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Football

Monday Musings: Nov. 28 Edition

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

Happy Monday Cyclone Nation.

I’ve got a lot to touch on today so no fancy intro. Let’s dig right in.

ON IOWA STATE FOOTBALL

— Don’t get too down on running back James White. On the surface, White had the worst game of his young career last Saturday against Oklahoma. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that poor offensive line play didn’t give the sophomore much of a chance on his first fumble. The second turnover was just bad communication between White and quarterback Jared Barnett. I don’t think that you can pin that one on either individual completely.  It was jacked from the snap. Rhoads also told reporters after Saturday’s game that White has been suffering from a shoulder injury that he sustained during the Oklahoma State game.

— I got into an interesting conversation with a couple of other media members earlier today regarding Cyclones and the All-Big 12 team that will be announced next week. I think that three, maybe four, Iowa Staters could receive first-team honors.

Of course there’s linebacker Jake Knott. The junior currently ranks second in the Big 12 in tackles at 9.3 per game. Knott was picked by many as an All-Big 12 player in the preseason. He didn’t sneak up on anybody this year and that will only help his chances. Knott is a household name in the Big 12 and he hasn’t done a thing to tarnish his impeccable football reputation this season.

I’ve written this a million times before but the thing I love the most about Jake Knott is his Chuck Norris-like toughness. Any guy who dislocates his shoulder in a game, pops it back in and keeps playing is a guy I want on my team.

If you’re going to talk about Knott, you have to consider linebacker A.J. Klein too. He’s currently third in the Big 12 in tackles per game with an average of 8.6.

I think that cornerback Leonard Johnson is a stone cold lock to be a first-teamer. His game vs. Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State should have guaranteed him the award alone.

Offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele is a toss-up for me. He’ll at the very least be in the conversation.

What about freshman wide receiver Jarvis West at kick return? His average of 27.71 yards per return is second in the Big 12. West hasn’t taken one to the house yet this season, but he’s got a shot to rack up some postseason hardware.

— Speaking of Jarvis West, I start feeling awfully giddy when I think about Iowa State’s future at the wide receiver position. Assuming many of these guys pan out the way that we think they will, take a look at this list of receivers that Iowa State will have ready to go next season.

Josh Lenz, Sr.
Aaron Horne, Sr.
Chris Young, Sr.
Jerome Tiller, Sr. (Assuming that this position change sticks of course.)
Albert Gary, Jr.
Donnie Jennert, Jr.
Jarvis West, So.
Ja’Quarius Daniels, Fr.
Tad Ecby, Fr.
Quenton Bundrage, Fr.
Teddy Lampkin, Fr.

That’s not even counting four wide receiver verbal commitments in the upcoming class of 2012.

We’ve discussed this position as a weakness quite often here at CycloneFanatic.com over the last couple of years. I have a feeling that is about to change.

Just consider what you’ve seen over the last month. Albert Gary has led the team in receiving the last three games. Jarvis West looks like he can hit a home run every time that he touches the football.

Then, remember that Ja’Quarius Daniels and Quenton Bundrage were supposed to play this season as true freshmen but never ended up seeing the field (that’s a good thing that the staff didn’t need them).

Jared Barnett (or whoever is throwing passes) will have plenty of targets for years to come. That’s for sure.

— I found Gilbert, Iowa native Cole Morrissey’s story to be refreshing when he committed to the Cyclones last week. If you didn’t get a chance to read THIS Q&A with him, here’s a brief recap.

Morrissey is a life long Iowa State fan. Out of high school, he wasn’t a division one player. Morrissey passed up a scholarship offer from Northern Iowa to go to Iowa Western Community College for a year, while hoping to EARN that future offer from the Cyclones. Last week, he cashed in on that hard work. Morrissey’s dream came true and he committed to Paul Rhoads on the spot. Pretty neat stuff right there. That’s a guy who you can potentially build a team around. The fact that he is a defensive end doesn’t hurt either. You can never have enough of those guys who as Fred Hoiberg likes to put it, will run through a wall for you.

— A few quick thoughts on the coaching situation at Kansas.

1 – If they haven’t offered former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach everything that KU can afford to pay yet, they should.

2 – From an Iowa State perspective, I don’t want Mike Leach invading the Big 12 once again.

3 – Wouldn’t it be ironic if the same school that fired Mark Mangino, hired Mike Leach? Think about it…

ON IOWA STATE BASKETBALL…

— Not a ton on hoops today but I’ll make up for it tomorrow and Wednesday. Promise.

Quickly though, I’m not sure how Iowa State could have responded to that pathetic defensive performance vs. Northern Colorado last week better than what they did in South Padre Island over Thanksgiving. Providence isn’t very good, but it was nice to see that this team has the defensive ability to win a slugfest. I think that Rice is a decent basketball team. That was an impressive win in my opinion.

Wednesday’s game against Northern Iowa is a big one. If Iowa State gets past the Panthers, the absolute worst that the Cyclones can do is have a two-loss non-con, assume that comes to Michigan on Saturday. Don’t worry, I’ll go knock on wood right now.

ON THANKSGIVING/BLACK FRIDAY…

A little off topic to wrap things up…

I trust that you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend with your families?

I enjoyed my time in God’s Country, also known as Clarinda, Iowa.

My folks’ house was a wild time. My sister has a 4-year old girl along with a set of 2-year old twins. The place was as wild as a raucous Hilton Coliseum when Kansas is in town. That’s a good thing though.

On Thursday evening, we headed north to Ames so that my wife could be one of those crazy people who goes shopping at midnight on Black Friday. Somehow, I got sucked into what I refer to as the seventh circle of hell (that’s what I call Hobby Lobby too) this year.

Going shopping at midnight on the Friday after Thanksgiving was one of, if not the very worst experiences of my life. The only thing I can compare it to was the time when I did Mediacom’s pregame show for Iowa State vs. Iowa in Iowa City back. I didn’t receive a parking pass near the set set’s just say that the Hawkeye Nation wasn’t very welcoming during my 30 minute walk to Kinnick.

No, I didn’t witness any middle-aged women fighting (I wish I would have) but I did have to stand in line at the check out at Wal-Mart for well over an hour. That was fun…

Anyway, I cashed out from Black Friday shopping at around 2 a.m. The wife and her two sisters went strong until about six in the morning. Crazy people. True story though. Ash ended her shopping spree at J.C. Penny’s in Ames. As she was checking out, the worker said, "You girls look like crap. You need to go home and go to bed."

Amen.

Have a great week Cyclone Nation.