Posts Tagged ‘Matt Taufoou’

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.”

Ash leaves Ames, Parker a go for 2010

February 4, 2010

AMES — Let’s start with the good news…

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said Wednesday that five players who sought medical hardship waivers from the NCAA will gain back that season of eligibility.

The list includes defensive end Rashawn Parker, receiver Darius Reynolds, defensive back Earl Brooks, linebacker Matt Taufoou and offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks.

“From what I understand everybody’s been approved,” Rhoads said.

Parker and Reynolds are the biggies. ISU’s young and undersized defensive line will welcome Parker, a senior last season who blew out his knee in the Army game, with open arms.

Reynolds broke a bone in his leg after just three games and needed surgery. He participated in bowl practices and will be at full strength when spring ball starts up next month.

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The bad news, for ISU at least…

Defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Chris Ash has joined the staff at Wisconsin, leaving a significant hole for Rhoads to fill.

Ash spent eight of the last 10 years coaching at ISU, knew the program inside and out and was able to use that to his advantage on the recruiting trail. The guy was a pretty good coach, too.

“He brings great knowledge and tremendous experience,” Badgers coach Bret Bielema said. “I’ve known Chris for a long time and his familiarity not only with our staff but with our schemes will help in what I think will be a seamless transition for him and the rest of our coaches.”

Ash, who coached at San Diego State in between stints at ISU, joins former Drake colleague Dave Doeren and Charlie Partridge in Madison. The Ottumwa native will again coach defensive backs.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work at a wonderful university like Wisconsin and with a football program with such a great history of success,” Ash said.

Don’t underestimate the impact this move could have on the Cyclones.

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Now, for some news that could either be good or bad…

The aforementioned Hicks and receiver Jason Carlson have been suspended from school for academic reasons and will need to re-enroll following the spring semester.

Hicks has been only a special teams guy so far. Carlson hasn’t hardly been on the field in his two seasons since transferring from North Dakota College of Sciences.

Hicks will be a junior and Carlson a senior.

“I fully expect Hayworth back,” Rhoads said. “I don’t know what Jason’s intentions are.”

Rhoads on Reynolds, Houston Jones, player suspensions

October 1, 2009

AMES – Make that two Iowa State starters lost for the season this week with Wednesday’s news that receiver Darius Reynolds broke a bone in right leg on a non-contact practice play.

Reynolds suffered a fibula fracture at the ankle. He is scheduled for surgery Friday.

The junior college transfer was ISU’s second-leading pass catcher, with 13 receptions for 72 yards. Reynolds had been nursing a leg injury the last couple of weeks and did not have a catch the last two games.

He’d shown some promise when healthy. Fortunately, Rhoads said, wideout is a position where the Cyclones have depth.      

“We really don’t have gamebreakers, and Darius is one of those who was capable of being a game-breaker,” Rhoads said after practice Wednesday night. “That we’ll miss. He had not shown it yet, but he certainly showed it to us during preseason camp.”

Reynolds went up for a twisting catch, planted his feet to make a move upfield and the ankle snapped, Rhoads said.

ISU will submit paperwork to the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility.

Same goes for Rashawn Parker, ISU’s senior defensive end who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last Saturday against Army. Rhoads said both cases appear favorable.

“We are going to get an opportunity for both Darius and Rashawn to redshirt,” he said.

Just as he was about ready to play again, senior receiver Houston Jones had another setback with his injured ankle.

Jones, who has not yet played after catching 32 passes for 384 yards last season, went through warm-ups before the Army game and would have been available for Saturday’s Big 12 Conference opener against Kansas State at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Rhoads did not say how severely Jones appeared to be hurt.

“It sort of rolled on him,” he said.

               

SUSPENSIONS OVER. All of Iowa State’s players who have had off-field run-ins with ISU or Ames police have had their suspensions lifted and are in good standing, Rhoads said Wednesday night.

The most recent incident was with backup linebacker Matt Taufoou, who turned himself into campus police Monday on misdemeanor theft charges.

Tight end Kurt Hammerschmidt was arrested for drunken driving and defensive players Kennard Banks, Cleyon Laing and Kevin Hamlin had marijuana possession charges levied against them.

Under ISU’s student-athlete code of conduct, athletes arrested or charged with a violation of local, state, or federal law are automatically suspended from competition and may be suspended from practice.

Athletics officials can lift or modify the suspension at any time.