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    Inside Look at US by Lincoln JS

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    HuskerExtra.com - Lincoln, Nebraska - Huskerextra - Football
    Iowa State

    By the Lincoln Journal Star

    Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007 - 11:47:49 pm CDT
    The Husker Extra staff breaks down the Iowa State football team before this week's matchup.

    Keep an eye on 'em

    JJ Bass
    Junior college All-American is living up to big hype. Had 133 yards in opener against Kent State and last week at Toledo showed his durability by gaining 134 yards on 34 carries. Originally signed with North Carolina State before going to El Camino (Calif.) College.

    R.J. Sumrall, WR/Jr./6-1/203 pounds

    Todd Blythe gets a lot of attention, and deservedly so. But Sumrall has 20 of his team-high 22 catches in the last three games, and he has a history of gashing the Huskers. Last year, he had four receptions for 48 yards. In 2005, he had four for 99 yards and a touchdown.

    Jon Banks, LB/Sr./6-2/219 pounds

    Weakside LB Alvin Bowen averaged more tackles than anybody in the nation last season, but some of that was because of Banks' presence on the strong side. A former free safety, he switched before last year's Nebraska game and then made a career-best 13 stops.

    Quarterbacks

    It seems like Bret Meyer has been at ISU since the start of the Big 12. It's a testament to his toughness that despite being sacked 108 times in his career, the Cyclones' all-time yardage leader will be starting for the 41st straight game Saturday. Meyer's junior season (12 TDs, 12 interceptions) was a step down from 2005, when he threw for 19 scores and just 10 picks. He's closer to regaining his form, completing 67.2 percent of his passes, but with five interceptions. Meyer also likes the draw run, and ISU is utilizing his speed more, and he's averaging a team-best 4.3 yards on nearly 10 carries a game. (3 balls)

    Running backs

    After arriving in Ames this fall, junior college star J.J. Bass has made a quick impact. He didn't start in ISU's season opener against Kent State, but by halftime had produced four runs of at least 15 yards. Not such a big deal, you think? Well, consider that last year, it took the Cyclones 11 games before they had their fifth run of 15 yards or more. Bass' 34 carries at Toledo last week were the most in a game by a Cyclone in seven years. Fullback Derrick Catlett has yet to carry the ball. He will line up at tight end, and against Toledo last week, caught the first TD pass of his career. (2 balls)

    Wide receivers

    Todd Blythe's slide from being first-team All-Big 12 in 2005 to a 34-catch, 484-yard output last year was due in part to missing three games with Epstein-Barr virus (which led to mononucleosis). He still found the end zone eight times, and has a school-record 28 TDs in his career. Blythe is averaging a staggering 17.7 yards per catch over his career, and twice in three years his best game has come against Nebraska (6 catches, 96 yards and a TD last year; 8 catches, 188 yards and a score in 2004). R.J. Sumrall probably has more swivel than Blythe (and more catches this season), but ISU also likes sophomore Marquis Hamilton. (2 balls)

    Offensive line

    This group of three first-time starters appears to be making strides. For starters, Meyer has been sacked just three times (after being dropped 105 times in his first three seasons). Iowa State also is the least-penalized team in the Big 12 (another indication that, since the majority of most team's infractions occur in the offensive line, these guys are dialed in). Tight end Ben Barkema, with 25 career starts, is the veteran. Right tackle Ben Lamaak was a tight end until last spring. Left tackle Doug Dedrick was in junior college last year, and center Brandon Johnson, from Rushville, was watching from the sideline. (2 balls)

    Defensive line

    At 6-3, 320 pounds, nose guard Ahtyba Rubin is a lot more than a finger in the **** when it comes to plugging holes. Iowa State has relied more on speed, though, to hold opponents to an average of 3.6 yards per rush. The Cyclones probably don't have all-league material here, so being assignment-sound is key. End Kurtis Taylor might be the closest to achieving star status. He's come back from reconstructive knee surgery that sidelined him all of last season to lead the Cyclones with three sacks. Bryce Braaksma, who started seven games at end last season, now teams with Rubin in the trenches. (2 balls)

    Linebackers

    Alvin Bowen probably isn't going to lead the nation in tackles like he did in 2006, but he's still as good of a ball-hawk as there is in the Big 12. In addition to averaging eight tackles a game, he holds his own in pass coverage (he has an interception and a breakup). Middle linebacker Jesse Smith came to ISU as a walk-on, but now is the team's fourth-leading tackler. He's just behind Jon Banks, who leads the Cyclones with five tackles for loss. Three of the top four backups are sophomores, including Lincoln East graduate Derec Schmidgall, so this appears to be a position that first-year coach Gene Chizik can lean on as he builds. (3 balls)

    Defensive backs

    Opponents have completed 67.6 percent of their passes and averaged 9.3 yards per reception while facing a secondary that has a combined four breakups. Free safety James Smith, who didn't play until the eighth game last year after breaking his leg in fall camp, has come back to be the second-leading tackler and has one of ISU's three interceptions. Allen Bell, a junior college All-American last year, has taken over at left cornerback and is fifth in tackles. The other corner, second-year starter Chris Singleton, has an interception. Strong safeties Steve Johnson and Chris Brown have combined for 28 tackles. (2 balls)

    Special teams

    In the final five minutes of its game at Toledo last Saturday, Iowa State gave up a kickoff return for a TD, had a botched punt snap result in another score, then had a field goal tipped, leading to a 36-35 loss. Granted, the Cyclones wouldn't have beaten Iowa without Bret Culbertson, who nailed five of six field goals in a 15-13 victory. But other than that game, he's 0-for-4. ISU has fared better on punts, as its net average of 36.8 yards is No. 3 in the Big 12. Sumrall and Drenard Williams are fliers on kickoffs, too, so look for NU’s Adi Kunalic to try to kick the ball through the end zone. (1 ball)

    Scouting report

    Iowa came rolling into its Sept. 15 game at Iowa State fresh off a 35-0 pasting of Syracuse and having allowed just three points in its season opener against Northern Illinois. Meanwhile, the Cyclones had lost to Kent State and Northern Iowa.

