Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Robinson’

Cyclone QB recruit about to join the “big time”

February 2, 2010

AMES – Playing in the Big 12 Conference has been a dream of quarterback Jared Barnett’s for as long as he can remember.

“That’s big time football,” Barnett said. “The Big 12 is where playmakers want to be.”

It’s where Barnett will call home starting next season once he officially accepts Iowa State’s scholarship offer Wednesday on college football’s national signing day. The Cyclones are expecting to add about 25 players to the roster.

Barnett is not the only member of his team — or family – joining one of college football’s most competitive conferences.

Three of his Garland (Texas) High School teammates also will sign with Big 12 schools.

Barnett’s cousin, Eryon, is a freshman defensive back at Texas. And Eryon Barnett’s younger brother is being pursued by Big 12 schools for next year’s recruiting class.

They all played on the same youth football teams growing up and remain close.

“(The Big 12) is kind of in our family,” said Barnett, who also had offers from Kansas State and Houston.

The 6-1, 200-pounder was the first member of ISU Coach Paul Rhoads’ first true recruiting class, and the only quarterback. Barnett gave his commitment way back in May.

“I love the offense,” he said. “It’s the same offense we run at my high school. It’s going to be an easy transition.”

Rated by Rivals.com as the 27th-best dual threat quarterback in the nation, Barnett passed for more than 2,100 yards as a senior and had 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions.

He also ran for almost 400 yards and six more scores.

Barnett almost surely will redshirt and be in the same position current Cyclone quarterback Jerome Tiller was in this past year.

Tiller, a redshirt freshman, was given the chance to win the starting job but lost out to veteran Austen Arnaud. Like Arnaud, he’ll be an experienced junior when Barnett realistically can compete for the spot.

“Let the best man win,” Barnett said. “That’s a very exciting position to fight for.”

He watched the Cyclones go 7-6 last season mainly behind the running of tailback Alexander Robinson. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman’s spread offense was more run heavy than most thought it would be.

“With a guy like Alexander Robinson it’s hard to not hand it off to him,” Barnett said. “I’m sure we’ll pick up the passing more as everybody gets more comfortable in the offense.”

Barnett’s University of Texas-bound teammates have teased him about the difference in talent between the Big 12’s South and North divisions.

“They are saying the North is weak,” Barnett said. “We’ll have to show ‘em.”

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Iowa State’s expected list of signees Wednesday

Jared Barnett, QB, 6-1, 190, Garland H.S., Garland, Texas

Adrian Bennett, DB, 6-2, 205, Klein Forest H.S., Houston, Texas

*Jon Caspers, OL, 6-5, 295, ND State College of Science, Wahpeton, N.D.

Shaban Dika, OL, 6-5, 295, Warren H.S., San Antonio, Texas

Tom Farnioik, OL, 6-3, 260, Washington H.S., Sioux Falls, S.D.

Jacob Gannon, OL, 6-6, 255, West H.S., Iowa City

Albert Gary, WR, 5-9, 195, Butler County CC, El Dorado, Kan.

Jeremiah George, LB, 5-10, 191, Clearwater H.S., Clearwater, Fla.

Durrell Givens, DB, 6-0, 195, Chaffey CC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Bob Graham, OL, 6-5, 280, Jenks H.S., Jenks, Okla.

Duran Hollis, RB, 6-1, 180, Polytechnic H.S., Fort Worth, Texas

*Ricky Howard, TE, 6-5, 255, Chaffey CC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Cqulin Hubert, LB, 6-1, 217, Eisenhower H.S., Houston, Texas

Brandon Jense, DT, 6-5, 260, Ankeny H.S., Ankeny

Shontrelle Johnson, RB, 5-10, 180, Deland H.S., Deland, Fla.

Nick Kron, DE, 6-2, 245, Valley H.S., West Des Moines

Ben Loth, OL, 6-5, 275, Crespi H.S., Encino, Calif.

Floyd Mattison, LB,  6-0, 190, Morton Ranch H.S., Katy, Texas

T.J. McCullough, ATH, 6-2, 180, North Marion H.S., Citra, Fla.

Clifford Morgan, DB, 6-2, 195, Frostproof H.S., Frostproof, Fla.

*Rony Nelson, DE, 6-2, 250, Yuba CC, Marysville, Calif.

Pierce Richardson, TE, 6-4, 230, Crespi H.S., Encino, Calif.

Matt Thomas, DB, 5-10, 175, Lancaster H.S., Lancaster, Texas

Kirby Van Der Kamp, K, 6-4, 180, Valley H.S., West Des Moines

Jarvis West, WR, 5-7, 165, Gibbs H.S., St. Petersburg, Fla.

