K-State football team pays tribute to fans

MANHATTAN — The Kansas State football team had a history lesson this past week that put the current state of the program in perspective.

 

During the Wildcats’ annual Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, team captain Dalton Risner explained the connection between the Wildcats and their fans that was reinforced by watching the recently released documentary by filmmaker Dan Youngman, a K-State graduate.

“We watched the ‘Miracle in Manhattan’ video earlier this week as a team,” Risner said. “We’re seeing video of the old games and they’ve got people scattered throughout the whole stadium and I bet we have more here than we used to back then. That’s a tribute to you guys. The whole team appreciates you guys that you carry on that tradition of filling up the stadium.

“My mom and dad, Mitch and Melinda Risner, always talk about a ‘just do it attitude’. No matter how hard it gets, no matter how painful it gets throughout the season, I can guarantee one thing: No matter how hard it gets, how painful it gets and how tough it gets we’re going to just do and do it the best we can do.”

A crowd estimated at 2,200 by K-State officials watched the final hour of practice and heard comments from the five team captains and coach Bill Snyder, followed by a team autograph session.

“They truly do appreciate you,” Snyder told the fans. “It’s easy to say so in this setting. Every coach and every player in the country speaking in front of alumni groups or in front of fans are going to say how much they care about you and love you but these guys talk about it in the locker room and the practice field. They truly appreciate you. I think all of you know how I feel.”

The Wildcats, ranked No. 19 in the USA Today/Amway coaches preseason poll, open the season Sept. 2 at home against Central Arkansas.

“As a team captain, we’re all extremely excited to see you all out here,” quarterback Jesse Ertz said. “We have a big game against Central Arkansas coming up and we’ve been watching film and working hard and we want to make you guys proud.”

PERSONNEL MATTERS — Center Reid Najvar, reportedly out for the season due to injury, did not take part in Saturday’s practice.

Sophomore Adam Holtorf was the center with the first team offensive line, and one other change had Breontae Matthews at right guard in place of Tyler Mitchell. The other three spots were filled by returning starters: Left tackle Scott Frantz, left guard Abdul Beecham and right tackle Risner.

Beecham and Mitchell split time as left guard last season.

Also out of action were wide receiver Carlos Strickland, the transfer from Cal, and nickleback Cre Moore (Johnathan Durham took his spot). Denzel Goolsby was at a safety position opposite Kendall Adams.

SECURITY PASSES — K-State had a test run of new security measures entering the stadium, which included fans passing through metal detectors.

Fans had to place cell phones, cameras and binoculars in trays but could retain keys, watches and jewelry. While it was a smaller crowd passing through one gate rather than a game-day crowd of 50,000, the system ran smoothly.

“It went pretty good,” said Casey Scott, senior associate athletics director for operations and event management. “We didn’t seem to have anyone with any issues. It was as much a test for our staff as for the fans.”


Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.


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