By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
After Iowa State’s Wednesday practice, a member of the media asked head coach Paul Rhoads how his team is using its first bye week of the 2011 season.
"Rest," Rhoads said without hesitation.
Getting healthy is the goal as the 3-0 Cyclones prepare to host Texas on Oct. 1.
So far, so good.
Quarterback Steele Jantz suffered a sprain foot in last Friday’s 24-20 road win over UConn. While Jantz admitted to only playing at 60 or 70 percent in the second half of that game, he should be at full strength when the unbeaten Longhorns come to town.
"I haven’t missed anything," Jantz said. "In practice I haven’t been running as much but not really missing anything. I think that by next week, I’ll be 100 percent."
Jantz isn’t the only Cyclone who has been nursing an injury during the off week. Offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele has been playing with a bad ankle since the season began.
"At the beginning of the game, I’ve probably been playing at about 70 or 80 percent," Osemele said. "At the end of the game, I’ve been at about 40 or 50."
A week off is just what the doctor ordered for the big man. Osemele plans on being at 100 percent when Texas rolls into town.
"Being off of my feet for a few days has made it feel really good. It’s pretty strong. I should be at full strength by then."
Ricky Howard (tight end), Roosevelt Maggitt (defensive end) and Earl Brooks (safety) are all out for the season with ACL injuries. Rhoads said that reserve offensive lineman Shaban Dika is currently missing time with an MCL injury. Other than that, Rhoads said that he expects his team to be "pretty darn close to full strength and full speed" when preparation for Texas begins on Sunday night.
SEASON TICKET RECORD: The Iowa State football program got good news on Wednesday, when it was announced that the school had sold 37,446 season tickets. That’s a new school record, shattering the number of 36,610 from 2007.
“It means that people like our product and I don’t blame them," said Rhoads. "We put a football team out there that likes to play, is exciting to watch and gives off great energy. I like to say that they give it up. They give it up for this university and they give it up for our fan base. I think that our fans recognize that and they want to come out to support them. That’s exciting.”
The school’s release said that over 53,000 tickets have already been sold for the Texas game on Oct. 1.
“It has been non-stop in the athletics ticket office,” said Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard said. “The team’s great start has also ignited single-game and mini-pack sales this past week.”
Through the first three weeks of the 2011 season, Iowa State is ranked 35th nationally in attendance.