Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Collin Klein Eager for New Role in K-State Football

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Collin Klein Eager for New Role in K-State Football

Article excerpt

MANHATTAN -- One look at Collin Klein and it becomes apparent the former Heisman Trophy finalist is not the same quarterback who once slammed and stretched for extra yardage.

"I'm down a little bit,'' Klein said of his weight, "but that's OK.''

Absolutely. He no longer wears a helmet. Instead, he must get inside those who do as Kansas State's quarterbacks coach.

No one seems better suited.

After first playing as a wide receiver for K-State, Klein capitalized on all his skills to become one of the Wildcats' greatest quarterbacks. In doing so, he epitomized the values stressed by K-State coach Bill Snyder.

"He didn't just evolve out of the sky,'' Snyder said. "You saw the progress, day in and day out, year in and year out. That's the way it's going to be in coaching.''

The gig isn't entirely new to Klein.

Following his senior season in 2012, which included a trip for the Heisman ceremony in New York after engineering K-State to a Big 12 championship, Klein spent two seasons on the coaching staff. His first full-time position was coaching quarterbacks last season for Northern Iowa.

Think what you want of the Championship Subdivision, but understand the Missouri Valley is the best conference at that level. Northern Iowa solidified that reputation even more last season when it upset Iowa State.

Panthers coach Mark Farley quickly showed trust in Klein.

"Coach Farley let me call the plays the last half of the season,'' Klein said. "Being able to work into that role and take on that responsibility really grew me up pretty quickly, which was a great experience.''

At K-State, Klein takes over for his position coach, Del Miller, who retired after last season. Miller coached from the press box, though Klein could not reveal his in-game vantage point when asked at media day.

"I don't know if we've nailed that down exactly,'' he said. "Wherever we can maximize our sets of eyes, we'll work that out.''

The priority, of course, will be putting Jesse Ertz in position to succeed as the Cats' returning QB. …

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