K-State football, marching band to trade places for spring game

The Pride of Wildcat Land will trade with the K-State football team for the April 22 spring game in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

The entire Kansas State football team will play at new positions at the spring game on April 22.

In an arrangement between head football coach Bill Snyder and director of bands Frank Tracz, the football team and marching band will call an audible and trade places.

Snyder, who is known for keeping as much information about his team as possible out of the views of the public and opposing teams, said this arrangement will prevent unwanted information from becoming public.

“Our spring game strategy has always balanced practicing for the team with limiting information on play-calling and other game plans to opposing teams, that’s why we run the ball up the middle so much,” Snyder said at a Thursday press conference. “By trading with the band, we’ll confuse other teams with our new marching band formations.”

The over 100 players on the team have already traded in their mouth guards for mouthpieces. A sound Snyder described as “the shriek of a wounded Jayhawk” could be heard during the football practice at the press conference.

“We have some work to do before game day, obviously,” Snyder said. “But the important thing is to improve little by little every day.”

Thursday afternoon’s marching band rehearsal at Memorial Stadium featured band members trading out their formation charts and sheet music for playbooks.

“We’re not going full-uniform yet because we don’t have the budget to dry clean them again before the game, but we’ll be ready from spats to plumes by game day,” Tracz said.

Tracz has already assigned all of the 400-plus members of the Pride of Wildcat Land to their new positions on the field.

Junior drum major Natalie Alton will lead the band as quarterback, trading in her baton for the ball in her hands.

“I have precise downbeats, so I expect that to transition over well into perfect spirals,” Alton said.

“I have complete faith in Natalie’s abilities and leadership,” Tracz said.

Senior tuba section leader Blake Moris is the other offensive captain, leading the tubas on the offensive line — called the tuba T — at center.

“We’ll win the battles in the trenches because we know how to get low,” Moris said. “We lay a steady bass for the rest of the band.”

The offense is rounded out by the mellophones at running back due to their skill with fast runs and frequent flashy melodies; trumpets at wide receiver because of their ability to go high to get the notes; and alto and tenor saxes at fullback and tight end because of their tendencies to be underappreciated until they play melody when at the goalline.

The defense’s strength starts with the trombones at linebacker, headed by junior trombone music instructor Henry Law.

“We play ‘bone ball’ football against the tubas before every rehearsal, so we know how to beat them,” Law said. “We blast through gaps in the music, so we’ll blast through gaps in the tuba T.”

Just like when they fill gaps in the music — most noticeably during marching features — the drumline will look to fill gaps as the defensive line.

“We need to stay on-beat and not drag when the ball is snapped,” said junior tenor drum section leader Hunter Sprong. “We’re pros at rushing, so Natalie better be ready.”

Rounding out the defense are the piccolos at cornerback because they are small but fast and can get high; and baritones at safety to fill in where needed, whether it is the melody or harmony, or tenor or bass parts.

Clarinets will serve as managers. Cheerleaders and Classy Cats will trade, with cheerleaders dancing and Classy Cats performing stunts. Twirlers will carry the headset gear when following the directors on the sideline. The color guard will run the “K-State” flags through the endzones after touchdowns.

Tracz said the band will use the spring game as a chance to experiment before the fall.

“We will roll out some new formations — no spaceships — at the spring game,” Tracz said.

Snyder said quarterbacks coach Collin Klein has put his musical skills to use preparing the football team for a pregame and halftime show.

“Some of these guys have never held an instrument before, but we believe that if you work hard, anything is possible,” Klein said. “Don’t get your bees in a bonnet.”

Tracz said he is confident in the band’s ability.

“We’ll be ready come showtime,” Tracz said.

This story is an April Fools’ joke and not intended to be taken seriously.

Jason Tidd graduated from Kansas State University's Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2017. He was the spring 2017 editor-in-chief, fall 2016 news editor and spring 2016 assistant news editor. While at K-State, Jason played baritone in the Pride of Wildcat Land marching band.