K-State holds open media practice, first looks at new QB Adrian Martinez
MANHATTAN, Kan. (KWCH) - It’s officially less than a month from Kansas State’s home opener against South Dakota. The Wildcats’ fall camp started last week and addressed the media on Monday about the new team, including Nebraska transfer quarterback Adrian Martinez.
Head Coach Chris Klieman had praise for what he has seen from Martinez since the quarterbacks have started throwing routes at practice.
“[He’s] been really sharp. He’s done a nice job, he continues to learn what we’re doing,” Klieman said. “He’s continuing to absorb more and more of the playbook and feeling more and more comfortable with the offensive scheme. We’re seeing some really, really good things throwing the ball, running the ball and getting us in the right play.”
Martinez transferred to Kansas State after a being a four-year starter during his career at Nebraska. He currently holds the school record for career total offensive yards (10,792) and the most total offensive yards per game (308.0 in 2021). According to the University of Nebraska’s athletics website, Martinez is only the 24th quarterback in FBS history to pass for 8,000 yards and rush for 2,000.
Since Martinez has arrived on campus, Klieman said his new quarterback has been all in on the offensive scheme, and is continually trying to grow in the system.
“I think he would tell you, he’s learning every day,” Klieman said. “That’s the fun part. He was taking so many mental reps in the spring and trying to put himself in the position behind the QBs, just kind of watching as it goes.”
Martinez isn’t the only large change for the Wildcat offensive scheme. Kansas State will work a new quarterback into the system as well as their new offensive coordinator, ‘Cats legend Colin Klein. Klieman said Klein is up for the new challenge, and excited to get to work with their newest offensive weapon. There could also be multiple new looks designed into the offense for the dual threat quarterback.
“Potentially yeah. We’re putting a lot of stuff in right now,” Klieman said. “I know Coach Klein is excited about the opportunity, I’m excited for him. It’s going to be really neat to watch him grow in the position and watch him put his own spin on it and take his own ownership. He commands the room. There’s no question about that.”
Other takeaways from camp:
Along with the new pieces of the offense, the Wildcats also return their consensus All-American running back, Deuce Vaughn. According to Kansas State’s athletic website, Vaughn Enters the 2022 season ranked first among all active non-kickers in career points per game (8.1) as well as second among active players in career all-purpose yards per game (134.48).
Klieman said that because Deuce is such a big part of this offense, he will likely have a target on him from opposing defenses, so the Wildcats will have to find new ways to get Vaughn his touches.
“We’re going to move Deuce around. Everyone is going to know where he’s at and game plan for him,” Klieman said. “We need to be creative with how we get him the football . . . Whether that’s in the backfield or whether that’s in the slot. [You’ll see] a lot of different looks probably.”
The wildcats also bring back one of the best in the conference on the other side of the ball as well. Defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah. He was named the Big 12 Pre-season Defensive Player of the Year after finishing last season with 11 sacks, the most in the conference. After the Texas Bowl win the DE underwent off-season surgery, but Klieman said fans should expect him ready to go week one, and that the Anudike-Uzomah coming back is an even finer tuned version.
“So he’s getting himself back healthy for starters. And we’re smart with him because his was an injury that takes time to heal. But he is healthy and ready to go,” Klieman said. “I just think he’s just so much more experienced. He knows that people are going to have to turn the protection to him. He knows that he has to let the game come to him.”
Martinez, Klein and the Wildcats will open their season at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on September 3.
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