ISU coaches hand out summer to-do lists to each player
By: Bobby La Gesse

By Nirmalendu Majumdar/The Tribune

Iowa State running back Bo Williams breaks through a tackle during the spring game last Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

By Bobby La Gesse
Staff Writer

Iowa State running back Bo Williams must take a step back before he can take a step forward.

Williams didn't show enough patience letting holes develop this spring. So this summer, he will do all he can to become a more patient runner.

Each Cyclone football player has a to-do list to work on this summer. They hope that if every item gets checked off, ISU will enter the fall ahead of where it closed spring practice.

"At Florida, all you do is run the zone," said Williams, who transferred to ISU from Florida. "One step, put down and go. Here, you have to be more patient. I just need to slow down. I'm too fast with my steps, and I'm missing reads."

But, like the rest of the Cyclones, Williams is making progress.

Coach Gene Chizik thought ISU made positive strides through 14 practices and Saturday's controlled scrimmage this spring and likes the direction the program is headed for 2008. But to take the next step, Chizik wants more consistency out of his players.

"There are many growing pains ahead," Chizik said. "I feel athletically, we are still a little bit off where we need to be. We need to put together solid recruiting classes over and over (and then) you'll eventually claw your way to being competitive with some of the upper-echelon teams in this league."

If quarterback Phillip Bates has his way, a good summer will help narrow the gap between ISU and Missouri, which won the Big 12 Conference's North Division last fall.

The Cyclones will take part in voluntary summer workouts once finals are over. They'll gather to lift, run, watch film and play 7 on 7. It will be like any other practice, but director of strength and conditioning Ken Sheppard and the upperclassmen will be the ones who will lead the way.

"We are going to go over stuff we made mistakes on and make sure we don't make those mistakes again when we get out there again in a real game," Bates said.

That's music to Chizik's ears because he believes a good summer can set the tone for a great fall.

"This is where the bonding starts in many, many ways before the season starts, what kind of and how much production you get in summer workouts," Chizik said. "Obviously, they are voluntary; they can't be mandatory workouts, and we expect these guys to make a commitment to each other to be here, and it's going to be a huge piece of the puzzle on how they return in August."

After a sub-par spring game, offensive tackle Doug Dedrick wants to see the offensive line at the top of its game for two-a-days.

Even though the Cyclones rushed for 201 yards in Saturday's spring game, Dedrick said the offensive line play left a lot to be desired. Now he'll spend the next three months ensuring those down days are a rarity come Saturdays this fall.

"There are all kinds of things we can get better at," Dedrick said. "You can never be satisfied. We did a few things wrong. A few guys got rattled. Technically, I'd say across the board, we have to overall get better."