April 23, 2006

Quarterback battle not settled in Spring Game

An announced attendance of 31,875 filled Bill Snyder Family Stadium. At least 30 former Kansas State football players recalled memories along the sideline, joked and shared tips with current players. Out on the asphalt parking lot, one Ferris wheel spun for nearly seven hours amid a Mardi Gras-type festival, while on the FieldTurf the $1 million question remained unsolved in the spring game Saturday evening heading into a heated summer.

"Is the quarterback position the $1 million question for the fall?" free safety Marcus Watts repeated, signing autographs afterward. "It will be for the media."

Exactamundo. That's a given, really, given the reality that neither Dylan Meier for the White team and the three-headed quarterback rotation for the Purple team - sophomore Allan Evridge, redshirt freshman Kevin Lopina and freshman mid-year signee Josh Freeman - pulled away from the pack. Oh, and then there's senior Allen Webb, whose 10 career starts are the most of the bunch, and whom, for one reason or another, barely took a snap in the previous 14 spring practices.

Webb completed 5-of-6 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown - a 47-yard bomb to Yamon Figurs that provided the difference in the White's 21-14 win. What did Webb show? Don't count anyone out of this race quite yet. Head Coach Ron Prince said earlier in the week he wanted to see who would perform under the lights. He didn't find four quarterback candidates. He found five eager to give it a go.

"I'm improving greatly," said Webb, whose offense scored twice on four drives. "All the quarterbacks are doing a good job. It's just going to be a competition going into the fall. It'll make everybody better."

Webb's exploits especially added spice to the race, given the fact he never took a snap under center during Saturday open practices. (Asked how many reps he took during spring, Webb replied, "I took a few…You would have to ask Coach Prince.") Webb hoped he helped answer some questions about his ability to handle the new West Coast offense despite its vanilla flavor in the spring game.

"I hope I did answer some. I hope I did," he said. "I just wanted to show the crowd what I can do and let everybody know I'm still in the competition."

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