Football caps off spring practices with Spring Showcase

Kicking off the new era of coaching, Kansas State head football coach Chris Klieman and his coaching staff held a Spring Showcase to introduce themselves to the K-State Family and show off what their players can do. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State football hosted its Spring Showcase on Saturday. The Wildcats brought some excitement to fans during an open practice as opposed to a spring game like in years prior.

K-State fans had the opportunity to hear from the coordinators during the practice which is an aspect that was extremely limited in the Bill Snyder Era.

With a major shift in the coaching staff, it was important to continue to lock down the communication as a team. Head coach Chris Klieman talked about the mentality knowing that fans would be coming to the practice.

“We are still getting better every day, so we came out here with the idea that we were going to practice, there were just more fans here,” Klieman said.

Junior quarterback Skylar Thompson shared the expectations of the spring practice from Klieman.

“That was coach Kleiman’s main emphases of the day was to get out here get a lot of reps, have a lot of fun, get in front of the fans, make some plays and come out of here healthy and I think we did that today,” Thompson said.

It appears that Skylar Thompson will be the starting quarterback for the Wildcats in 2019, but Klieman said the competition for the backup is extremely close due to the departure of Alex Delton, who transferred to TCU. The list features redshirt freshman John Holcombe and sophomore Nick Ast, who both received significant reps during the spring showcase during the scrimmage to end the practice.

For the majority of the practice, K-State continued to lock down and improve the performances of the individual positions before switching to split seven-on-seven drills. In the scrimmages, the players who have little Big 12 experience were given the opportunity to get some live reps, and it was a chance for players to get opportunities in different positions.

Junior D.J. Render played as a cornerback during the practice, as Klieman mentioned in a press conference Tuesday. Redshirt freshman Sammy Wheeler was tested at tight end after switching from quarterback.

Thompson was excited to see his teammate thrive in a new position.

“Ever since he switched over, he has embraced every opportunity,” Thompson said. “He makes plays he works, and he has a great attitude.”

Wheeler capped off the spring showcase with a one-handed catch in the end zone.

Klieman praised Wheeler for his willingness to switch and has seen him take advantage of his opportunity.

“Tight end is a position that is a need for us and he embraced it,” Klieman said. “I’m really impressed ,and he’ll be in the mix for us next year.”

Thompson talked about his progression from the start of spring practices.

“I’m really pleased how far I’ve come from day one to right now; it’s night and day difference and there is still a long way to go,” Thompson said. “I’m really going to dial it in and get focused this summer and get ready for fall camp, and we are going to be ready to go in the fall, I promise.”

There is still a lot of work ahead of K-State before the Wildcats welcome Nicholls State on Aug. 31.