April 9, 2008

Spring carries new feel for Wildcats

With a list of new coaches and players long enough to cover the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, it's no wonder Kansas State's spring practices have a considerably different feel this year. It's not just truckload of new personnel that has created the unique aura that radiates from junior running back Leon Patton and his veteran teammates. The changes that are evident to them this spring go far beyond the new names on their teammate's jerseys and coach's doors.

Whatever the driving motivation behind his action, K-State Coach Ron Prince's decision to close all spring practices for the first time in his three-year tenure as coach has, if nothing else, put his team and those close to it on notice.

This year, from its onset, will be nothing like the 5-7 campaign the Wildcats suffered through a year ago.

The 2008-09 season is all about change, not just in record, personnel or practice philosophies, but also in attitude. In order to change, this team realizes it must not lose track of the not-so-desirable memory of its recent past.

"We talk about the (end of last year) everyday," said Patton, who will almost undoubtedly be K-State's featured running back this season. "We want to go to a bowl game, and this past season, we didn't get it done. We keep that with us every day. We don't want to feel like that again."

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