July 31, 2007

Prince knows line play is crucial

Kansas State coach Ron Prince during a Big 12 Media Day session in San Antonio last week didn't make it a secret: The success of his team in the fall could be largely contingent upon the success of an offensive line that enters with only one clear starter and plenty of questions heading into fall camp.

"It's very clear if we address the offensive line and it plays to the kind of level it could and should play at then we have a chance to have a very good season," Prince said. "From a personnel standpoint in that most of the jobs are up for grabs. Jordan Bedore has made himself clearly the number one center, but other than that I don't really have a really good feel of who's going to be in those spots.

"That's not a real comforting feeling for a coach because that is a position that relies a lot on chemistry and working together."

Consistency at offensive line was one of the biggest concerns a year ago. Too many times there were breakdowns on third down, sending quarterback Josh Freeman scurrying and the third-down conversion rate (34.7) plummeting to next-to-last in the Big 12. K-State also finished last in the Big 12 in scoring inside the red zone (65.6 percent).

Bedore, a junior who started nine times last season, was a star of the spring and returns as the most consistent of the unit. Logan Robinson, Derek Meyer and Caleb Handy during the spring appeared to be the leading candidates to fill two guard positions. An impressive spring could have given Robinson the edge for a job. Bedore could also shift to guard if converted defensive tackle Trevor Viers is consistent at center. Junior Brad Rooker, one of the most improved linemen, moved from tackle and started three times at center last season. Nick Stringer, who made eight of his nine starts at right tackle last season, missed the spring (injury) after earning honorable mention Freshman All-American honors.

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