With students screaming around him and music inside Hilton Coliseum blaring, new Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads spoke briefly with reporters Saturday afternoon at halftime of the Cyclone men’s basketball game with Kansas.
Rhoads and the coaches he’s publicly acknowledged hiring (word on the street is his staff is complete) were entertaining about a dozen recruits.
It was the first of only two chances ISU will have — next Saturday’s game with Big 12 leader Oklahoma is the other — before signing day on Feb. 4 to show the place off.
Through no fault of his own, Rhoads is way behind in the recruting game. He was hired a couple of days before Christmas and should be awarded some kind of lifetime achievement award for multi-tasking.
He needs all the help he can get to piece together a respectable class.
“Any time you can bring them into an environment and atmosphere like this, they know what they are going to get to play in front of,” Rhoads said. “The No. 1 priority from day one has been this recruiting class.”
He said the response on the recruiting trail has been overly positive.
Same goes for the current group of Cyclones, who have begun winter workouts preparing for the 2009 season. Who will stay and who will go?
“Judging by how they are working and how they are talking theyare excited,” Rhoads said. “They’d like to put the pads on tomorrow.
“We’ve had a tremendous week in the weight room and with conditioning. They are a very, very hungry group. It is a group that cares about winning and cares about doing the right thing all the time.”
I’ll see Rhoads’ office next Tuesday for the first time. I’m expecting to see a lot boxes still unpacked and a stack of papers and folders on his desk.
He said Saturday he had to ask an airplane worker what city they were in after their plane touched down.
“Settled? Are you kidding me?” Rhoads answered with a smile. “It’s been a wild ride and a ride I’ve enjoyed every single second of so far.”