Williams Blog: More from media Monday

By Chris Williams, Publisher

What’s up fanatics? I’m getting close to wrapping up our first media Monday of the 2010 Iowa State football season. Paul Rhoads met with reporters earlier today. CLICK HERE for a copy of the transcript. Here are a few of my thoughts on what we learned today.

On the redshirts

Plan on seeing Shontrelle Johnson, Jeremiah George, Ricky Howard and Anthony Young to play in their first season on campus in Ames. None of those names should surprise anyone, especially the two JUCO’s in Howard and Young.

Don’t let Johnson’s position at number four on Iowa State’s depth chart fool you either. I just find it extremely hard to believe that the staff would avoid redshirting Johnson if they didn’t have big plans for the true freshman. Maybe he won’t line up in the backfield all of the time. Maybe they’ll put him in the slot some. Rhoads told us to expect to see Johnson with some kick returning duties for Iowa State as well.

With Johnson playing as a true freshman, that means that fellow rookie running back Duran Hollis will redshirt.

“I don’t think there is any negative with where Duran Hollis is on the depth chart,” Rhoads said. “Instead, it is a positive with having a number of quality backs. You are not going to take two freshmen and not redshirt one of them. It is just not going to happen. Shontrelle has performed a little bit better. Because Duran missed a couple of practices with cramps and maybe being not in quite of good of shape as Shontrelle when he started. There is nothing that Duran could overwhelmingly do to jump up that depth chart. We are very pleased with him and what his future is going to be like with our program. We have two really good freshmen running backs.

The schedule

Are you tired of hearing about how tough Iowa State’s 2010 schedule is? I am starting to get the feeling that Iowa State’s coaching staff and players are. Maybe I am reading into this a little too much.

“I don’t want to put one team against another but if you were going to put North Dakota State against Northern Illinois, our opening opponent from a year ago, I was just as nervous and anxious as I am now,” Rhoads said. “You have got to be ready to play every single game against every single opponent no matter what the prognosticators think about it, no matter what level of school they are. We have to be ready to play. We are excited about the challenge. Yeah, they are a good football team and we are going to find out what we are on Thursday as well.”

DL is improved

For weeks, I have been writing that I anticipate Iowa State’s defensive line to be better in 2010 than the one we saw a season ago. I was happy to hear Rhoads reaffirm that today.

“I think that our defensive line has improved, led by Stephen Ruempolhamer,” Rhoads said. “He had an outstanding camp and I expect that to continue as we begin the season. There will be seven our eight guys who play on that defensive line and if you can keep those guys fresh and keep them rolling in with quality guys, that is important.”

I was admittedly surprised to see Bailey Johnson leapfrog sophomore Jake McDonough on the depth chart at defensive tackle. I guess that is a good thing though right? That means that the competition has been hot and that both men are ready to play.

Just a few notes for you today. Be sure to check out the site tomorrow morning for the first column of the year by former Cyclone All-American Ben Bruns.