Archive for Thursday, January 8, 2009

BLHS grad Douglas prepares to play for legendary coach

January 8, 2009

Throughout last football season, Kansas State redshirt freshman Ethan Douglas blocked the program’s best defensive lineman.

He locked arms and butted helmets with Ian Campbell, a standout Big 12 Conference defensive end for the Wildcats.

Sometimes the Basehor-Linwood native won; other times Campbell did.

“The first thing you feel like ‘I am not going to let him beat me, but if he does, he does, but I am going to give it my best,’” Douglas said.

Douglas learned a lot from the competitions, which he called battles and said were part of his acclimation to the K-State football program as a redshirt freshman.

“It makes you better, playing against those players. You don’t have a choice but to get better,” he said. “If you don’t get better, you don’t survive, basically.”

College football is played at a faster speed, with bigger players and playbooks to memorize. Douglas said he has put on muscle and is stronger. He is a better blocker and offensive lineman.

Other items are the same from high school. Douglas still wears No. 71 on his jersey like he did at Basehor-Linwood High School. He still takes a three-point stance and goes into a blocking motion when the ball is snapped. The objective is the same: Seal your block and keep the player off the quarterback’s back, or from making the tackle.

Douglas also experienced an in-season coaching change this season.

Midway through the season, following a loss to the University of Kansas, K-State athletics director Bob Krause announced that Ron Prince would be stepping down from coaching the program at the end of the season.

A few weeks later, former K-State coach Bill Snyder was named the team’s new coach once the season ended. Douglas said he liked playing for Prince, who recruited him to K-State and gave him a chance to play. He respected Prince, but also said that as a player, he is committed to playing at K-State and will do whatever the new coaches ask of him.

In short, he is excited about the future under Snyder, a legendary coach who brought the program from laughingstock status in the 1980s to a perennial Big 12 power in the late 1990s and early part of this decade. The phrase “greatest turnaround in college football history” is often linked to Snyder’s initial coaching tenure at K-State, and Douglas is excited to be part of the sequel.

“I think it is going to be great, honestly,” he said. “He is a great coach, always has been. He surrounds himself with great coaches. Any coaching changes, you have got to look at it that way.”

Douglas has met with Snyder individually.

“I was nervous about it going in and talking to a new coach, but once I got in there, it was not nerve-wracking at all. He made me feel right at home. We had a good conversation,” he said. The contents of the conversation were private, between a player and a coach, but Douglas is focused on preparing for next season and spring football.

“My goal is to get out there and play,” he said. “You want to be out there. That is one of my main goals, to get better over this offseason and earn a spot.”

In addition to football, he plans to study construction science and management and offers this bit of advice to any athletes who might be looking to play college football.

“If someone wants to play at the next level, just keep working at it. Don’t give up on your dreams, just work your tail of.; Don’t ever stop,” he said.

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