Posts Tagged ‘Paul Rhoads’

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.”

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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

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.

Rhoads proud to be coaching in Tempe

December 30, 2009

Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads’ body language has been in sync with his words from the first day on the job.

And the way Rhoads was smiling and bouncing around Tuesday in Tempe,  Ariz., as the first-year coach’s team prepares to play Minnesota in the Insight Bowl, he really is “proud to be your coach.”  

The phrase has caught on amongst Cyclone fans and Rhoads supporters.

The coach most famously said it in the locker room following ISU’s stunning 9-7 victory at Nebraska, an emotional speech that was viewed widely on the Internet.

“If you go back to May when we started our Tailgate Tours I ended every one of those talks that way,” Rhoads said. “I don’t think it’s something I coined or always will be how I sign off.”

Rhoads said it to his players during their first team meeting back on Jan. 12, just as he promised Athletic Director Jamie Pollard he would when interviewing to be Gene Chizik’s successor.

He’ll probably say it again Wednesday night at ISU’s spirit rally.

Will he get to say it again Thursday night in the locker room after beating the Golden Gophers?

ISU’s players bought into Rhoads’ more personable, caring approach. Once they put confidence with ability, reaching the postseason was a realistic possibility this season.

“We knew that we were a lot better than we showd on game days,” said senior defensive tackle Nate Frere. “As soon as Coach Rhoads got here and set those goals for us and we started buying into the system, everything just took off.”

And made Rhoads proud to be their coach.

Merrier Christmas for ISU’s long-suffering seniors

December 24, 2009

Finishing their Christmas shopping isn’t the only thing on Iowa State player’s minds this year. They have a game to prepare and pack for. 

No current team members have played in a postseason game.

A few players were along for the ride in 2005 at the Houston Bowl — ISU’s last bowl appearance — but were true freshmen and redshirted that season. Safety James Smith was one of those scout team all-stars. 

He didn’t think it would be another four years before he was back in a bowl.

The Cyclones (6-6) leave for Tempe, Ariz., the day after Christmas (weather permitting) in advance of their New Year’s Eve Insight Bowl game against Minnesota.

“We’ve been working hard for the last five years. We’ve been through a lot,” said Smith, one of 10 senior starters playing in their final game. “It feels good to get rewarded.”

Senior defensive tackle Nate Frere came to ISU in 2006.

The teams he was on before this year had a combined record of 9-27. He witnessed the end of the Dan McCarney era, Gene Chizik’s brief stay in Ames, and the promising start to Paul Rhoads’ coaching career.

The bumps in the road in getting to next week’s game got the Cyclones to this point. Frere is as proud as anybody to be in this position.

“Hard work and sticking with it is going to pay off at some point,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

The rest of ISU’s long-suffering senior class: tight end Derrick Catlett, center Reggie Stephens, receiver Marquis Hamilton, punter Mike Brandtner, and linebackers Jesse Smith, Derec Schmidgall, Fred Garrin and Josh Raven. Defensive end Christopher Lyle is a junior college transfer who has spent only three years in Ames.

He’s had it rough, but not as bad as the rest of his senior mates.

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.

Insight Bowl TV, injury and ticket news

December 12, 2009

Mediacom cable customers won’t be seeing NFL Network on their channel lineup any time soon, but that doesn’t mean they are SOL for Iowa State’s Insight Bowl game against Minnesota in Tempe, Ariz.

Bowl officials will try to find a home for the game in the local markets before the Dec. 31 game. Insight representatives were in Ames Friday meeting with ISU officials.

“One of the things we’ll do over the next couple of weeks is work with the NFL Network to try and get better access in the team markets so that folks here who don’t have it can see the game,” said Insight rep Jay Fields.

NFL Network has had the rights to the game since its inception in 2006.

Mediacom does not carry that channel on any of its packages — and apparently doesn’t plan to.

“I don’t see that changing,” ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said. “Whether there will be an oppoithty for the game to be seen over the air…I’m glad to hear they are working on it.”

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Pollard said half of ISU’s alotted 10,500 tickets have been sold since Sunday’s announcement.

This week’s freezing temperatures and record snowfall have probably helped spur sales. Are ISU folks hoping for another blizzard or two before the month is out?

“Personaly I hope not because I don’t want to have to eal with it,” Pollard said. “but if that’s what it takes to get people to go to tempe, then I am all for it. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

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Defensive back Ter’ran Benton is fully participating in practice activity and will play against the Golden Gophers.

