Archive for September, 2009

More bad news for ISU: Reynolds out with broken leg

September 30, 2009

Iowa State officials have confirmed receiver Darius Reynolds suffered a broken bone in his leg Tuesday during practice.

Reynolds, a junior college transfer from Reedley (Calif.) Community College, will be examined today by a specialist. Coach Paul Rhoads is expected to address the injury after practice tonight.

Reynolds, a junior, will miss significant time and could become the second Cyclone starter this week to be declared out for the rest of the season. Defensive end Rashawn Parker tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during last Saturday’s win over Army.

Reynolds is ISU’s second-leading pass catcher with 13 receptions for 72 yards.

He has been a non-factor, however, the last two weeks, being held without a catch.

Parker will miss season; A-Rob sits out practice

September 30, 2009

AMES — Iowa State defensive end Rashawn Parker will miss the rest of the season with torn ligaments in his left knee, Coach Paul Rhoads said after the team’s practice Tuesday night.

An MRI Monday confirmed the injury to Parker’s anterior cruciate ligament, sustained early in ISU’s 31-10 victory over Army last Saturday. Parker, a senior, had started 28 straight games and has been a fixture on the Cyclone defense since 2006 when he started as a true freshman.

Athletic officials will petition the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility. Parker still has a redshirt year available.

“We’ll put an appeal together and see what the NCAA says about it,” Rhoads said.

Injured tailback Alexander Robinson was held out of Tuesday’s drills but still is expected to play Saturday against Kansas State.

Robinson, the Big 12 Conference’s second-leading rusher at 113.8 yards a game, strained a groin muscle on a touchdown catch late in the game with Army. The Cyclones can ill-afford to lose their top offensive player for any length of time.

“(Trainers) wanted to get him a little bit extra pool work early in the week,” Rhoads said, “but towards the end of practice I looked over and saw he came running through the gate to join us. I think that’s a pretty good sign.”

Iowa State football odds and ends

September 29, 2009

Iowa State is tied with 10 teams nationally with just two sacks allowed this season.

Part of that is quarterback Austen Arnaud getting rid of the ball in a timely fashion and not holding onto it. Another is the five big guys protecting him.  

“Our offensive line is talented and they are getting better as the season goes along,” Coach Paul Rhoads said.

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The Cyclones’ next best national rank: Net punting.

ISU is 5th in that category with an average of 42.5 yards per attempt.

Punter Mike Brandtner would credit a lot of that to his hairdo, which is getting lengthy, to say the least.  Rhoads teased the senior about that, and his facial hair.

“Not getting a haircut. I’m letting it all go right now,” Brandtner said.

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Arnaud was impressed by Brett Favre’s touchdown pass with :02 seconds to play that gave his beloved Minnesota Vikings the victory and a 3-0 start.

“Big throw yesterday,” Arnaud said.

He hasn’t always liked Favre, despite what some think about his choice to wear No. 4, Favre’s number with the Green Bay Packers for all those years.

Ames High coach Bruce Vertanen give No. 4 to Arnaud.

“It was either 4 or 13 or something. I didn’t want 13. Everyone thinks I’m a big Brett Favre guy but I’m not.

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Emptying the notebook still from the weekend. Here is this nugget from Rhoads at the end of his postgame news conference when asked about Kennard Banks and the other two Cyclones suspended — then reinstated — after a search of their apartment uncovered marijuana residue and seeds.

Banks started at cornerback against Army and is listed No. 1 again on ISU’s depth chart this week. The three have preliminary hearings set for Oct. 5.

Rhoads:  “I’m not going to comment any further on that or give you any more information. I will say this about our football team and our players, I take everything from a discipline standpoint very seriously, whether it is a missed class, a missed study hall, or more seriously something that involves the police and law enforcement. I’m always going to do that.

“That being said, I’m disappointed that some people have pre-judged in this instance without knowing all of the information.”

