Notebook: Decisions still to be made as fall camp ends

AMES — That’s it, that’s all for fall camp 2012. Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads and his coaching staff still have a few decisions to make before the season-opener vs. Tulsa on Sept. 1.

There’s that quarterback situation…

The kicking job is still “wide-open” as well.

Edwin Arceo has done a great job through camp and Cole (Netten) kicked the ball really well today,” said Rhoads after Saturday’s third and final scrimmage. “Edwin kicked it really well on Wednesday in a scrimmage situation.”

Rhoads has already stated that he plans to make his quarterback decision next Tuesday. The kicking decision isn’t so cut and dry.

“That could be Saturday morning when I want to make that one on September 1,” joked Rhoads. “Probably before 11 but it could be Saturday morning.”

Netten is a true freshman out of Ankeny. Arceo is a junior walk-on who hails from Iowa Central via Muscatine.

It’s still an unknown as to who will get the nod as Iowa State’s starter at right guard vs. Tulsa too. Junior Kyle Lichtenberg and sophomore Jacob Gannon have been duking it out at that spot all camp long.

“That would be another case of film with Coach (Bill) Bleil,” said Rhoads. “I would guess we’ll be able to make that decision as well but both of those kids are going to play. That’s not a decision that if lineman X is a starter, he’s going to play the whole game.”

Rhoads expects Iowa State to play “six or seven” offensive linemen throughout the course of a game in 2012.

And last but certainly not least, there’s wide receiver. Senior Josh Lenz and sophomore Jarvis West both appear to be locks at their perspective positions. Who will the third man be?

Redshirt freshman Quenton Bundrage entered camp listed as Iowa State’s No. 1 third receiver. However, Rhoads said that if senior Aaron Horne (who hasn’t been hit all camp long due to a collar bone injury he suffered this spring) is healthy, he could be that man.

Quarterback Jared Barnett said that play from the wide receivers and tight ends has made his job easier this camp compared to last.

“We have a lot of playmakers on the field and from the quarterback position, that makes it a lot easier for me,” said Barnett. “I can just get it down to a guy if nobody is open deep and he can take it deep. It just makes my job a lot easier.”

REDSHIRTS: Other than kicker Cole Netten, Rhoads said that he doesn’t expect any rookies to play as true freshmen this season.

“Very pleased with this class of recruits that we’re able to redshirt them and that they’re doing a great job,” said Rhoads. “We had this discussion yesterday as a staff that in 2009, there would have been a lot of these kids playing. In 2012 they don’t have to, which is a very good thing for our program.”

STANDOUTS: Some guys who stood out during camp? Three defensive linemen immediately came to Rhoads’ head when asked this question.

Ben Durbin is a guy who came in and we didn’t really know much about,” said Rhoads. “He’s shown us that he can be one of those 10-11 guys who we can put on the field with the defensive line.”

Another was JUCO transfer, sophomore Cory Morrissey.

“I think that Cory Morrissey has shown up as he’s gotten more comfortable with the defense. He’s got a great motor,” said Rhoads. “He had that in the spring but sometimes when the motor doesn’t know where it’s driving it doesn’t matter and now it does.”

Nick Kron is the same way as a defensive end. He brings it.”

And then there’s the man who everybody in Ames seems to be giddy about, junior linebacker Jeremiah George.

“He’s had a very good camp,” said defensive coordinator Wally Burnham. “Our problem with that is that against spread offenses, we have to play a nickel back. If you play in your base, you can’t do all of the coverages. We’ll be playing a lot of down and distance situations with him and we’ll have him on the field every snap that we can have him out there. He is a productive football player right now.”

Offensively, then entire group of running backs seemed to have caught Rhoads’ attention over the last two weeks.

Shontrelle Johnson has had a really good camp,” said Rhoads. “It’s really fun to have him back in our offense.”

Another notable is redshirt freshman DeVondrick Nealy.

“DeVondrick Nealy has shown to be the player that we thought he was in the fall,” said Rhoads, who criticized Nealy’s play in the spring. “Nealy didn’t make a lot of people miss in the spring. He’s back to doing that and has been very productive with his carries.”

MESSINGHAM: In a minor note, it looks like new offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham will coach on the field in 2012. Former coordinator Tom Herman used to call plays from the press box.

This is a welcomed change for quarterback Jared Barnett.

“It’s going to help us a lot because even in practice I feel and I’m pretty sure that Steele feels the same way,” said Barnett. “We feel so much more comfortable with him on the sideline knowing that we can come off of the field and he can give us advice or whatever we need to do. We don’t have to worry about him being in the box. “


Paul Rhoads on making a quarterback decision…

“It has been a dead heat but decisions are made by the players. They decide on the field with what they put out there and give us a chance to evaluate.”

Courtney Messingham on big plays…

“I have no problem calling 12 and 13 play drives to get in the endzone but it makes it a lot easier if you can call two or three play drives or even one play drives to get into the endzone.”