August 10, 2006

Meyer hopes to silence critics with his play

With the departure of left-handed sophomore quarterback Allan Evridge, we now know at least one thing: Derek Meyer, Kansas State's redshirt freshman left tackle, will without a doubt be protecting the blind side of the Wildcats' starting quarterback this fall, whether it's Dylan Meier or Josh Freeman. In all seriousness though, there's no denying that Meyer will play a vital role in the improvement K-State needs to make along the offensive line, a group that struggled through much of 2005.

There arguably may not have been a worse rushing attack in the nation than K-State's over the first six games of Big 12 Conference play last season. In those games, against Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Colorado and Iowa State, the Wildcats carried the ball a total of 192 times as a team for 305 yards, an average of just 1.6 yards per rush.

There is reason for optimism, however. In K-State's final two games against Nebraska and Missouri K-State ran the ball a combined 94 times for 480 yards for a much more impressive average of 5.1 yards a rush. The Wildcats return four starters from last year's line plus two more who started at least three contests, giving reason to believe that the improvement will continue in 2006.

"One of the biggest things we have to work on is being looked at as one of the most physical teams in the country. We definitely have a chip on our shoulder," Meyer said. "Everybody is looking at us to be improved. People can say what they want about us, but we know what we can do, we just have to go out every Saturday and do it."

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