Barnes will make his college pick early

September 25, 2009

Ames star basketball player Harrison Barnes says he will make his remaining official visits over the next month — in addition to an unofficial visit to hometown school on Nov. 6-7 — and decide on a school during the early-signing period.

Barnes released a statement Thursday night with his October schedule.

The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2010, according to several scouting services, will visit schools in this order:

— Oklahoma (Oct. 2, 3)

— UCLA (Oct. 9, 10)

— Kansas (Oct. 16, 17)

— Duke (Oct. 23, 24)

Barnes already made an official visit this month to North Carolina. He’ll make an unofficial visit to Iowa State on Nov. 6th and 7th, when the Cyclone football team plays host to Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium.

Barnes initially considered delaying his decision until the spring signing period, after his senior season at Ames High is finished. The star recruit has since changed his tune.

Here is part of Barnes’ statement:

“I credit my previous unofficial visits for equipping me in making this process manageable. Initially not knowing what to expect while orchestrating the in-home and official visit schedules I didn’t want to confine myself into making a fall decision without having adequate time to process all the information.

“As a result of this portion in the recruiting process being so positive and reaffirming, I’m feeling confident what I once thought would be a regular signing-period decision now will be an early signing-period decision. It has been humbling to see the support the six programs have shown me over the last year.”

What does this all mean for Iowa State’s chances of landing the hometown kid?

Hard to say, though we do know this, the Cyclones will have the last in-person shot at convincing him.

D-Rob a candidate for Army hoops job?

September 24, 2009

Second-year Iowa State assistant coach Daniyal Robinson apparently is under consideration for the vacant head coaching job at Army, according to a online report from the Times Herald-Record in upstate New York.

Robinson was an assistant coach at Illinois State from 2003-07 and at Arkansas-Little Rock for the 2007-08 season before coming to ISU.

Army fired coach Jim Crews Thursday morning. Crews leaves the school with an overall record of 60-139 (.302) and a 22-76 mark in Patriot League play. The Black Knights have not had a winning season since 1984-85. 

The newspaper suggests Army officials are looking for minority candidtate to replace Crews. Robinson and former ISU assistant Fred Quartlebaum, now at St. John’s, are among those being looked at.

Losing Robinson would be a big blow to the Cyclones’ recruiting efforts, particularly in the state of Illinois.

D-Rob helped lure Chicago-area point guard Chris Colvin to Ames and was hoping to convince more from that area to head west and play at ISU.

Ironically, Iowa State plays Army’s football team Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium. Army Athletic Director Kevin Anderson surely will be making the trip to Ames and would have the perfect opportunity to meet with Robinson.

Robinson’s age is not listed in the team’s media guide, but his biography suggests he is in his early 30s.

Important night for Iowa State football

September 19, 2009

Tonight is the night we’ll see if there’s something to this Iowa State squad.

Will the Cyclones (1-1) pounce on a depleted Kent State squad that wasn’t that good to begin with? Or will they continue to play terribly away from Jack Trice Stadium and extend college football’s longest road losing streak to a whopping 18 games?

Quarterback Austen Arnaud can’t throw four picks this week. Or even two.

The defense has to put some pressure on Golden Flashes true freshman quarterback Spencer Keith, who is making his first career start. He’ll be without the team’s top offensive player, tailback Eugene Jarvis, because of a season-ending injury.

ISU was a road favorite the last time it visited a Mid-American Conference venue, going into Toledo in 2007 as 3-point favorites.

A 35-24 lead with 5:25 to play turned into a 36-35 loss as the Cyclones choked the game away with horrific special teams plays.

Bottom line, there’s no reason Iowa State should not win this game. It’s been a while since anyone could say that about a Cyclone road contest, but it holds true today.

Beat Kent State, come home next week and beat Army and the Cyclones are 3-1 heading into Big 12 play.

Gotta take care of business tonight. I wouldn’t want to see these players faces and get their reactions if they don’t. This is a must-win for Coach Paul Rhoads’ rebuilding plan.

