October 25, 2007

Houlik scraps his way into starting role

Nothing about John Houlik's short career at Kansas State has gone as planned. The 5-foot-11 sophomore was never supposed to be a regular contributor to the team's defensive unit this season, and he probably shouldn't be among K-State's tackle leaders. So when it came time to tell Houlik he would be receiving his first collegiate start, the situation was handled in a fittingly non-conventional manner.

Last Monday, like any other Monday, the 210-pound Houlik was beginning his preparations for the Wildcats' next opponent, a process that has become important to the sophomore since he prides himself on getting the most out of limited playing time. However, what seemed like a normal Monday quickly took a very abnormal turn.

"Reggie (Walker) just walked up to me before practice and told me that I was going to start in his place that week, it took me off guard," Houlik said.

At first, Walker's words fell on deaf ears. The junior linebacker has a quite a locker-room reputation for his sense humor, so his instructions to take the field with the team's starters during the week's first practice were taken with a grain of salt. In fact, Houlik refused to believe his teammate during their initial conversation, and walked away shaking his head while laughing at what he perceived to be the antics of the team's number-one prankster.

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