By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Monday media days after 41-point losses are never fun for anybody. However, I was thoroughly impressed by the energy and passion that Paul Rhoads and his players brought to the table today. Here are the notes that I took during today’s press conference.
CLICK HERE for an audio version of Rhoads’ press conference. You can also download it to your IPod or computer on I’Tunes by searching "Cyclone Fanatic" in the I’Tunes store.
A-Rob is day-to-day – Who’s next?
Not only does Alexander Robinson have a bum ankle, his foot is now an issue too in more than one spot. That’s why the man that the kids call “A-Rob” wasn’t able to answer the call in the second half for Iowa State in a 68-27 loss to Utah last Saturday night. The lopsided score probably had a lot to do with it too.
“He’s better,” Rhoads said about his star running back.” Probably better than anticipated after the game.”
Rhoads said that Robinson is now off of crutches and out of the protective boot that he wore yesterday.
“It will certainly be a day-by-day progression and we’ll see where he is by kickoff on Saturday,” Rhoads said.
The coach’s best educated guess as to if the senior will play on Saturday?
“Nay, if I had to guess right now,” Rhoads said. “He will be limited if he is healthy and ready to play.”
Robinson did take some more x-rays on his foot earlier today. Those tests came back negative so that is good news.
“In his mind, I guarantee he thinks he’ll be playing on Saturday night,” Rhoads said.
Two freshmen, Shontrelle Johnson (true) and Jeff Woody (redshirt) are next in line for Iowa State. They are both listed at second string on this week’s depth chart. If Robinson can’t go, one of those two backs will get their first colligate start. Regardless of who that is, expect both to play.
Johnson has racked up 179 yards through the first six games while Woody has totaled 144.
“He (Johnson) is progressing but he is a true freshman and true freshmen make mistakes,” Rhoads said. “You would like him to progress as fast as Jake Knott and A.J. Klein are right now but the truth is they have been in the program a year longer. They have played and they have been in the battles a year ago. They know what this is all about. Shontrelle is still making some freshmen mistakes, just because he doesn’t fully understands just what it takes week in and week out, to play at this level.”
And yes, if he starts at running back or not, the plan is to keep Johnson back as a kick returner for Iowa State.
“We think he is the best and would like to keep him back there if possible,” Rhoads said. “He gives us a chance to break plays when he is back there.”
Tiller is second-string QB
Don’t read into James Capello playing ahead of Jerome Tiller last Saturday night at quarterback. While Capello looked solid as he ran for a touchdown, Rhoads confirmed that sophomore Jerome Tiller is Iowa State’s second-string quarterback heading into Saturday.
“Jerome could have played but by the time the score got to where it was, it would have been very foolish on my part to put him in there and put him in danger,” Rhoads said. “I don’t know if he is 100 percent but he is full speed and he will be the number two quarterback come Saturday night.”
Tiller reportedly injured his knee late in Iowa State’s 27-0 win over Northern Iowa on Sept. 25.
“Utah was a lot faster on the field than they were on film.”
That quote stood out to me from Rhoads’ description of theUtes. How do the Sooners compared to Utah from a speed standpoint?
“Every bit as good,” Rhoads said.
Sims is playing better
David Sims had his best game of the season in Saturday’s loss. The senior safety picked off his first pass of 2010 while recording 10 tackles and recovering a fumble. Rhoads has noticed the improvement.
“I think he has progressively improved from the Iowa game on,” Rhoads said. “He knows that. I think he is carrying himself a little bit different. I saw him early today as he commonly comes in here on Monday to study film on his own, he just had a different walk about him. I think that he has played himself into that.”
Texas TV/time set
Iowa State’s Oct. 23 date with the Texas Longhorns will be an 11 a.m. kick. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Net.
More quotes from CPR’s weekly teleconference
This was my favorite quote of the day, referring to the Utah game.
“If it was a shootout, we didn’t have a gun."
“I don’t think that the folks in Norman are worried about us creating a shootout.”
“Saturday’s explosion was unexpected and we credit that to an awfully good Utah team.”
“I think our guys are fighting. They are learning and improving every week and we trust that they’ll keep doing that.”