*Anthony Young, DB, 5-9, 180, Palomar CC, Ontario, Calif.

Chris Young, WR, 5-11, 185, Trinity Valley CC, Athens, Texas

*already have signed letters of intent and are enrolled at ISU

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More insight into ISU’s Insight Bowl experience

January 1, 2010

TEMPE, Ariz. — Leftovers from the stat sheet and tape recorder that couldn’t make it into the newspaper following Iowa State’s 14-13 victory over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

It was the Cyclones’ first victory over the Golden Gophers since 1898. That doesn’t mean a lot since they’ve met just three times since 1924, but it’s a pretty good stat nonetheless.

— ISU furthered its reputation in the bowl community as a school who’ll bring fans in droves.

The entire lower bowl of its side of Sun Devil Stadium was full and sections of the stands in the upper decks were littered with fans wearing red. The Cyclones sold 8,300 tickets through their ticket office, more than four times what their opponents sold.

“That’s great when you compare it to Minnesota,” said ISU President Gregory Geoffroy. “I think we exceeded expectations of the bowl sponsors. The Insight Bowl folks are pleased. That’s important. That’s why we are here. They invited us back because of our fan support.”

An estimated 20,000 fans (more depending on who you ask) came to town for the 2000 Insight.com Bowl against Pittsburgh that was played at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.

— Tailback Alexander Robinson will enter his senior season in 2010 at No. 10 on the Cyclones’ career rushing list with 2,363 yards. His 137 yards against Minnesota gave him 1,195 this year, which is the 14th-best single-season mark in school history.

— Thursday night’s game tied for the second-lowest scoring game in the 21-year history of the Insight Bowl.

Over the last six years, only the  Hawaii Bowl has averaged more total points (85.0) than the Insight’s 79.2. 

— ISU improved to 3-7 all-time in bowl games. Two of the victories have been in this bowl.

Minnesota is 5-9 in bowls. The Gophers have suffered four straight losses, three coming in the Insight Bowl to Texas Tech, Kansas and now ISU.

— The final question of Iowa State’s postgame news conference was an odd one. A reporter asked Coach Paul Rhoads about the fate of Big 12 coaches who have beaten Minnesota in the Insight Bowl — Mark Mangino at Kansas and Texas Tech’s Mike Leach. Both were fired in the month of December.

“On a lighter note…how do you feel about your luck going into the offseason?” the reporter asked.

“You describe that as a lighter note?” an amused Rhoads shot back.

— Next season the Insight Bowl gets the fourth selection from the Big 12 and the fifth from the Big Ten.

This year it had the fifth pick among Big 12 Conference teams, and drew criticism from many for picking ISU over Missouri, a team that had two more regular-season victories and a head-to-head edge over the Cyclones.

The Tigers were blown out by Navy, 35-13, earlier Thursday in the Texas Bowl.

— Game time temperature: 63 degrees. Gotta love being in Arizona in December.

Bowl game the last for RB Schwartz?

December 13, 2009

Reserve running back Jeremiah Schwartz may not be long for Iowa State’s football team.

Coach Paul Rhoads said Saturday the 5-11, 232-pound redshirt freshman is considering leaving the program after the Dec. 31 Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. Schwartz may leave school before the start of the next semester, Rhoads said, but for now is preparing for Minnesota like the rest of his teammates. 

“He is practicing and will be with us for the bowl game,” Rhoads said.

Schwartz, from Orlando, Fla., is the team’s third-leading rusher with 274 yards or 71 attempts.

He has not played the last four games and is among a crowded group of tailbacks that includes junior Alexander Robinson, freshmen Beau Blankenship and James White as well as sophomore Bo Williams.

Arnaud, A-Rob expecting to play vs. Nebraska

October 19, 2009

Quarterback Austen Arnaud and tailback Alexander Robinson are expected to be ready for Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. game at Nebraska, the players said Monday.

Arnaud bruised his throwing hand four plays into last week’s 24-10 victory over Baylor after banging it on the helmet of a Bears defensive lineman following through on a pass.

He played the rest of the first half and one series after halftime before giving way to backup Jerome Tiller.

Arnaud did not practice Sunday but said he would play against the Huskers.

“No doubt,” he said.

Robinson’s status is not as clear cut. The junior tailback re-aggravated his strained groin muscle in the third quarter against Baylor and did not return.

He arrived Monday in front of reporters walking with a limp. ISU coaches and trainers won’t get a feel for how effective Robinson can play until late in the week.

When asked if he’ll play Saturday he said emphatically, “Yes.”

“I’m sore but it’s getting better,” Robinson said. “We are going to take it day by day and I’m going to keep thinking positively.”

