Patterson and K-State go way back

Snyder says Klein ‘seems fine’ and hopes he plays Saturday at TCU

By Joel Jellison

TCU head coach Gary Patterson is a Kansas native, and a former Kansas State football player.

When asked during the Big 12 teleconference if his K-State friends would be upset if TCU upended the N0. 3-ranked Wildcats, Patterson responded to the conundrum.

“It is a dilemma, isn’t it?” Patterson said. “You have to do what you have to do.”

Patterson played at linebacker for the Wildcats from 1980 to 1981, after the Rozel native started his collegiate career at Dodge City Community College. The TCU coach was even named as a possible replacement — and reported as the replacement for a day — for Ron Prince when he was fired as K-State coach in 2008.

Patterson has done his own Bill Snyder-esque job in Fort Worth, putting TCU on the national stage of collegiate football, leading them to an invitation into the Big 12.

Of course, Patterson has the benefit of playing within a major-metropolitan area in the football-centric state of Texas, but he has still made his name as a program builder for the Horned Frogs, with an 115-33 record since he took over in 2000.

Snyder said he has had numerous opportunities to meet the former K-Stater.

“I enjoy Gary’s company and his wonderful wife,” Snyder said. “We haven’t gone out and socialized together, but we certainly meet on a variety of different occasions and certainly at the Nike stuff and all that, and we have a chance to visit. I enjoy his company a great deal. He’s a real genuine guy.”

Of course the big storyline for this Saturday’s game in Fort Worth, Texas,won’t be about Patterson coaching against his old team. It will be about K-State quarterback Collin Klein.

The Heisman frontrunner was knocked out of the Wildcats’ game in the third quarter against Oklahoma State, and is believed to have suffered a concussion.

Asked about Klein’s condition on Monday, Snyder coyly addressed the issue without addressing it all. The K-State coach said Klein “seems fine” to him and said “he hopes” Klein will play Saturday.

When asked if the helmetless Klein was an indication of the quarterback indeed suffering a concussion Saturday, Snyder couldn’t resist responding the best way he knows how.

“He’s had his helmet off before,” Snyder quipped. “I’m assuming maybe they’re uncomfortable. I don’t know.”

If Klein did suffer a concussion, it instantly becomes another story in one of the hot-button issues in sports over the past few years.

Snyder said it’s an issue that is addressed now more than ever — and for good reason. The K-State coach also outlined some of the procedures for diagnosing the readiness for returning.

“I know in today’s environment that there’s an awful lot of attention paid to it, and rightfully so,” he said. “They have certain verbal testing that they do, but they also have some pre-condition tests that are taken, and then they make comparisons if an injury like that occurs.

“If you have somebody who has an indication that there might be some type of trauma that way, they retest you the same test to define something that they’ve done some research on regarding the test and it’s supposed to tell you what kind of progress you’re making and, to some degree, if you have some type of head trauma.”

Patterson made it clear that his team has to be ready for either Klein or Daniel Sams to play, and they can’t prepare as if it will solely be one or the other.

“Collin Klein is a really good player, but their offensive line is maybe the best we’ve seen in the Big 12,” he said. “Their wide receivers don’t get enough credit. They can run and make big plays. Their running back (John) Hubert is faster than he was a year ago and can make plays.

“You’ve got to get ready for those 20 other guys that do a great job and make Collin Klein a very good player. For us, you have to get ready — they run the same offense with Sams in there.”

The Wildcats will have their own challenge in stopping the TCU offense, which has managed, in some respects, to keep moving forward after initial starting quarterback Casey Pachall left the team after a DUI arrest in early October.

Since then, TCU has gotten production out of Trevone Boykin, with 13 touchdowns and 1,376 passing yards.

“I think with the young quarterback getting more and more experience, he just gets better as he goes,” Snyder said of Boykin. “That’s been a tremendous asset for them. He’s got the capacity to do so many different things, quite obviously.

“As you call him a dual-threat quarterback, he’s good in both arenas. The complexity of the offense itself, there’s a lot of variety. When I say variety, it’s a varied offense. There’s a lot there schematically, formation wise, motion wise. They certainly present some problems just getting lined up against you.”

Cantele named semifinalist for Lou Groza Award

K-State senior Anthony Cantele is one of 20 players nationally to be named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top place kicker, the Palm Beach Sports Commission announced Monday.

Cantele was one of four kickers from the Big 12 on the list and picked up the sixth semifinalist selection in school history.

Martin Gramatica was the 1997 winner and 1998 runner-up, while Jamie Rheem was a two-time runner-up (1999 and 2000) and Joe Rheem was a semifinalist in 2004.

A product of Wichita, Cantele has made 14-of-16 field goals this year with a long of 42 yards at No. 13 West Virginia. He ranks second in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage at 87.5 percent, while he is third in the league with 1.56 field goals per game and fifth in the conference with 10.3 points per game.

Cantele, who is one of only eight kickers in the nation to be true on every field goal away from home, leads the nation with 51 extra-points made, while he ranks 13th nationally with 30 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs.

Cantele’s 32 career field goals rank sixth in school history, while his 105 career extra points are fourth and his 207 career points are seventh.

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