Williams Blog: Spring game notebook

By Chris Williams, Publisher

Just a quick note here before I start this thing. This will be an abbreviated blog as I am in a serious time crunch to get over to Hilton for Cy’s House of Trivia. I’ll have a lot more spring game coverage on the site later this weekend.

It wasn’t a bad day for football in Ames. Under beautiful weather conditions, the Iowa State Gold team defeated the Cardinal roster 23-17 in the 2010 Cyclone spring game.

Not that the score actually mattered.

Here are a few of my quick thoughts on what went down in the scrimmage.

The running back competition

Two running backs stood out in today’s scrimmage and we’ll start with James White. White busted open a 50-yard touchdown run in the second half that showed fans what we have all heard so much about over the past few weeks. That is that this Dallas native is really fast. White ended the day with 76 rushing yards on 11 attempts, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. That was just during his time on the Cardinal team. He also ran the ball six times for 21 yards and a touchdown while playing for the Gold roster.

And of course, there’s Jeff Woody. How does a fan not love this guy? Woody ran the ball 13 times while collecting 67 yards on the day. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry, blocked really well and also caught two passes for 12 yards.

White is easily the flashier running back when comparing the two. But is he more complete? Not according to head coach Paul Rhoads.

“I will say that I think Jeff Woody is the closet to the top of the heap of those three,” Rhoads said while discussing Woody, White and Beau Blankenship.

Rhoads also pointed out that the coaching staff will sit down to evaluate the three backs next week. But right now, it appears as if Woody is still number two, behind Alexander Robinson of course.

Speaking of A-Rob, he didn’t blow anybody away today. But really, does it matter? Nope. We all know what he can do. There was an “A-Rob for Heisman” thread up on CF earlier this week for God’s sake. Robinson ran the ball seven times for 17 yards in the scrimmage.

As for the third man in this backup running back competition, we learned after the scrimmage that Beau Blankenship sprained a knee on Thursday. He’ll be out for around two weeks according to Coach Rhoads.

But to sum up the running backs, this is what I saw.

It’s nothing new either.

White is slick, fast and could potentially be that big play threat once Alexander Robinson is gone.

Jeff Woody is strong, smart and most importantly, consistent.

If this thing were a beauty contest, White would easily be the guy. However, football doesn’t go that way. It’s all about giving your team the best chance to win football games.

Both of these guys can serve an important purpose next fall. Having options at running back is a great thing. Now let’s get Shontrell Johnson on campus and a healthy Bo Williams.

This competition is far from over. Stay tuned.

Player of the Game – James White

I’ve got to go with the guy who put the fans on their feet with that 50-yard run. White created that thing on his own too. It was a play that speed was responsible for. James White is my player of the game with Darius Reynolds as my runner up. “Money” had a quiet six catches for 81 yards in the game while playing for both teams in his return to Jack Trice Stadium. Jeff Woody and Jerome Tiller could have easily been on this list as well. It was hard to consider any of the defensive players for this award.

Most concerning moment of the scrimmage…

Did anybody else get a sick feeling when Grant Mahoney had a field goal blocked? Visions of Arrowhead Stadium littered my tiny brain.

Other than that, Mahoney kicked well though. The junior went 2-for-3 on the day, including a 52-yard field goal that he drilled in the third quarter.

Other stats that stood out…

– Donnie Jennert caught five passes for 47 yards on the day.

– Jerome Tiller’s final numbers were impressive but keep in mind that he was going up against the second string defense for the majority of the afternoon. Tiller went 21-of-32 for 200 yards on the day. He also ran the football for 67 yards.

– Four Cyclone defenders ended the day with six tackles. Those men were Ter’ran Benton, A.J. Klein, Earl Brooks and Kevin Hamlin.

– Leonard Johnson was credited for two pass breakups in the scrimmage.

– A.J. Klein led the team with two tackles for losses.

Your 2010 Cyclone captains are…

The 2010 Cyclone football team captains were announced before the game. Austen Arnaud and Alexander Robinson received the honor on the offensive side of the football. On defense, David Sims, Mike O’Connell and Rashawn Parker got the nod.

Check out all week long for more reaction from the spring game and football talk in general.