Campus Corner

Kellis Robinett on what Bruce Weber’s contract extension means for K-State

K-State head coach Bruce Weber.
K-State head coach Bruce Weber. The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A. Hope everyone enjoys this special Thursday edition. We’re back to Friday next week.

We’ve got lots of great questions lined up, so let’s get right to them. Thanks, as always, for asking.

Some contract extensions are designed to lock up a coach for years to come. Others are meant to boost a coach’s image and help recruiting.

Weber’s two-year extension, which doesn’t feature a raise but does feature a decreased buyout after May 1, 2019, falls among the latter.

K-State athletic director Gene Taylor said all the right things after announcing the extension on Tuesday, and Weber said he feels like he has the stability and longevity to be able to tell recruits he will be their coach for years to come. But make no mistake, Weber’s job security hasn’t changed all that much. He will still be under pressure to win next season.

I would stop short of describing the extension as meaningless, as it does provide Weber with a small measure of increased job security. Without a contract extension, K-State would have owed Weber his remaining salary of $2.25 million (not his $2.5 million buyout) to part ways on May 1, 2018. With this contract extension, his buyout remains in place for an extra year before falling to $500,000. It’s not the biggest difference in the world, and $275,000 probably won’t make it any easier or harder for Taylor to decide on Weber’s future, but it is something.

The extension does make one thing clear: Weber will either have a new contract before the 2019-20 season or he will be coaching elsewhere. If Weber can win over K-State fans by then, Taylor will want to retain him with a contract that actually locks him up for a few years. If he can’t, Taylor will be looking to make a change.

So, yeah, the contract extension wasn’t the biggest deal in the world.

As I wrote in this space nearly four months ago: “Weber will be back as K-State’s basketball coach next season. That’s not changing. Might as well give him the best possible chance to succeed. A contract extension could help in that regard, particularly in recruiting. A coach with four or five years remaining on his deal tends to have better luck than a coach with one or two.”

He is 100-68 with three NCAA Tournaments and a shared Big 12 championship. Coaches have earned extensions for far less. There are obviously reasons for fans to cringe when “Bruce Weber” and “contract extension” are mentioned together, but this was a smart move by Taylor. The alternative is setting your coach up to fail.

I would use the word confident.

It was a little surprising to hear him sound off for a good two minutes on how much he dislikes backhanded compliments, but I thought it was awesome. He made some valid points. Too often, I feel like we give coaches too much credit for winning with unheralded recruits. The players are the ones out there winning games.

The safety spot opposite Kendall Adams also remains a question mark/concern in my book. Will it be Sean Newlan, Denzel Goolsby, Elijah Walker or someone else entirely?

But, yeah, linebacker is the biggest question mark. I think Trent Tanking will be solid. There is lots of potential at that position, but we will have to wait and see on everyone else. Replacing Elijah Lee and Charmeachealle Moore won’t be easy.

Jesse Ertz and Winston Dimel both tied for the team lead with 12 rushing touchdowns last season, and it will probably be a tight race again. It’s a tough call, because Dimel seems to get the bulk of the goal-line work, but Ertz will get more chances to score when the ball isn’t within the 5. Right now, I’m leaning toward Ertz. It will be hard for Alex Barnes and Justin Silmon to join the mix, as they will be competing for touches.

It’s definitely possible. I agree with those that think Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the front-runners, but K-State should be in the mix more than anyone else. With five Big 12 home games, the schedule is setup for success. And I’m not ready to buy Texas.

Tiebreakers could definitely be important, which makes the Wildcats’ games against OU and OSU that much more important.

All I can tell you at the moment is that K-State’s top high school linebacker recruit is no longer listed on the roster. Never a good sign. I hope to provide more specifics after speaking with Bill Snyder at K-State media day on Thursday afternoon.

Blake Seiler will try to replace Elijah Lee, Charmeachealle Moore and Will Davis with a new crop of linebackers that have barely played.

That seems more important than how Collin Klein coaches up Jesse Ertz, a senior that proved himself last year. But I am interested to see just how much Ertz improves this season. No one knows K-State’s offense better thank Klein. That could be a good partnership.

It seems more likely than not we see some sort of uniform change on Fort Riley Day again this season. I’ve been told Bill Snyder was the driving force behind the white helmets K-State wore last year against Oklahoma State, and he thought they turned out great. Given more time, here’s guessing they change things up a bit more this season.

Not a lock, by any means. But there’s a decent chance it happens. Let’s say 60 percent.

You will like this one. Back when I covered the Idaho State Bengals, I noticed that home football games lacked atmosphere and decided to write a column suggesting the school purchase a live Bengal Tiger and keep it behind the end zone at games. That was a fun one to research and write. Alas, no Bengal Tiger was ever brought in. But the school took my column seriously enough to respond with reasons they didn’t want a live tiger at games, including the foul odors a Bengal Tiger would bring to the stadium.

Perhaps one day I will write something similar on K-State’s classic live mascots Boscoe and Touchdown.

On the K-State beat, I liked telling Arthur Brown’s story when he was the face of the defense. Chronicling B.J. Finney’s journey to the Pittsburgh Steelers was a lot of fun, too. I also fondly remember Jacob Pullen letting me into his apartment to write about his enormous shoe collection. Still, nothing beats the experience of writing this blog every week!

Man, I wish.

I really wasted having a full head of hair in my early years by cutting it short when I could have rocked a mullet or a Mohawk. I guess I could still try a mullet today, but without hair on the top of my head I seriously doubt I could pull it off like Mike Gundy.

There are so many to choose from. Ekeler would be near the top of list, though.

I would probably go with some of the enormous left tackles they have had over the years. No one is picking a fight with Zach Hanson (6-8, 310 pounds) or Cornelius Lucas (6-9, 328 pounds).

Well, shortly after retiring in 2005 he had second thoughts and asked to continue coaching before K-State talked him out of that idea and hired Ron Prince. So I guess the answer is: himself.

Personally, I don’t see that happening. Maybe if K-State signs both of his twin sons, the thought of coaching them in Manhattan would intrigue him. I don’t know what to say about that. But it’s a pretty good dream for K-State fans.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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