MANHATTAN (TNS) — Kansas State offensive coordinator Andre Coleman can sum up his coaching style with one word — demanding.
"It is the little things that count," Coleman said Monday at K-State football media day. "If you are supposed to run a route 16 yards then I want it 16, not 14. If it's supposed to be at the bottom of the numbers I want you at the bottom of the numbers, not inside the numbers. All those little things, when you watch film, make the difference. I am a stickler for the little things."
Perhaps that explains why Coleman can effortlessly break down the fine details of formations and the play-making capabilities of his players while also struggling to describe big-picture issues like what his offense will look like compared to what fans grew accustomed to under former coordinator Dana Dimel, who is now the head coach at UTEP.
Coleman is a rookie coordinator who will call his first play next month when K-State takes on South Dakota. The day is fast approaching when he will sit high above the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and mold the Wildcats into his own image every time they possess the football.
He is ready. A former K-State receiver and assistant coach, he has long looked forward to this opportunity ... even if he's not yet capable of predicting how often the Wildcats run the ball and chuck it deep.
"We are going to do a lot of the same, but with a little bit of twist," Coleman said. "We aren't reinventing the wheel. My biggest thing is making the game simple for my players. It doesn't matter what we (coaches) know, it doesn't matter that we know it, it doesn't matter that the playbook is (six inches) thick and we know it. What matters is if our players know it. The biggest thing I have tried to do is simplify it so our guys can play fast. It's going to look complicated, but it should be simple."
So far, his "twist" is a hit with K-State players.
Ask junior running back Alex Barnes if he is excited to play for a new coordinator, and he reveals a huge smile.
"Absolutely, yeah," Barnes said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."
K-State right tackle Dalton Risner took things a step further. He might not know what to expect from Coleman on game day, but he knows Coleman will support his players with unrivaled energy. The entire team seems to have confidence in him.
"It's awesome to have a coach who has your back 110 percent and wants to win," Risner said. "That guy wants to win and he is super competitive. I think that is going to be our edge this year."
Coleman was promoted from receivers coach to offensive coordinator during the offseason, and he has spent much of his time since seeking input from players and fellow coaches on what K-State's offense should look like.
He says doesn't have an ego. He doesn't think anyone on K-State's new-look coaching staff, which features three new faces and four members in new roles, has an ego. That has led to a positive environment in which quarterbacks coach Collin Klein and offensive line coach Charlie Dickey are free to offer daily suggestions.
"My only mission is to win the game," Coleman said. "It doesn't matter where the idea comes from, as long as it's the best idea and it puts our young men in a position to win. That is the only thing I am worried about."
A year ago, K-State was one of the best rushing teams in the Big 12, ranking second in the conference with 198.8 rushing yards per game. It was also one of the worst passing teams in the league, ranking last at 173.8 yards per game.
Many have wondered if Coleman will seek a more balanced approach. Quarterback keepers were Dimel's calling card. Will Coleman also use them? As a former receiver, will he call more passes?
For now, all he says is he wants to get his best players on the field and K-State's roster features multiple quality running backs and quarterbacks.
"We will definitely run the quarterback," Coleman said. "I'm not going to say we are going to run him 30 times, but we are definitely going to run the quarterback."
And how does he plan on choosing between Alex Delton and Skylar Thompson, who remain deadlocked in a position battle after three practices? That remains uncertain, but Coleman is glad to have depth at quarterback, saying "it's a good position to be in."
He will have a better grasp on things when the season arrives. This job isn't something he envisioned a few months ago. He was too busy focusing on the little things. That's not going to change.