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Slate: Skylar Thompson a Johnny Unitas award candidate

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Also, Bruce Weber wants to play faster? What mad break from reality is this?

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Iowa State
Will Skylar Thompson’s experience elevate the Wildcats in Coach Klieman’s first year on the sidelines?
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

With a mere twelve days until kickoff, the news is almost—almost—all football. But a suggestion of a different kind of hoops product made the news wire, as well.

Football

BracketCat can see the finish line now. First, he played a little catch-up with #19 (-7), Samuel Wheeler. Also sporting #19 is Kansas City sophomore defensive back Ross Elder. Number 12 belongs to a key component of the defensive backfield, junior AJ Parker.

Returning starters often find themselves on preseason award watch lists, and Skylar Thompson made a quarterback-centric one yesterday as a preliminary candidate for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Thompson joins an illustrious group of K-State alumni to make the list, including Chad May (1994), Michael Bishop (1998), Jake Waters (2014), and Collin Klein, who won the award in 2012.

Ryan Black from the Mercury watched practice Monday and published his observations. Cliff’s notes: Reggie Walker, Bronson Massey and Tre Eaton were back in pads as full participants. Chris Herron—who was recruited as a quarterback—continues to work with the receivers. Then there’s some stuff about the musical background, Blake Lynch’s new fashion accessories, and Sean Snyder (again) arriving fashionably late, if the peripheral stuff is your jam.

Opportunity abounds at the running back position, and a host of candidates aspire to the position. According to Corbin McGuire, all of them embrace the competition while metaphorically embracing each other, as well.

Basketball

For subscribers to The Athletic, CJ Moore comments in his “State of the Hoops Program” series on Coach Weber’s mission to build an identity on this year’s basketball team after the departure of Dean Wade, Barry Brown, and Kamau Stokes. “If you don’t want to hear about those guys,” he told the current squad, “do something about it.” Though it may be only typical off-season coach speak, Weber says playing faster—“pushing the basketball,” as he puts it—will be a point of emphasis. Easy baskets will be key for a team that historically has not shot the basketball particularly well, though Cartier Diarra is trying to remedy the outside shooting deficiencies, putting up twice as many practice shots as any other Wildcat during the summer.

On the women’s side of the practice facility, senior Peyton Williams reflected on her Pan American Games experience, comparing the grueling two-a-day practice schedule to her freshman year at K-State, when she first worked at both volleyball and basketball simultaneously.