Kansas State Wildcats football Chris Klieman Skylar Thompson Noah Johnson Deuce Vaughn
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Media Day Notebook: Kansas State

Chris Klieman
Chris Klieman (USA Today)


The hottest topic in terms of college football this month has been name, image and likeness. While some think that the bigger schools will continue to dominate, some think that schools that are in a true college town will have more of an opportunity.

Gary Patterson was the first to reflect this point, and said that it could even out the college football landscape. Chris Klieman echoed something similar, likely in terms of a recruiting pitch of sorts through the medium provided to him in Arlington at Big 12 Media Days.

He shared that Manhattan is a home run for an athlete looking to profit off of their own name, image and likeness and could be a weapon for Kansas State. Klieman supports the legislation and called the Wildcats the main event in their community, something unique to them.


Everyone knows Deuce Vaughn is a star at this point. Klieman was repeatedly asked questions about him and his impact today and he raved about his second-year running back.

He said it's great to have Deuce on his squad and that the older players have a lot of respect for him. He also mentioned how humble he is and that Vaughn doesn't believe he has arrived yet and has more to prove, like pass protection.

Not only that, the Kansas State head coach believes his playmaker is actually underrated as a ball-carrier at this point. Yes, he's elusive and explosive and has a lot of highlight reels, but he's much better as a standard ball-carrier than given credit for and earned tough yardage on multiple occasions a year ago.

That was due to his elite vision and balance.

Deuce Vaughn
Deuce Vaughn (USA Today)


An emphasis all offseason has been culture, and it has dominated the conversation for K-State when being discussed. That has been one of the primary focuses for the coaching staff since last season ended.

It was no different at Big 12 Media Days.

Klieman mentioned how last year was a tough in a lot of aspects and how he learned a lot about himself as a leader. He even shared at how mental health suffered for a lot of people throughout the year, including his own daughter who told him she hated college after her first year.

The core values of the program were established in Klieman's vision and they've been plastered all over the walls of every place in the football facility. Those are discipline, selflessness, toughness and commitment.

And there's reminders of those four principles everywhere.

Additionally, they've required that all players go to the football offices at least a few times each week in order to create and foster those relationships that they view as so important and valuable. A premium is being placed on face-to-face interaction.


Klieman revealed that he feels that one of the strengths of the team this season will be the offensive line. That shouldn't be earth-shattering for KSO subscribers, as we've noted that observation as well.

The unit returns nine players who saw action a year ago.

K-State's head coach mentioned how it needs to be one of the biggest strengths of the year in order for them to keep Skylar Thompson or Will Howard upright and healthy enough to lead the way for the rest of the offense.

They are still led by super senior Noah Johnson who has been mentioned multiple times in press conferences as one of the leaders for the Wildcats.