Notebook: Cyclones healthy, prep for wacky Big 12

By Chris Williams, Publisher

More notes from Paul Rhoads’ weekly press conference

Lamaak, Cyclones a healthy team

I have to admit that when I sat down to write my weekly report card on Sunday morning, I was a little bit concerned as to how beat up Iowa State would be when they travel to Boulder this weekend. Much to my surprise, Paul Rhoads gave reporters good news during his weekly press conference on Monday morning.

For the most part, Iowa State is a healthy football team and that includes senior center Ben Lamaak, who participated in 75 percent of the snaps in Saturday’s one-point loss to Nebraska.

“He was hurting” Rhoads said. “I think that he graded out as our second best offensive lineman for the game. He wasn’t going to miss this game. He has a lot to play for.”

“Here is a guy who in a few months has a chance to be drafted or go to an NFL camp. He is playing against one of the best defenses in the country. He is doing that to help his football team win games. That is a very admirable quality in the players that I coach.”

According to Rhoads, the 25 percent of plays that Lamaak missed were strictly due to his lack of conditioning (not being able to practice) and had nothing to do with his strained MCL.

Rhoads gave his team the day off on Sunday, where they only ran and lifted weights.

On the decision to down the football

There has been a little bit of static inside the fan base regarding Rhoads’ decision to down the football on Iowa State’s own 20-yard line, with 40 seconds to play in regulation last Saturday.

“I did not give it a thought,” Rhoads said. “The smart decision was to take a knee and to go into overtime. We were at least 40 to 45 yards away from attempting a field goal. We had to do that throwing against maybe the best secondary in college football. Our kicker had missed two out of three and was not playing on what I would call strong, confident legs at that point. There was way too much risk to do anything other than to kneel and go to overtime at that point.”

I think that pretty much settles this point. Next.

The wacky, wild, even Big 12

Texas Tech 24, Missouri 17: What?
Oklahoma State 55, Baylor 28: Seriously?
Texas A&M 33, Oklahoma 19: No way…
Kansas State 39, Texas 14: You’ve got to be kidding me…
In 11 minutes – Kansas 35, Colorado 7: That’s not even funny

For your sake fanatics, I hope that you didn’t have any money riding on Big 12 games last Saturday. There is more parity in this league than we’ve ever seen before. Nebraska might be the best team in the conference and Iowa State just took the ‘Skers to overtime.

“Anybody is capable of beating anybody,” Rhoads said. “You have to get your team to show up and then you have to get them to stay around for the length of the football game. Part of that is preparation. Part of it is if they liked their Wheaties on Saturday morning when you get them up to go to the stadium. That is a challenge of a coach and the challenge of the leaders on the football team. It is a trademark of winning programs and programs trying to establish themselves as this era of college football moves forward.”

That’s just more of a reason as to why Iowa State shouldn’t take Saturday’s game with 3-6, 0-5 Colorado lightly.

“It is a dangerous game because they have good football players. They were beating a Kansas team that we had to come from behind to beat very soundly going into the fourth quarter,” Rhoads said. “They are a Big 12 football team that has recruited Big 12 football players. They have an excellent coaching staff. That is why it is a dangerous football game, regardless to what has taken place.”

The Cyclones and the Buffaloes will kick off at 12:30 p.m. central time on Saturday. The game will be televised on FOX College Sports.