Cyclones are road favorites?!?

September 16, 2009

Apparently 17 straight losses on opponents’ home field hasn’t deterred oddsmakers from considering Iowa State the favorite to win Saturday night’s game at Kent State.

The Cyclones are 3-point favorites as of this morning. 

“How bout that?” Coach Paul Rhoads responded Tuesday night when told of that fact. “We’ll take it.”

When the last time ISU has been a road favorite? It’s been quite a while.

With Kent State’s quarterback situation unresolved — to say the least — and top tailback Eugene Jarvis out for the year now, the Golden Flashes are ripe for the picking.

Rhoads: No regrets in trying onsider

September 13, 2009

We know how it turned out, but what is the feeling from Iowa State fans on yesterday’s game-turning onsides kick?

Gutsy or foolish?

Leading 3-0 and playing well defensively against a shaky Ricky Stanzi, Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads rolled the dice. Iowa recovered at ISU’s 41-yard line. Four plays later Stanzi hit fullback Brett Morse for a 1-yard touchdown.

The Hawkeyes never looked back.

So why give a struggling offense a short field when you could continue playing the field position game and trust your defense? Is it worth the risk? Rhoads felt so, and said post-game he had his mind set on trying the onsider as early as Thursday.

“There’s a right time and a wrong time — whether you are successful or not — to run those types of plays,” said ISU’s first-year coach. “That was the right time.

“There was some holes on their kickoff return team…that we knew we could take advantage of if we executed properly. I’d do it again without hesitation.”

It’s a move that’ll be second-guessed by many, just not the head coach.

Who’ll be ISU’s impact players today?

September 12, 2009

Expect receivers Sedrick Johnson and Darius Reynolds to play big roles. The Cyclones are going to put the ball in the air quite a bit today and these guys figure to see it often.

Iowa doesn’t give up many big plays, so it won’t be with down the field throws, but Reynolds can work the short routes well and Johnson is a big target who’ll work well close to the goal line.

Defensively,  lineabcker Jesse Smith is going to have a chance to make a lot of plays. The senior from Altoona will be playing his final Iowa-ISU game and never has needed motivation to get out on the field and hit somebody. 

And remember those three field goals Grant Mahoney missed a year ago? He’s got it in his mind to atone for those misfires. He blasted a 50-yarder last week and was just short on a 57-yarder.  If it comes down to a game-winning kick, he’ll be ready.

Kickoff is less than 10 minutes away.

Enjoy the game everybody.

The calm before the storm…

September 11, 2009

AMES — I drove up University Boulevard this afternoon to get a feel for how early folks are getting into place for the state’s biggest annual sporting event.

The RV and bus lots were beginning to fill up by around 2:30 p.m. Some fans already were hunkering down in their lawn chairs outside their vehicle, with a cold beverage in hand I presume.

There’s always a unique and special feeling, for me, on home football Fridays. I like driving around town seeing how others are preparing for the game, and the overall revelry of the start of the weekend.  

Students — and some recent graduates and other 20-somethings — will be lining S. 16th Street later Friday evening to secure a spot in the grass lots near Jack Trice Stadium that open at 5 a.m. Some will set up tents. Others will sleep in their car. A few will turn it into an all-nighter and never close their eyes.

The scene for tomorrow’s Iowa-Iowa State game will be grand. It always is here.

There’s talk of a record crowd entering JTS. There is no real capacity since there no way to quantify how many people fit on the hillsides at each of the four corners of the stadium.

The current record is 56,795 set two years ago in the season opener against Northern Iowa.

The biggest crowd for an ISU-Iowa game came in 1991 when the tally was 54,469.

What does all this mean? The morale of the story?

Get to where you are going early, early, early. And don’t dilly-dally outside the stadium for too long when kickoff nears.  Get in your seats early and avoid the bottneck at the gate.

And have fun.