August 12, 2007

Practice notes: Cats invade Olathe

Ron Prince brought the team, the Kansas City area furnished the purple and Mother Nature brought the heat. In front of more than 6,000 spectators that braved 100-degree temperatures at the College Boulevard Activities Center, the Wildcats conducted a two-hour practice Saturday that revealed some strengths and weaknesses in the squad that was just 20 days from its season opener.

"We've got a lot of things to work on," Prince said, "that's for sure."

But from a public relations standpoint, K-State's first known public practice outside of Manhattan in recent history couldn't have been a bigger hit. No fewer than nine players on the 105-man roster are from the Kansas City area. The event, spawned by university President Jon Wefald, drew tailgaters hours before the 2 p.m. practice and fans lined the gates for autographs until Prince headed into the locker room an hour-or-so after the event.

"What we're trying to do from a university-wide level is have a lot of exposure in Kansas City," Prince said. "That's something that's been in the plans for a while once we really started to understand what Dr. Wefald and a lot of the people up here in Olathe were trying to get done. We wanted to see how we could contribute. Kansas City has been a priority of ours in recruiting since we've been here. Our coaches have done a good job working and coaches in this area are terrific and have been really cooperative. We'd like to do even more.

"I wouldn't say that our work here is done."

Same goes for a team comes off a 7-6 record and a bowl appearance in Prince's first season, enters 2007 projected to finish No. 3 in the North by the Big 12 area media, and will travel to face No. 14 Auburn on Sept. 1.

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