Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney talks after two practices Thursday (both in the Bergstrom indoor training facility because of heavy rain):
On the two-deep battle at the safety position: "(ISU redshirt freshman safety) James Smith (of Council Bluffs/Thomas Jefferson HS) had surgery Wednesday to mend a broken right ankle suffered in yesterday's practice. The surgery was successful and we are excited that James should be back with us by mid-season." "But we must move on. We're looking at Caleb Berg, Jon Banks, Brandon Hunley at safety, we are looking at some young safeties back there, the newcomers group. We're also taking a look at Ryan Baum back there because he is one of the best tacklers on this team. He already showed up for practice this afternoon as we knew he would. He has a lot of Austin Flynn in him, he will do whatever is necessary to help the team. I hope his transition from wide receiver goes as smooth as Austin's position change did."
On No. 1 middle linebacker Tyrone McKenzie: "He has made great transition from being a high school running back to being a special teams player at Michigan State to being a No. 1 middle linebacker at Iowa State. He's so conscientious, he follows up with (defensive coordinator) John Skladany all the time, just trying to learn. He wants to be a strength, not a liability. He wants to be a guy that every in the program can trust. He's special. Tyrone is going to be a player the next three years at Iowa State."
On defensive lineman Brice Braaksma (junior from Sheldon, Iowa): "Another one of the real quality walkons that we have in the program that is definitely putting himself in a position to help us on Saturdays this fall. We've worked him some at nose guard, we're working him some at end. He is smart, one of the most intelligent men on this football team. He picks up things fast and he is really motivated to play. He's been in the program, a good scout team player and a loyal member of our team. It is time for him to help us out on Saturdays and I have no doubt that he will."
I don't think Baum quite has the speed of Dwight. However, through the yers we have seen him both take hits and deliver them. This kid is tough whichis what you need as a strong safety. I am a little more comfortable that they guys that are stepping in are guys that have been in the program already. Hopefully they know what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to be.
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