The Kansas State football team has been without one of its top defensive players this spring.
Will Geary, a senior who has made 30 career starts at defensive tackle, is not currently practicing and is spending time away from the Wildcats, special teams coordinator Sean Snyder said Tuesday while filling in for his father, head coach Bill Snyder, at a news conference.
“Will is working on a few things right now,” Sean Snyder said, “and hopefully things will work out and we will have him back.”
Geary is K-State’s top returning defensive lineman. He has been a First Team All-Big 12 selection in each of the past two seasons. Last year, he ranked ninth on the team with 45 tackles and third on the team with seven tackles for loss.
A former walk-on from Topeka, the 6-foot, 298-pounder has made 120 career tackles and is regarded as one of the strongest members of the team in the weight room.
K-State is hopeful Geary will regain his form and return as a full-time member of its defense next season, but his current absence is for unknown reasons.
It is not uncommon for K-State football players to be excused from spring practice if they are recovering from injuries or need a rest before the start of summer workouts, but those players usually attend practices and stay involved in other ways.
Sean Snyder said he didn’t feel comfortable sharing additional details about Geary’s status and referred further questions to Bill Snyder, who is scheduled to speak with media next week.
Bill Snyder skipped Tuesday’s news conference to meet with his medical team in Kansas City.
He was diagnosed with throat cancer in December and spent four months receiving treatment for it. His final treatment was in early March. He has been hard at work ever since.
Sean Snyder said there was no cause for concern with his father. His Tuesday appointments were of the follow-up variety.
“He is doing very well,” Sean Snyder said. “He has some appointments up in Kansas City today, so he is running in to do that. He has been in and out, but he has been at all the practices. He is doing well. Standard post treatment stuff is going on right now. He is moving in a positive direction.”
Bill Snyder spoke with media for the first time since the start of spring practices last week and is once again expected to take questions next week.
K-State has passed the midway mark of spring practices, which means coaches have seen plenty of scrimmages between the offense and defense.
So far, Sean Snyder likes what he sees.
“The competition is really strong right now,” he said. “The enthusiasm is good, all the way across the board. We can get better everywhere we are at, but with what has taken place in the scrimmages so far and the way guys are performing we don’t have a lot of mistakes taking place right now. That is a big plus.”
Making it official
Jon Fabris is back at Kansas State as an assistant football coach.
K-State hired Fabris to coach defensive ends on Tuesday. It’s the same position he held on Bill Snyder’s staff in 1997 and 98 when he coached former star Darren Howard.
He also has experience coaching at Indiana, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Washington State, Iowa State, Notre Dame and the Cleveland Browns.
“Jon is a quality person, dedicated husband and father, as well as a dedicated leader and teacher of young men,” Bill Snyder said in a statement. “He has a proven record here at Kansas State. He will again be an asset to our defense and to Sean with our special teams. I’m pleased to have him back with us.”
Fabris replaces Blake Seiler as a coach on K-State’s defensive line. Seiler has moved to linebackers, where he takes over for Mike Cox. Seiler will also take on some new responsibilities as the team’s assistant defensive coordinator under Tom Hayes.
“Blake has worked diligently with our defense these past four seasons and certainly helped develop several very productive players,” Bill Snyder said. “He has a broad and distinct understanding of our defense and will be a great asset to Tom Hayes in the development of our entire defense.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett