Football

Rhoads asks team for “blind trust” amidst adverse winter

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It was a tumultuous offseason for the Iowa State football program, that’s for sure.

It all began the day after the Cyclones ended a 3-9 regular season with a triple-overtime victory at West Virginia. That’s when Paul Rhoads relieved longtime assistants (and friends) Courtney Messingham (offensive coordinator) and Kenith Pope (running backs coach) of their duties.

Then, other assistants left for one reason or another. Bill Bleil went on to become the offensive coordinator at Rhode Island. Troy Douglas took a similar position at Pittsburgh. Chris Klenakis did the same with Louisville.

Just as Rhoads looked to finally have his staff complete, defensive ends coach Curtis Bray tragically passed away in January. From Rhoads, to his staff, to graduate assistants and managers alike, the winter was an absolute whirlwind for this football program.

Of course, there are the players to think about too.

“There is something that we have in our program called blind trust,” Rhoads said. “I am asking that of our guys right now with seven new position coaches. Just keep trusting what you are being coached to do and do it with total commitment and exceptional effort every day.”

That is especially the case for Iowa State’s defensive ends, a group that has been coached by Bray for the last four years. Enter Bray’s replacement, a crafty veteran by the name of Stan Eggen into the equation. His assignment, to win over and effectively coach Bray’s group this spring, is far from easy.

“To spend all of that time with Curtis and to be coached and tutored by Curtis and mentored, Rhoads said. “Stan has a different personality than Curtis. For that to be successful, he had to love those kids up as he coached them hard and as he taught them hard. He is doing exactly that.”

It is as tough of a situation as an assistant coach can be thrown into but Eggen, a crafty veteran of 30 years, seems to be taking the challenge in stride.

“Coach Bray did a wonderful job,” Eggen said. “I was coming in, not to change anything, but to continue to build on what has been built.” 

Chris Williams

administrator

Chris was hired as Cyclone Fanatic’s publisher in the fall of 2009. He is Iowa State football's postgame show host on the Cyclone Radio Network and can be heard daily from 4-7 on Des Moines' top-rated sports station, 1460 KXnO. Williams, a 2007 graduate of Iowa State’s Greenlee School of Journalism, is the former publisher of the old CycloneNation.com (Scout.com). He has also written for the Des Moines Register, the Ames Tribune, CycloneReport.com and is the former sports director at KMA Radio. When Williams isn’t working, you can usually find him doing something outdoors with his wife Ashley, daughter Camryn, and Golden Retriever Dierks. He enjoys golfing, boating, country music, the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Braves and is passionate about any and all motor sports so finding Williams at a local dirt track is very common.