Benton broke a bone in his leg during ISU’s Oct. 24 win over Nebraska. The sophomore totaled 36 tackles and two sacks this season, playing mainly as the Cyclones’ nickel back.

“He is back practicing and doing everything full speed,”  Coach Paul Rhoads said. “It’ll be exciting to see him back in uniform.”

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Iowa State’s trip down there in 2000 remains the stuff of legend in the Valley of the Sun.

The school sold 12,000 tickets to the game and at least another 8,000 — more depending on whom you talk to — were inside Bank One Ballpark.

“When people talk about the Insight Bowl and the growth it has had, the game everyone always talks about is Iowa State-Pittsburgh and how many people came from the state of Iowa to watch the Cyclones,” Fields said.

Rhoads tops list of biggest turnarounds

November 16, 2009

Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads is at the head of the class for first-year coaches, leading the nation in won/lost improvement this year. Here’s the short list, courtesy of ISU’s athletic media relations department:

Coach             School          2009    2008       Win +/-             
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State 6-5     2-10    +4
Steve Sarkisian, Washington     3-7     0-12    +3
Gene Chizik, Auburn     7-4     5-7     +2
Brady Hoke, San Diego State     4-6     2-10    +2
Dae Christensen, Wyoming        5-5     4-8     +1
Rich Ellerson, Army     4-6     3-9     +1
Bill Snyder, Kansas State       6-5     5-7     +1
Tim Beckman, Toledo     4-6     3-9     +1

ISU plays at Missouri Saturday afternoon for a chance to finish the regular season 7-5. The Cyclones already are bowl eligible for the first time since 2005.

Cyclone history for sale

October 31, 2009

Iowa State’s 9-7 victory over Nebraska — and the celebration that ensued — will forever live on in the hearts, minds and computers of Cyclone fans.

The historic win — ISU’s first at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln since 1977 — can now forever be a conversation piece in your living room.

Better act fast though.

A football used during the game is being auctioned off at ISU’s athletic web site (www.cyclones.com) until 4 p.m. Monday.  It is signed by Coach Paul Rhoads and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

This could be a whopper of a profit for the athletic department, compared with the typical auction fare.

The bidding was up to $750 as of Friday night. It began at $200. Eleven bids later, the price of poker went up substantially.

If this goes anything like eBay auctions, the bidding could get interesting during Monday’s final hour.

I’ll post the winning bid once it goes final.

Adjustments to kicking game; tix update for Okie State game

October 28, 2009

In response to a question about Iowa State’s struggling kicking game, Coach Paul Rhoads said Monday night on his call-in show that holder Derec Schmidgall and kicker Grant Mahoney will set up a yard or two deeper when kicking field goals and PATs starting this week against Texas A&M.

Mahoney had one of each blocked last week at Nebraska and, as we all remember, had the game-tying PAT blocked in the final minute in a loss to Kansas State that was the start of his difficulties.

He’s made only four of his last field goals and either shanked or had blocked four PAT tries in the last four games after making the first 47 of his career.

The sophomore from Marion clearly is in a funk.

“It’s certainly a major issue with this football team and we’ll address it like anything else,” Rhoads said. “We’re always talking about adjusting because Grant’s ball doesn’t necessarily lift up as much as you would like.”

It didn’t help that Husker defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh easily shed his blocker and barged through the middle of the line to swat away Mahoney’s kick.

“There were a number of things that contributed to the blocked kicks, not just Grant,” Rhoads continued. “We’re working rapidly to make sure that we fix all of those things and don’t repeat it. What’s taken place before isn’t a repeated mistake. These were new issues that we got to deal with.”

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Also heard on this week’s call-in show, ISU had sold just 39,000 tickets as of Monday for next week’s game against No. 13 Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium.

Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said the OSU game and the Cyclones’ previous home game with Baylor — which drew a crowd of 42,253 — were not sold as part of ISU’s mini-pack ticket package, which sets the attendance total back 5,000 right off the bat.

The first three home games of the season (No. Dakota State, Iowa and Army) averaged 50,484.

Pollard strongly encourages fans (I’m paraphrasing him here) to show their support and come out for the game, which will kickoff at either 11:30, 2:30 or  7 p.m. depending on what the television networks decide. That will be known Sunday.

ISU could be playing for bowl eligibility for the first time since 2005.