Posts Tagged ‘A.J. Klein’

Klein “ready to step up” as defensive leader

March 25, 2010

AMES — Iowa State’s defense is looking for some new leaders.

Sophomore linebacker A.J. Klein wants the job.

“I’m ready to step up,” Klein said Tuesday, the first day of spring practice for the Cyclones, who are replacing a half-dozen defensive starters and all three linebackers. “I want to be the leader.”

Klein, Jake Knott — who also got his feet wet last year playing some as a true freshman — and transfer Matt Taufoou sit atop the depth chart at this point in time.

Klein wants to fill the shoes of Jesse Smith, an emotional leader and one of the Cyclones’ top tacklers the past three seasons. Josh Raven and Fred Garrin, both starters, and backup Derec Schmidgall also have moved on.

“Jesse and Fred and Raven all helped us out a lot giving us pointers knowing it would be us next year,” Klein said. “There’s nobody else older around to teach us.”

Klein has a burning desire to follow in Smith’s footsteps as a defensive captain.

The 6-1, 237-pounder from Kimberly, Wis., wants to help call the shots.

“I know I’m going to be getting signals from the sideline but I always want to be the guy taking charge,” Klein said. “I want to make this a championship team. I want to be the leader of it.”

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Will we see Jerome Tiller on opening night?

September 1, 2009

Will Paul Rhoads take a cue from one of his former Big East Conference coaching rivals Thursday night during Iowa State’s season opener against North Dakota State?

Rhoads said this week he and his coaches are considering a similar approach to that of Boston College’s Tom O’Brien, who apparently used to put his backup quarterback in the game on the first series of the second quarter.

“That way that player always had snaps and he was always game-ready,” Rhoads said.

He also said starter Austen Arnaud and second-team quarterback Jerome Tiller could be on the field at the same time.

Tiller, a redshirt freshman from San Antonio, showed during ISU’s spring game he has all-around ability. It would be a shame to chain him to the sidelines.

Rhoads wasn’t giving away anything.

“It’s something we’ve talked about, but I have not set a detailed plan yet” he said.

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 As for the running back spot, starter Alexander Robinson and backup Jeremiah Schwartz will play.

After that, it’ll depend on how the game unfolds.

Schwartz, a 5-11, 232-pounder from Orlando, Fla., has leapfrogged Bo Williams as the second-team tailback. Williams was slowed a bit by an ankle sprain, but that wasn’t the reason for the switch from the pre-camp depth chart.

“It’s what Jeremiah Shcwar has done from an accountability and production standpoint,” Rhoads said. “He had a great second half of camp.”

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Add Beau Blankenship to the list of newcomers who coaches plan on playing this year.

The freshman running back from Norman, Okla., will play on special teams and could carry the ball if the score dictates.

He joins defensive back Jeremy Reeves, receiver Josh Lenz and linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott as the true freshmen who — as of now — will see action this season.