By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
After upsetting rival Iowa in a 44-41 triple-overtime victory on Saturday, the Iowa State football program will face a short week before traveling to Connecticut for a prime time, nationally televised game on Friday.
"Today (Monday) is normally an off day," said Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads during his weekly press conference. "Today is now Tuesday. Yesterday was Sunday and Monday for us as a coaching staff. You have to condense the schedule. You change what normal routine is for a week and you have to adjust."
After a big win, there’s always the threat of a letdown. Rhoads noted two times during his tenure at Iowa State when that occurred. After a 52-38 win over Texas Tech last season, the Cyclones returned to Jack Trice Stadium the following week and lost to Utah by 68-27 final. After 2009’s historic 9-7 win at Nebraska, Iowa State traveled to College Station the next week and suffered a 25-point loss to Texas A&M.
"Texas A&M was a little bit different in my opinion, in that we were out of gas," Rhoads said. "We were tanked. It was late in the season. It was game nine. We hadn’t had an open date and our football team was running on empty. More so than a mental hangover. I think that there was a mental hangover after the Texas Tech game that we did not repeat after the Texas game."
After last year’s monumental win in Austin, the Cyclones were slow to start in their home game against Kansas, but responded with a strong second half in a 28-16 victory.
"There was and that’s why I thought it was such a very big win. We did struggle but we fought through that struggle and found a way to come back and win that football game," Rhoads said. "They came in and hit us in the mouth and we responded.
The goal for Friday night is simple.
"You’d rather go into it not having to be forced to respond. You’d rather go out and start executing and playing fast from play one."
"We spoke of it yesterday at our team meeting. You have the physical preparation that you need to take care of and then there’s the mental work that you have to take care of. That is focusing on the next opponent and putting the last game behind us."
=== QUOTES OF THE DAY ===
Cornerback Leonard Johnson on balancing school & the short football week…
“For me, it is tough. I’ve been thinking about this Spanish test. I’ve been talking about my Spanish test all weekend. My mom has been telling me to shut up.”
Johnson on playing on national television…
"Channel 27 back home (Florida). Turn it on. Check me out. Check out the Cyclones."
Linebacker A.J. Klein on freshman defensive end David Irving…
"Having him on the field is definitely kind of a psychological thing as well, just because of his size.”
Paul Rhoads on the state of his program…
"Three and zero sure beats the heck out of 2-1. We have got to win football games. This is our next game. This is our focus. The team believes in what we are doing right now and how we’re getting it done."
=== PERSONNEL UPDATES ===
— The Iowa State Daily is reporting that sophomore wide receiver Donnie Jennert was arrested early Sunday morning due to public intoxication. For a full report on the situation, CLICK HERE. Also note that before the season began, Rhoads announced that Jennert was academically ineligible for the 2011 season.
— When asked about the feeling of his previously broken toe, wide receiver Darius Reynolds replied by saying, "Great. Good."
The vague comments were followed by laughter.
Reynolds said that the emotions of Saturday’s game helped him block the pain out of his mind.
"It was a big game for us," Reynolds said. "I knew that I had to be out there to help our team win.
=== JOTTINGS ===
— After Saturday’s win, Iowa State received two votes in this week’s USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
— It was a surprise to many when true freshman defensive end David Irving saw time in Saturday’s victory.
“He has got a body, that’s for sure," said junior linebacker A.J. Klein. "He’s a tall, athletic kid. He has long arms and needs to learn as he matures within the program, learn how to use those abilities and that arm length."
Irving is 6-foot-7 and weighs 261 pounds.
— As of Monday morning, these were Rhoads’ immediate concerns in preparing for UConn.
"The three quarterbacks. Different defenses. To stop those different packages. To stop athletic quarterbacks and quarterbacks who can throw. They have a very physical running game. They present challenges with their offensive schemes. They have the league leading defense in the Big East right now, allowing just over 200 yards per game. That’s pretty stingy."