Speed kills, right?
Well, Coach Paul Rhoads’ players better improve theirs or they’ll be getting killed on the scoreboard this fall. Iowa State’s new head coach was refreshingly blunt when asked about his team’s speed — or lack thereof — last week, calling it “quite honestly, average.”
The Cyclones aren’t going to turn into track stars overnight or even in an offseason.
Rhoads and ISU’s coaching staff will be on the lookout for speed guys to add to the team from here on out. What he’s looking for in the short term, under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight, is for his guys to improve everything else in the way they move.
They’ve got another week-and-a-half of spring practice before the April 18 spring game.
By the time Rhoads sees them again come late July/early August, he’s confident ISU’s players will show mobility that is greatly improved.
“Going into August we’ll be a different football team than we are right now,” Rhoads said. “That’s when we’ll see the gains in quickness and body control, more so than in speed. The speed part has got to be recruited and added to your team that way. But the quickness, the change of direction, the body control… we can control and we can add to and working hard to every day.”
Upgrades are needed most on the defensive side of the ball, where the Cyclones allowed nearly 36 points a game and were dominated by Big 12 Conference opponents.
The linebacking core is slow and the safeties also could stand to move a little bit better, though Rhoads wants to see quickness gains at every position.
“The better they run, the better they fit,” he said. “It’s needed everywhere and we’ve got to develop it to a completely different level from where it exists now with our football team.”