ISU vs. Nebraska — something’s gotta give

October 18, 2009

Iowa State’s confidence is growing.

Nebraska’s patience is growing thinner.

Something’s got to give Saturday in Lincoln, Neb., when the teams hook up for an 11:30 a.m. game.

The Cyclones (4-3, 1-2 Big12) are coming off their most decisive Big 12 Conference victory since 2005 with their 24-10 win over Baylor at Jack Trice Stadium.

The Cornhuskers (4-2, 1-1) were embarassed in a 31-10 home loss to Texas Tech.  They came into the weekend ranked 15th nationally. They were dropped like a bad habit by the pollsters Sunday. 

ISU coach Paul Rhoads is as upbeat about his team as he’s been all season.

Nebraska’s Bo Pelini sounds like he’s on edge. His quarterback play is questionable, his defenders were awarded the coveted Blackshirts and didn’t live up to their end of the bargain.

Both teams have injury concerns with their top tailbacks.

Alexander Robinson has — at worst — a sore groin that forced him to the sideline for almost the entire second half of the Baylor game.

NU’s Roy Helu, who came into the week as the league’s top ground gainer, is nursing a sore shoulder that’s been painful for weeks now.

Should be an interesting week leading up to the game. And as we’ve seen thus far through a couple of weeks, the Big 12’s North Division is completely wacky and unpredictable.

ISU hasn’t won in Lincoln in more than 30 years.

Who’s to say it can’t happen Saturday?

Cyclones wearing sweats? Not anymore

October 14, 2009

No more sweatpants or warm-up pants will be worn by Iowa State players on game day.

That edict came from Coach Paul Rhoads this week after his specialists spent much of last Saturday’s game at Kansas wearing sweats on the sideline. The temperature at kickoff was 38 degrees with a steady wind at 10 to 15 mph.

Rhoads is probably overreacting a smidge, but it didn’t help that kicker Grant Mahoney blew two PATs and the Cyclones nearly had a punt blocked because of a weak snap and a bobble by punter Mike Brandtner.

Here’s how Rhoads explained it:

“They were trying to keep their legs warm, I guess. I can find other ways for them to do that… There were about 65 or 64 other players that seemed to be playing all right without sweatpants, so I figure they can too.”

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In other news from the bench/sideline area, tailback Alexander Robinson will continue pedaling away on a stationary bike between offensive series, probably for the remainder of ISU’s games.

Robinson’s injured groin needs to stay warm if he wants to play a full game.

“It’s just a matter of keeping it loose,” Rhoads said. “The biggest fear with that groin now that he’s healed to the point he is, is it tightening up.”

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Last week’s breakthrough performance against Kansas was a long time coming for ISU’s no-huddle, spread offense.

Fans probably expected a little too much, too soon for this unit. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman directed record-setting outfits in his two seasons at Rice, last year finishing in the top 10 nationally in total offense (472.3 ypg), passing offense (327.8 ypg) and scoring offense (41.6 ppg).

Those numbers weren’t going to translate overnight.

“The offense has been behind some things in its growth and I think that’s because of expectations put on what the offense is and the numbers that the offense coached by Tom put up a year ago,” Rhoads said. “Everybody expects that just to be automatic. We are growing it, we are learning it, we are getting it and (Saturday) we executed it pretty good.”

ISU football: Taking the good with the bad

October 12, 2009

So, Cyclone fans, how does the 41-36 loss to No. 16 Kansas make you feel about how the rest of the season will play out?

Optimistic that three more wins — and bowl eligibility — still are out there? Or wondering if this team will ever win a close game?

There’s reasons to feel both ways, depending on which side of the ball you’re talking about:

— Alexander Robinson is a flat-out gamer who isn’t lightning fast or especially powerful, but he just churns out yards and touchdowns every time he’s on the field. Injured or healthy, it doesn’t matter.

— Austen Arnaud finally looked like the quarterback we saw much of last year. He threw some great balls and continued to run with authority.

— Jake Williams (seven), Darius Darks (five) and Derrick Catlett (five) each had season-high reception totals. That’s especially noteworthy for Darks, who’d caught just two passes all season coming into the game. He needs to get the ball in his hands that many times, if not more.

— Where is the pass rush? And on the rare occasion when a linemen gets close to the quarterback, the defender can’t grab a hold of him.

— Not sure if the secondary has gotten any better than last year’s debacle. Kansas’ passing game is awfully good, but the Cyclones had no answer defensively. How many passes does Kerry Meier have to catch before you cover him in the end zone on the game’s decisive drive?  

— Grant Mahoney is strong-minded, confident and will recover from the yips that have plagued him the last two weeks. Iowa State has had kicker problems in years past, but Mahoney is different.

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.”

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.