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Remembering Bob Elliott

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Also, Ertz and Reed named to preseason watch lists

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas Christian Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

We begin a new week here with some sad news. Bob Elliott, former defensive coordinator at Kansas State, lost his battle with cancer on Saturday night. He was 64 years old.

Elliott served as defensive coordinator for the Wildcats from 2002 to 2005. Among the purple faithful, he will be remembered as the coordinator who helped the Wildcats to their first-ever Big 12 title in 2003.

Although co-coordinator Bret Bielema’s light shone more brightly in those days, Elliott’s defenses were ball-seeking, run-stopping machines. The 2002 unit was the best in the nation in scoring defense and second in total defense and against the run.

Bill Snyder’s association with Elliott goes back to Snyder’s stint as an assistant at Iowa when Bob’s father Bump was the athletic director. Snyder went on to say that he was “deeply saddened, as are the football programs here and at the University of Iowa where I first worked with him,” and described Elliott as “a wonderful and caring person, family man, coach and friend.”

When Elliott first discovered he had a rare condition called polycythemia vera, he was actually in line to take over as head coach at Iowa following Hayden Fry’s impending retirement. The diagnosis put career advancement on the back burner and Elliott retired from coaching. But he resurfaced at Iowa State, found his way to Kansas State, and even a dream job at Notre Dame. Most recently, he was the safeties coach at Nebraska under Mike Riley.

His 38-year coaching career included a number of stops, but his longest stint was at Iowa, and the school paid him proper tribute:

In happier news, quarterback Jesse Ertz and defensive back D.J. Reed were named to the 2017 Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award preseason watchlists respectively.

Ertz is the first player named to the Maxwell preseason list since Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett in 2014. Reed is the latest in a string of six consecutive seasons when at least one Kansas State player has been mentioned for the Bednarik Award in the preseason.