Camp Report: Defense shines, Nelson to redshirt

By Chris Williams, Publisher

The Iowa State football team endured its first day of summer camp on Thursday. What went down? Not much, according to head football coach Paul Rhoads.

“Usual. There was good. There was bad. There was enthusiasm. There was hustle. There were a lot of mistakes,” Rhoads said. “There are young guys who don’t understand how to practice at this level yet. There were too many turnovers on the offensive side. There were a great number of turnovers on the defensive side. So it was a usual first day.”

Turnovers were the theme in Rhoads’ post-practice session with the media.

“We threw way too many interceptions today,” Rhoads said. “I can’t recall a first day of training camp with one interception at the most. We had at least three out here today. That is completely uncalled for with our offense and a great job by our defense of taking advantage of it.”

Rony Nelson to redshirt

Before the first day of camp began, Iowa State had already lost two potential members of its defensive line in Austin Alburtis and Rony Nelson. On Wednesday, the Big 12 Conference ruled that Nelson, a junior college transfer, was academically eligible but could not play for Iowa State during the 2010 season. Rhoads explained to ruling to reporters.

“It is a Big 12 rule. It is not an NCAA rule. He is academically qualified and ready to go,” Rhoads said. “When he arrived in January, he was not an NCAA qualifier. We discovered it after the fact. We immediately pulled him out of school and did everything right. The Big 12 rule in a situation like that is you have to appeal it through a waiver process. It is in a faculty athletic representatives decision. He is actually one of the few to be allowed into school completely. They did it with the caveat that he has to redshirt, to show that he can handle the academic work and not lose any eligibility in the process.”

I then asked the coach how Nelson reacted.

“With great disappointment,” Rhoads said. “Rony has done everything that we asked him to do. To give more specifics on the situation, he passed the class but junior college wise, he needed a C in that particular subject for it to count towards his AA degree. He had to take two summer courses. He did extremely well in both of those courses this summer to put himself into position. He has been paying his own rent. He has been paying for his own food because he wants to be in this program. He hung his head in disgust and he was very disappointed but mature enough to know to move forward and do what he is told to do.”

Nelson practiced with the team on Thursday and will continue to do so throughout the 2010 season. He will have two years of eligibility remaining in 2011.

Lattimer to defensive end

Junior Jacob Lattimer is now a defensive end. The former linebacker practiced with the defensive ends on Thursday. Rhoads said that the move had nothing to do with the Big 12’s ruling on Nelson and that this decision was made in the spring.

“Jake has taken to it very well with his attitude and he has the physical skills to get that accomplished,” Rhoads said.

Iowa State will go without pads again on Friday, before hitting takes place for the first time on Saturday.