K-State and Kansas are buying into new cultures
SALINA, Kan. (WIBW) - 13 Sports had the opportunity to catch up with several Kansas and K-State players this week at the Youth Football Camp on what their expectations are for the upcoming year.
Starting with the Wildcats, Chris Klieman has the most wins as a head coach within the first three seasons in school history. They went 8-5 last year and won the Taxact Bowl over LSU.
The common trend within the locker room is that Klieman is a winner and the players are buying in.
“Coach Klieman has done a great job bringing in a new culture. We brought in a new strength staff, that’s really helped out our culture a lot and I feel like dude’s are really buying in,” K-State Offensive Lineman Cooper Beebe said. “We’re out there working every day. We’re sticking to our four core values and I think that’s really pushed us in the right direction and everyone has bought in.”
“Discipline, commitment, toughness, selflessness,” K-State Offensive Lineman Hayden Gillum said. “We come in every day and expect to do that and we expect greatness and we just attack everything we do and see how the rest plays out.”
2023 Wildcat commit and the No. 1 player in the state, Avery Johnson, he was also at the camp. He has one year left at Maize High School and he’s focusing on this season and winning a state title after coming up short last year.
But, that’s not stopping him from still being involved however he can.
“I want to get to games, see the gameday environment and see how much K-State has grown from just one year. Coach Klien taking over the Offensive Coordinator position allows them to do a lot more stuff on offense and I just want to see how their offense develops.”
Johnson says a big reason why he stayed in Kansas was Coach Klien.
“Definitely our relationship has gotten a lot better over the years and it’s only going to get better when I get there and be around him everyday,” Johnson said. “I love Coach Klien as a person and as a coach and that was one of the main reasons why I chose Kansas State as my final destination.”
For the Jayhawks, Lance Liepold is heading into his second year. KU has struggled mightily in recent years. They were 2-10 last campaign and their last winning season was 2008. Not to mention they haven’t surpassed three wins since 2009.
However that narrative is changing and players tell 13 Sports that’s how they’re feeling.
“We’re really excited about this upcoming season,” Kansas Tight End Jared Casey said. “A lot of people really don’t believe us yet. Words are words. We’re not going to do too much talking. We’re just going to go out there and do what we can and do what we know we can... like I said get your popcorn ready.”
“The players, the coaches that we have now, are night and day different from the past and I think that these coaches are going about it the right way, the right thing and it’s going to be pretty cool to see it this fall,” Kansas Defensive Lineman Sam Burt said.
“Our core values which are pride, relentless and belief,” Burt added. “We’re laying those down and making our culture black and white as possible so that people know what we’re doing, they know the expectation, they know how we do things and we hold them to that standard and I think just growing together and these coaches really pushes relationships and trust so we’ve been doing that a lot this off-season and build on those expectations.”
Kansas opens the year at home against Tennessee Tech Sept. 2, and Kansas State will also be at home on Sept. 3, against South Dakota
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