    So much for momentum.

    ISU bolted to a 12-0 halftime lead by outgaining the Hawkeyes 177-59. Then, after Iowa got a field goal to go ahead 13-12 with 3:38 to play, Iowa State drove 56 yards for Culbertson’s game-winning 28-yarder with one second left, leaving Kirk Ferentz 3-6 against the Hawkeyes’ in-state rival.

    “Their effort was outstanding. They outplayed us and the bottom line is, we were fortunate to be down 12-0 at half,” Ferentz said. “They clearly jumped on us right off the bat and gave us a lot of problems. ... They gave us a couple wrinkles we hadn't seen on tape, but that was expected. They had us rattled a little bit and we didn't get into a tempo. We left our defense out there too much.

    “I think Culbertson is very representative of their football team. He came in 0-(for)-3 ... and bounced back (by going 5-for-6). It’s indicative of the way they played, as well.

    “The big deal is they improved an awful lot in three weeks’ time.

    “Bret Meyer played an outstanding game. That’s not a huge surprise. He’s played very well for four years now, just like Todd Blythe. We’ve seen those guys plenty and we knew they were capable of playing very, very well.”


    CFH HMagic bball season next year.
    Let my Fred's Four Horsemen ride: Georges, Hogue, Nader, and McKay.

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    Re: Inside Look at US by Lincoln JS

    HuskerExtra.com - Lincoln, Nebraska - Huskerextra






    Q&A with Broderick Thomas

    By the Lincoln Journal Star

    Sunday, Apr 15, 2007 - 12:51:05 am CDT
    Broderick Thomas, known as the “Sandman” during his days at Nebraska, was always known as one of the most enthusiastic Huskers in history.

    The outside linebacker played four years for the Huskers, started three and earned All-America and All-Big Eight honors. He was the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year in 1989 and a NFL first-round draft pick of Tampa Bay in the spring of 1989. He played with the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys.

    Thomas was one of more than 150 former Huskers in town this weekend for the lettermen golf tournaments and the annual Spring Game.

    He spent some time with Ken Hambleton.

    So what about the “Sandman,” the player who was “bringing the wood,” and had “the keys to our house?”

    I was always what you saw. I had a passion for the game since I was a little kid. When my uncle (former Chicago Bears linebacker great Mike Singletary) told me as kid, ‘You can play football or you can go get into trouble.’ I chose football. I grew up in Texas. Football is a big deal all year around in Texas. We had the Astrodome packed for a football playoff game in high school. We had spring football and we had winter conditioning in high school, so when I came to Nebraska it was nothing new to me.”

    Why did you chose Nebraska when all those Texas schools wanted you?

    Three people. Tom Osborne. Bob Devaney and Charlie McBride. I still get some of that being an outsider with all my Texas friends back home in Houston. But Nebraska is my family now, too.”

    What keeps you busy these days?

    I have Broderick Thomas Sports and Entertainment. I have a number of agents working for me. I want to get into the fund-raising efforts for kids — juvenile diabetes, getting kids away from drugs, working with Steve Warren (former Husker) and his group working with mentoring kids.

    Do you follow Nebraska football?

    I follow everything Nebraska. I think the volleyball team is the shining light for the university right now. They are the lady on the hood of the Rolls Royce for the university. The football program, it will make it because it must make it. The tradition, tradition, tradition makes Nebraska special and will make it special again.

    Some people, including some former players, appear upset with the direction of the football program at NU. What do you think?

    The way I feel is that we need to keep behind the university. Nebraska should have Tom Osborne as the athletic director. Bob Devaney was my athletic director. It seems hard to make a connection with the university but we need to keep trying. I believe Coach Callahan can coach and win.

    Do you think changes are coming in the program?

    They’re going to want to talk to me in a couple of years. I have a son, Broderick Thomas Jr., who is a quarterback at Elkins High (near Houston) and he is going to be great. He’s already been contacted by some big-time colleges. He’s a chip off the block. He’s not noisy like I was. My youngest son, Elijah, will be a great athlete, too. It’s not an option, they will be great. I had the same thing going for me. I had the chance to be great and I did the best I could.”


    CFH HMagic bball season next year.
    Let my Fred's Four Horsemen ride: Georges, Hogue, Nader, and McKay.

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    Re: Inside Look at US by Lincoln JS

    Broderick Thmas is not happy with Bill apparently.


    CFH HMagic bball season next year.
    Let my Fred's Four Horsemen ride: Georges, Hogue, Nader, and McKay.

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    Re: Inside Look at US by Lincoln JS

    None of the old huskers are happy with the current state of the state. I would not be either if I were one of them.


    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin 1775

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