You can see it in his eyes. No one on this Kansas State football team may be more eager for the 2012 season to get underway than receiver Chris Harper. With the promise of a newfound passing game for the Wildcats, it should be the senior from Wichita on the receiving end of many of those pending passes from quarterback Collin Klein.
Harper spoke with the media earlier this week concerning the state of the Wildcats and his hopes for the year as Saturday's game with Missouri State, and the start of the season, finally nears.
How hard is it to find a rhythm in that first game, in the first or second quarter?
CHRIS HARPER: "Last year it was hard because we had a lot of new guys. Our offensive line was new, Collin (Klein) was new, John was a starter. It was really tough. This year we have a lot of guys coming back so we can continue with the momentum we had at the end of the season. We had it throughout the summer. That will help a lot."
How much more is available to the team this year, as far as how you go about your business?
CH: "We have guys who have been in the offense before. Thatâ€™s the biggest thing. We couldnâ€™t put everything we had on display last year because it was new for some guys. This year we have that experience and know the offense through and through."
Has Bill Snyder talked to the team about the importance of leading at halftime? (K-State is 149-5 in such games since 1990.)
CH: "The media has, but he hasnâ€™t much. We donâ€™t pay close attention to those types of stats."
How does it help the offense to be so flexible in who plays that position?
CH: "I think my first year here had the most depth. We had Aubrey Quarles and guys like that. But we definitely have the most this year that weâ€™ve had since that year. Thatâ€™ll help a lot and we should see the numbers improve too."
Collin Klein has been called the most underrated player in college football and the toughest player in college football. As a teammate of his, what would you call him?
CH: "I would give him both of those. We donâ€™t get a lot of love. I donâ€™t really care about that as long as we go out and win all of our games. Heâ€™s definitely getting a lot because of what he did last year, and he deserves it."
Are you seeing improvement from him compared to last year?
CH: "Yeah, but the biggest change is seeing him not really thinking out there and just playing. Heâ€™s making plays with his arm and using throws we all know he can make."
Are you a numbers guy? Do you have a set goal of how many yards you want this season?
CH: "I definitely have a number. I definitely want to get over 1000 yards receiving. I think thatâ€™ll help the team out too. Collin and I have a lot of chemistry, so thatâ€™s important. Itâ€™s not like Iâ€™m going to go out and expect to get 100 yards each game and have a bad attitude if I donâ€™t. Thatâ€™s not the attitude I have towards it. If you donâ€™t set any goals, what are you really trying to do?"
How important is it for the offense to click and find a rhythm in that first game?
CH: "Itâ€™s big. It sets the tempo for the rest of the season. Last year, our first game didnâ€™t do that; it was a wake up call. This year we need to go out and set a pace for the whole season."
Whatâ€™s the key to being able to click for your guys? Efficiency? Limiting turnovers?
CH: "You donâ€™t want to turn the ball over, but itâ€™s all about scoring points really. If its big plays or long drives, either way we want to score more points than our opponent."