After coming off of a 2-10 season in 2014, the outlook for 2015 isn’t much better. Despite the pundit’s low expectations for his Iowa State Cyclones, an energized and enthusiastic Paul Rhoads met with reporters at today’s Big 12 Media Days to provide an outlook for his 2015 squad.
“The bottom line coming out of this summer, coming out of this off-season is we are a closer football team heading into 2015. Talent, experience, continuity, all very important, but if you don’t have that chemistry, you don’t have that closeness, you’re starting at a disadvantage.
“Speaking of experience, we’ve got a fair amount of it on our football team. Offensively, we return 11 guys that have starting experience and up to 13 that have played. On the defensive side of the ball, we’ve got six guys with primary starting experience, but then we have another ten that played a bunch of football for us in 2014 and earlier.”
Coach Rhoads went on to speak eloquently about defensive lineman, Mitchell Myers, and his battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
“I want to take this opportunity to talk about a young man by the name of Mitchell Meyers. Mitchell was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma this past January. Since then, he’s gone on to receive six months of chemotherapy. This Friday will be Mitchell’s last chemo appointment. During that time, this entire summer, he hasn’t missed a workout with our football team and with his teammates, going through six months of chemotherapy.
“From here, Mitchell will come back to his hometown in Houston, Texas, and undergo radiation before joining us in the month of September. Prayers still extended for Mitchell and his family and everything that he’s going through, and our football team watches in admiration and appreciation each and every single day.”
ON RETURNING TO A SUCCESSFUL RUNNING GAME
Coach Rhoads provided his thoughts on the adjustments he, and Mark Mangino, are making to return to a once powerful Iowa State running attack.
“It goes hand in hand with what you’re doing up front and your ability to block people and your ability to open up holes. But then the backfield takes a large chunk of that responsibility. Not only do they got to run through holes, they’ve got to make folks miss at times. And it’s one of the things that we haven’t done a good enough job of accomplishing since Alexander Robinson was rushing for 1,000 yards back in 2009.
“I think Mark has a much better understanding of where the league is at right now, going into his second season as the offensive coordinator, and his job and the staff’s job to put us in position, run-pass position to run away from numbers and throw away from numbers in a positive sense offensively.”
Does Geography Hurt The Cyclones?
Faced with the question as to whether Iowa State’s midwestern geography provides an obstacle to offensive creativity and success, Rhoads offered an interesting response.
“We’ve averaged kickoff temperatures 62 degrees in the six years that we’ve been there. So growing up there and understanding the swirl of the wind in Jack Trice Stadium, I would have said yes to that question, that there are things we can accomplish and we can’t do on a consistent basis.
“Two years ago, I think it was, we played the coldest game in the history of Jack Trice Stadium against KU. The field was a sheet of ice, and we threw for 300-plus yards and scored 30-some points and had one of our most productive offensive games of the season. I don’t know if that means the weather favored us or that we can actually execute whatever style of offense that we want to in that weather environment.”
The Renovation To Jack Trice Stadium Is A Game Changer
Iowa State’s newly renovated and expanded Jack Trice Stadium will be the Big 12’s third largest venue with 61,000 seats. Paul made it known that this project was very important to the fans, the program, and the pursuit of future success in the Big 12.
“I think that the administration continues to show the support and put in place the things necessary for us to compete in the Big 12 and nationally. Jamie Pollard, our athletics director, he so fully understands Iowa State, and I don’t think people appreciate and give him enough credit in regard to that.
“Jack Trice Stadium has always been, in my estimation, a sensational venue. It’s loud. The fans are on top of you. And now we’re bowling in that south end zone, and I think it will be even more exciting and the decibel level taken up to several more notches.
“I think, if there was one thing that our fan base really wanted to see take place with any of our facilities, it was this project. I don’t think they can wait for September 5th to get here and enjoy this project coming to fruition.”