Notebook: Opportunity is knocking

By Chris Williams, PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

Depending on where you look, Iowa State is as much as a 27.5 point home underdog to the second-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys for Senior Night, 2011 in Ames.

During his weekly press conference on Monday, Paul Rhoads didn’t dance around the fact that his team has a monumental challenge ahead of it on Friday night. If this weekend’s contest against the Cowboys was a game of Texas Hold’Em, Iowa State was just dealt a 2-7 off-suit. Oklahoma State is sitting on pocket aces.

“We have got to play our best game and there have got to be some things that adversely affect them," explained Rhoads. "We can’t go out and play our game and go up and down the field with this football team. They are going to have to turn the ball over. They are going to have to uncharacteristically throw some bad balls, miss a block, slip out of a route, things like that are going to have to take place to give us the opportunity to pull off what would be an unheard of upset.”

Even so, "Anything is possible," said Rhoads.

Iowa State does have one factor leaning in its favor as Friday draws closer. The Cyclones had last weekend off. Oklahoma State will make the road trip north off of a short week, as the Cowboys embarrassed Texas Tech by a 66-6 final on Saturday. Rhoads said that his team most definitely used the extra time to begin preparing for the Cowboys.

“We got some early exposure to Oklahoma State, which allowed us to go into today, which is a Tuesday practice for us, ahead of where we normally would be," said Rhoads. "We came back yesterday and we were able to do a walk through, which is different to start the week so we continued to be ahead in our preparation and we’ll see how that pays off on Friday.”

Not that it means anything, but Oklahoma State had plane troubles and didn’t make it back to Stillwater until late Saturday night (after an 11 a.m. kick).

INJURY UPDATES: Rhoads delivered a couple items of good news on Iowa State’s injury front, starting with right tackle Brayden Burris, who broke a bone in his lower leg against Texas on Oct. 1. The junior is back and practicing with the team.

“I still don’t anticipate that he will play this Friday but will be back by the end of the season," said Rhoads.

In another offensive line note, sophomore guard Ethan Tuftee had his knee scoped last week. Rhoads said that he plans on having Tuftee in the lineup this Friday night.

Rhoads didn’t mention sophomore free safety Jacques Washington during his injury update, but Washington did post this on his Twitter feed earlier today.

Practica today and número 10 is back!! Got all the people yelling number 10 is back!

I can assume that means he is good to go. Stay tuned.

ALBERT GARY IN TROUBLE: Rhoads delivered a statement in reference to some legal problems that sophomore wide receiver Albert Gary has been involved with stemming from an incident in June. Read his entire statement below.

“Albert Gary has made me aware that he has officially been charged with robbery from an incident that occurred this past June. Everyone involved in this case has cooperated fully with the investigation and university officials were aware of the situation from the beginning. Because of the serious nature of this incident and the facts that I have been able to gather, I thought it was imperative that I act swiftly, appropriately and proactively in the discipline of Albert. Albert has already served a three-game or 25 percent suspension on the season for his actions and lack of judgment. Another step in the legal process is just now reaching its conclusion and that is where we are at. We will continue to allow the legal process to work and continue to cooperate fully as we move forward.”

For more on this story, CLICK HERE to read a report from the Des Moines Register.

Gary caught six passes for 57 yards (both career-highs) in Iowa State’s 13-10 win over Kansas on Nov. 5.


Paul Rhoads on Brandon Weeden’s age…

“I think he’s older than two of my staff members.”

Paul Rhoads on Oklahoma State’s offensive line…

"Nobody even breathes on their quarterback."

Jake Knott on Brandon Weeden…

“He looks like an NFL quarterback out there. It looks like he’s not even trying."


Did you know: That Paul Rhoads worked under Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young at Ohio State in 1991? Rhoads was a grad assistant at the time. Young was Ohio State’s defensive coordinator from 1988-1995.

An era will come to an end on Senior Night in Ames Friday. Senior defensive end Patrick Neal is the final Dan McCarney recruit left on Iowa State’s roster. Neal will play his final game at Jack Trice Stadium vs. Oklahoma State.

— Iowa State has already set a number of ticket records this season but the Cyclone athletic department is pushing for more. Rhoads believes that Friday’s game will once again sell over 50,000 tickets.

“I think it is just another sign of the progress moving forward," said Rhoads. "We need the help of the Cyclone Nation to break that 50 thousand barrier. I am very confident that we will get that accomplished. The old record is four and we’re going to hit six. It’s a testament to the brand of football that these kids are playing. Our fan base is excited about that level of play and we are certainly very appreciative of the support that they have given us and what it means here at home.”

CLICK HERE to view a number of different ticket promotions that the athletic department is currently offering for Friday night’s game.