Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Younger Cantele off to a quick start

While Kansas State’s special teams have been exactly that at times already this season, there have also been a couple hiccups along the way as well.

But one of the more consistent performers so far for the Wildcats has been new kicker Jack Cantele.

He’s not to be confused with the other Cantele — his brother Anthony — who made 37-of-48 field goals for K-State the past two seasons to rank fourth in school history.

Two inches taller, but relatively the same size as his older brother, Jack has shown he too, might have the stuff to be K-State’s next great kicker. Already off to a quick start — making his first two field goal tries and the first nine extra-point attempts of his career — Jack makes up the second set of brothers to have kicked for coach Bill Snyder at K-State. The first was Jaime and Joe Rheem, who combined to make 77 field goals and sit second and third, respectively, in career makes at K-State.

Jack credits his time spent behind his brother to being able to step into the job this season and find instant success.

“Fortunately, I got to be behind (Anthony) for two years,” he said. “I didn’t have to be forced in there before I was ready. I’m ready now, and I got to see in him what it takes to be successful and hopefully I can duplicate what he did.”

Still, Anthony continues to be a source of guidance for his younger brother.

“He really has given me advice on staying under control and not trying to force anything,” he said. “That’s been the biggest asset for me.”

Jack’s two field goals this season were from 29 and 27 yards out last Saturday in the Wildcats’ 48-27 win over Louisiana.

“I’d like to see him get better all the time, but I thought it was good for Jack to hit a couple of field goals,” Snyder said Tuesday during the Wildcats’ weekly press conference. “He needs to continue to get better and improve, and he understands that.”

Snyder wants to see Hubert get going

John Hubert came into his senior season expecting big things. After playing second fiddle in the backfield to Collin Klein the past two seasons — despite rushing for 1,917 yards and 18 touchdowns — this was supposed to be Hubert’s season to shine. He was looking for a bigger workload with a new quarterback working into the system, kind of the go-to guy this offense could lean on.

So far, though, it’s been nothing but disappointment for the running back, as he’s totaled just 79 yards in the first two games, averaging only 2.9 yards per carry. He’s just one part of an offense that has struggled to produce much on the ground, falling more than 100 yards short per game of what the Wildcats did a year ago to finish fourth in the Big 12 in rushing.

Snyder said there have been glimpses of the “old John,” but that he needs to see more of it going forward. For what its worth, Hubert did score a pair of touchdowns last Saturday — a 7-yard rush on an option to the right and a 2-yard dash in the fourth quarter.

“He needs to get back to the rhythm that was he was in a year ago,” Snyder said. “There are a lot of things that enter into that — it’s not all John. But I think we need to get John to run hard. You saw a couple snaps there (against Louisiana) that were the old John Hubert. He got loose, stayed on his feet and broke some tackles. He needs to do that on a consistent basis.”

Snyder doesn’t see a correlation in Hubert’s early struggles to the absence of Klein, an equally dangerous runner who defenses had to respect and more often than not, attracted the majority of the focus. For whatever reason, the Wildcats haven’t seemed to have the same punch in its ground attack with quarterback Jake Waters in the game, suggesting Hubert might be more successful with a better runner in Daniel Sams sharing the backfield.

“I don’t think that’s the case,” Snyder said. “There’s a lot of possibilities, regardless of which quarterback is in the ballgame.”


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