Posts Tagged ‘Austen Arnaud’

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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Arnaud, Stephens look fine in warm-ups

November 7, 2009

Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud and center Reggie Stephens look to be full go for today.

Both are participating in warm-ups and took snaps with the first-team offense prior to today’s game against No. 18 Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium.

Arnaud has missed the last two games because of a bruised right hand. Stephens had his appendix removed 10 days ago, but has been cleared medically and will play through any pain he’s got.

ISU has been hit hard by injuries this season.

Walking off the field with the team following warm-ups in street clothes were defensive back Ter’ran Benton (broken leg), defensive end Rashawn Parker (ACL tear) and receiver Darius Reynolds (broken ankle).

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 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.

A year later, KU collapse still haunts Cyclones

October 7, 2009

This week’s meeting with Kansas is bringing to the surface all the bad feelings Iowa State players have tried to bury since last year’s painful home loss.

Up 20-0 at half. All the momentum. Offense clicking. Defense forcing turnovers. Get the ball to start the second half.

Didn’t matter.

By the 4 1/2-minute mark of the third quarter, the suddenly unstoppable Jayhawks grabbed the lead for good and sucked the life right out of Jack Trice Stadium in what was the first of ISU’s eight Big 12 Conference losses.

Kansas 35, Iowa State 33.

“We didn’t change anything (at halftime),” said nose guard Nate Frere. “We just didn’t show up the second half. It’s one of those blunders that you can’t really explain.”

The Cyclones fought back in final minutes, scoring with 1:15 to play and recovering the onsides kick that followed. But they didn’t move the ball an inch. Austen Arnaud threw four straight incompletions and players and coaches were kicking themselves all the way back to the locker room.

Upset alert turned into an awfully good comeback win by quarterback Todd Reesing and KU.

“We knew they were going to come out and their coach was going to have them fired up,” said offensive lineman Ben Lamaak. “We didn’t step on their throat when we had the opportunity.”

There was a similarly empty feeling after last Saturday’s 24-23 loss to Kansas State at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. ISU had the lead, had chances to extend the lead, finished strong but could not make the plays necessary to win.

Last year’s conference-opening loss sent the Cyclones down the path to an 0-8 league finish.

They aren’t going to allow that to happen again, after last week’s gut-wrenching loss.

“Coach (Paul) Rhoads does a great job keeping everyone motivated and hungry,” Frere said. “It’s a different team that it has been in the past. You won’t see anyone give up, at all.”

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.

———————

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.

———————–

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.”

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.

Cyclone press day news and notes

September 8, 2009

Good news and bad news on the injury front. Receiver Sedrick Johnson was set to practice Monday and his tender ankle is expected to be healthy enough to play Saturday against Iowa.

Meanwhile, receiver Houston Jones isn’t likely to be in uniform. Jones was in a walking boot and crutches last Thursday for ISU’s season opener and his injured ankle probably will be too sore to play, Coach Paul Rhoads said.

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The Cyclones’ leading returning receiver from a year ago, sophomore Darius Darks, was in the lineup last week against North Dakota State but did not have a pass thrown his way.

Darks is recovering from a hamstring injury that limited his practice time preparing for the season.

“DD had a rough camp,” said his quarterback Austen Arnaud. “He’s almost 100 percent healthy. DD is going to help this team. He’s a great player. Before you know it he’s going to be 100 percent out there .”

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 The only changes on ISU’s depth chart from week one to week two came as a result of the academic issues of receiver Jason Carlson and offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks. The NCAA declared both players ineligible this season.

Both were backups.

Hicks’ replacement at left guard is true freshman Ethan Tuftee.

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He hasn’t checked them yet this week, but Rhoads is expecting the headsets to be working Saturday.

ISU went almost the entire first half against North Dakota State communicating from the press box to the sideline via cell phone. Hopefully that won’t be an issue. If it is, coaches will use walkie talkies or smoke signals or something.  

“We’ll have a different plan other than cell phones,” Rhoads said. “We won’t miss a beat, I promise you. We’ll be able to communicate in some form or fashion.”

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People kept telling Tom Herman he wouldn’t believe it till he saw it. After the first-year graduate assistant at Texas witnessed his first Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl, he couldn’t agree more. 

ISU’s offensive coordinator has that in mind this week for the state of Iowa’s most anticipated sporting event of the year. 

“Until you are there living it, you really can’t grasp it fully,” Herman said. ” I’m sure that’ll be the case on Saturday. I’m excited for it.”

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.

Practice makes perfect…hopefully

August 31, 2009

The Iowa State Cyclones are ready for some football.

At least their coach thinks so. Sort of.

The team went through a mock game last Thursday night under the lights at Jack Trice Stadium, exactly a week ahead of this Thursday’s season opener against North Dakota State.

Paul Rhoads put his team through nearly three hours of work. Routine — and some not so routine — situations they would face this week when the bullets start flying. Punt team, field goals, change of possession… any and every kind of game preparation that involves substituting on the go in a live situation.

“I wanted to go from A to Z on exacty what is going to take place,” Rhoads said. “I don’t like surprises when you can avoid them and we can avoid them.”

He was happy with the results. Unfortunately, the best laid plans don’t always go the way we hope.

“We’ve got it covered, but 18-, 19-, 20-year-old kids forget. They don’t always have the ability to focus all the way through,” he said. “Somebody that night is going to do this wrong or that wrong. That’s part of. That’s why you’ve got to repeat, repeat, repeat everything you are doing from a coaching standpoint.”

He’s got a few more days to drill his messages into players’ heads.

******

Captains for the season, which were decided by player voting, are as follows:

Offense – OL Reggie Stephens, QB Austen Arnaud

Defense – FS James Smith, DT Nate Frere

Special teams – LB Derec Schmidgall (kick coverage, holder)

All but Arnaud are seniors and will play an integral role in the fortunes of this year’s team.