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K-State's Coffman aims at six-win season

Thursday, July 30, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

IRVING, Texas — The six-win mark means more than bowl eligibility for Kansas State quarterback Carson Coffman.

It means matching the number of victories his father, tight end Paul Coffman, had in three years with the Wildcats in the 1970s.

"We'll definitely surpass that total," said Coffman, also the younger brother of former standout Missouri tight end Chase Coffman. "In one year, yes."

Coffman's declaration during Big 12 media days Wednesday would have qualified as a bold statement 30 years ago. Bill Snyder has changed the expectations in Manhattan, Kan., which is why the father of Kansas State football has returned from a three-year coaching hiatus to replace his replacement, Ron Prince.

The Wildcats have reached six wins just once in the past five years (two under Snyder) after 11 straight seasons that were at least that good, and usually much better.

Now Kansas State will try to recapture the Snyder magic with a quarterback who grew up idolizing the coach.

"I never thought I'd have this opportunity," Coffman said. "When he was named head coach, it was pretty intimidating because of what he's done and his credentials. I'm really excited to learn from him."

Of course, Coffman's least favorite elementary school teacher could be the coach and he'd still be excited. Since quarterback wasn't the problem during Prince's three years, Coffman watched while Josh Freeman played his way into the first round of this year's NFL draft.

Now Coffman is trying to replace the school's career leader in yards, completions and touchdowns while playing in a home stadium that bears his coach's name.

"I've been sitting for three years just dying to get an opportunity to play," Coffman said. "It's finally here, and I'm going to make the most of my opportunity."

Snyder said Coffman was the starter but didn't declare the competition closed.

"He's making the transition like everyone," Snyder said. "So there's a learning curve, but he handles that. Sharp young guy, handles it quite well."

NO HARD FEELINGS: Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said he has moved on from the messy contract stalemate that was aired out in public during the offseason.

Leach and the school had agreed on financial terms, but Leach objected to some of the clauses in the deal. The biggest sticking point was a requirement that Leach notify the school before he interviewed elsewhere or risk being fired and penalized $1.5 million.

Ultimately, the sides agreed on a five-year, $12.7 million deal without the contentious clause and with favorable buyout arrangements for Leach.

"There's always bumps in the road and ups and downs," Leach said. "In the midst of that, you just go to work every day and continue to work, and then once it all got solved, just continue to proceed without distractions."

When a reporter suggested Leach now had the best deal in the Big 12 because of the buyout arrangements, he said there were at least three Big 12 coaches with better deals. Pressed further, he wouldn't name names.

10-WIN CHALLENGE: The buzz for Colorado coach Dan Hawkins revolved around his supposed guarantee of 10 wins in 2009 at the end of last year's season-ending banquet.

While trying to dismiss the chatter as "Internet rumors," Hawkins said there was nothing wrong with expecting the Buffs to double their number of wins in one season. He offered repeated examples: the Arizona Cardinals from nowhere to the Super Bowl and Minnesota-Duluth from 4-6 to 15-0 and a Division II national championship, just to name a couple.

"I'm never going to sell our guys short, and I think I'm a big believer in what your expectations and your vision and what your standard is," Hawkins said. "If you're not a high-standard guy, you're a low-standard guy."

SNYDER 2.0: Kansas State coach Bill Snyder was asked to compare in several ways the differences between now and when he left coaching three years ago. Technology stood out to him as much as anything else.

"You know, I get up every morning early in the morning, and you get this BlackBerry thing out, and it's got all the recruiting services, and they each have a long story on every youngster that is above the age of 4 in the nation. Tells you what he had for breakfast and what position he plays and who's recruiting him and so on," Snyder said. "It's a change for me, but ... over the past two or three years it's been a change for everybody, I think."

 


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