’ and I was like, ‘no, West Virginia is a state.’”
On Tuesday, Harper was sure to clarify that he knew what he was talking about — offering up the state capital of Charleston.
“I knew the capital — isn’t that good enough?” he asked when prompted to list off all 50 states. “I mean, we all did the 50 states thing when we were kids. I guess some guys failed that test.”
Loving the road
The Wildcats are 2-0 on the road this season, winning both games by seven points or less.
K-State walked out of Ames, Iowa on Saturday with a win, the Wildcats’ first trip to Iowa State since the 2007 season.
On Saturday, the Wildcats will travel to West Virginia for the first time since the 1931 season — a 19-0 victory in K-State’s only matchup with the Mountaineers.
“It’s going to be crazy loud and I’m expecting to be heckled by a lot of fans,” Harper said. “I love it, I love going on the road and playing. I like them talking. We hear them and we feed off that.”
Harper did admit that he was disappointed that West Virginia lost last Saturday, hoping for that highly-anticipated undefeated matchup that’s been talked about for weeks.
“Every team you play, you want them to be at their best,” he said. “I still think they’re going to be at their best, especially losing like they did.
“I mean, its not like they lost by one. They got embarrassed. When we got embarrassed last year, we came out the next week ready to go. You use it as motivation.”
Ain’t getting no respect
K-State is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Wildcats also debuted at No. 4 in the first BCS standings released Sunday night.
Is that where K-State belongs through six games?
“We know about it, but it doesn’t matter,” Harper said of the No. 4 rank in the BCS. “It doesn’t really mean anything right now. It’s not the end of the season, so it means nothing right now.”
But despite the Wildcats’ highest rankings since 2000, Harper still doesn’t think K-State gets the credit it deserves. The senior said it’s a double-edged sword right now. Yes, they’re ranked high, but at the same time, he’s not hearing K-State mentioned as one of the true contenders for the national title.
“We’re number three or four — that’s still Top 5, so that’s not really under the radar, but when people talk about the best teams in the nation, they don’t mention us,” he said.
At the same time, Harper said not everyone can deal with the kind of attention he believes K-State deserves.
“You don’t know how guys who haven’t had that kind of success will handle it,” he said. “I’d rather be number one or number two at the end of the season than during the season when you’re in the moment of things — people on campus, girls you never talk to throwing themselves at you.
“It sounds easy, but some guys don’t know how to handle that stuff.“s still Top 5, so that