A handful of players listed on Kansas State’s roster were not present for the Wildcats’ annual public football practice on Saturday.
Freshman quarterback Tavarius Bender, who was expected to compete with Daniel Sams for the backup spot behind Collin Klein, was nowhere to be found. Neither were freshman offensive lineman Boston Stiverson, junior offensive lineman Ellwood Clement and junior defensive lineman Chaquil Reed.
Clement and Reed are junior-college transfers who were not present for the start of preseason practices earlier this month. Stiverson and Bender both participated in spring practices.
K-State football coach Bill Snyder didn’t address their absences following the event, and a team spokesman had no comment.
• On the opposite end of the spectrum, two players who failed to make it for the start of fall training camp were in uniform. Defensive lineman Hakeem Akinola, a junior-college transfer, was seen rotating in with the first-team defense, and freshman Demonte Hood also participated in drills.
K-State’s starting offensive line appears set. Cornelius Lucas took the majority of reps with the first-team offense at left tackle, Nick Puetz played alongside him at left guard, B.J. Finney was at center, Keenan Taylor was at right guard and Cody Whitehair played right tackle. Junior-college transfer Tavon Rooks took occasional snaps at guard. He could still earn a starting spot.
On the defensive line, Meshak Williams and Adam Davis played more than anyone on the ends with John Sua and Akinola splitting time at tackle next to Vai Lutui.
In other notable position battles, Justin Tuggle spent a lot of time in drills at linebacker with the first team defense, and Jarard Milo saw a lot of time at safety.
The expansion of Bill Snyder Family Stadium is well under way. Two cranes towered above the press box on Saturday, and the old souvenir store on the west side of the stadium has been demolished. Construction will continue through the season in hopes the project will be finished by Aug. 31, 2013.
That means fans will have to adjust to a messy concourse. K-State will be opening up restrooms in Bramlage Coliseum and selling souvenirs out of a tent.
“With any kind of construction and forward progress you always need a little patience,” K-State athletic director John Currie said. “We ask folks to be just a little bit patient on the west side navigating the temporary fencing and platforms that we will have.”
Currie said K-State has raised more than $50 million of the $75 million needed for the project.
• Both Currie and K-State basketball coach Bruce Weber said the new basketball practice facility located east of Bramlage Coliseum is on schedule to open in early October.