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Friday Afternoon Sports Columnist

I can't speak for all other bloggers, but a lot of why I do this is because I imagine myself a sports columnist (Jim Murray is my writing hero).  That, and I found I missed doing the work my undergraduate education taught me to do.

Anyway, on to my topic.  I don't know if it's a little football-fever or something that makes us crazy as the season approaches, but to hear some people tell it, K-State has about as much chance of having a successful season as I do of porking Marisa Miller.


Gratuitous Marisa Miller image courtesy SI.com

No argument from me, the last week has left us with some concerns.  Josh Freeman completed zero throws in last week's scrimmage.  Ron Prince allegedly made the offensive assistants run stairs (the story only says they ran stairs, not that Prince ordered them to).  The line apparently isn't coming together.  Probable starting nose tackle Alphonso (Junior) Moran left the team.  Backup offensive lineman Derek Meyer quit the team.  Rashaad Norwood, the second-leading receiver from last year, pushed a girl, ran from a cop (unsuccessfully) and then proved his intelligence by returning to the scene of the crime for a second trip to the clink.

And yet, I think we need to step back and remember one simple fact: our first game of the year does not begin for another eight days.

That's right, folks.  In a little more than a week on the plains of Auburn, Ala., Ron Prince is going to take the players on his team into Jordan-Hare Stadium and take on the Auburn Tigers.  Maybe we'll win, maybe we'll lose, but I will guarantee they show up.  Maybe then, after the first game, we can start to make some intelligent prognostications about the upcoming season.

I wish I could count the number of times before a golf tournament when I hit every shot perfect on the driving range and then went out on the course and shot 78.  Or the number of times I've seen a basketball player make every three-pointer in warm-ups, only to take the court and go 2-for-12 from beyond the arc.  Would I prefer good practices?  Of course, it's better than the alternative, but a few bad practices don't guarantee poor performance.

Yes, Josh Freeman had trouble throwing in the open practice last Saturday.  Guess what?  It was a practice.  The best quarterbacks in the NFL, college and high school have bad days.  He just happened to have one on a day when the whole world was allowed in to watch practice.  Who knows, even the mighty Sam Keller may have had a bad practice up in Lincoln this fall, but we'll never know because Bill Callahan has a tighter grip on practice access than Mussolini on Italy's press.  I've seen enough of Josh Freeman to know he'll have some good days and he'll have some bad ones.  With a year in the system under his belt there's certainly hope he'll have fewer bad days this time around.

As for Moran, his loss hurts, no two ways about it.  He was a proven commodity in the middle, not to mention a big body.  But Steven Cline made seven starts and 13 appearances last year.  He's not exactly a newcomer to this Division I-A college football thing.

It would be nice to have Derek Meyer on the team, but he wasn't the returning anchor of our offensive line.  He's never started a game at K-State.  As thin as we are and as many struggles as we had last year, it would be nice to have another guy for depth and competition.  But even without Meyer, we're still going to show up at Auburn next week and give it a go.

I'm also not yet convinced that this whole "assistants running stairs" thing is evidence of Prince's tyranny.  Maybe it was done as punishment.  If so, I'm on record as saying that's an exceptionally odd way of handling things, and not the best way to handle the situation.  But the scribes in the stadium didn't have any better access than anyone else.  It may be an internal thing with the coaches about accountability.

Finally, we're hardly the only team with questions coming into next week.  Even our opponent on September 1 has some issues with injuries.  The Tigers have suffered injuries to receivers, running backs and backup quarterbacks, not to mention some less than satisfactory practices.

They're still going to show up on September 1.  The Cats will be there to meet them.