Practice Report: Fall camp is underway

AMES — It wasn’t pretty but it never is. That’s the first day of fall camp, or training camp, or practice – whatever you want to call it.

The 2012 Iowa State football team experienced this on a hot Friday afternoon in the intramural fields just east of Jack Trice Stadium.

“There’s not a first day of training camp that’s not rusty and ragged and sloppy and this fulfilled all of those traits for the first day of training camp,” said head coach Paul Rhoads. “It’s been since the middle of April since we’ve even coached them in the game of football. They’ve ran and lifted and done all of that but they haven’t played the game of football or been coached playing the game of football for a long time. To come out here and not be very clean is expected. Whether we jumped offsides or false started, both sides of the ball didn’t catch the ball well. We didn’t throw the ball particularly well. But it’s nothing to be longed about. The kids were trying to work through it. You are far from being in football shape at this point and as long as they understand all of those things and work to change them, we’ll be fine.”

Energy and effort weren’t the problem. Rhoads wasn’t upset with the way his team came out and performed. It’s working out the offseason kinks – plain and simple.

“It’s just a matter of getting back to understanding what roles and responsibilities are and what a cadence is with helmets and knee bend and pads and so forth,” said Rhoads. “There was no shortage of energy.”

The first day of camp is as bland as they come. Media is allowed to watch so you don’t see much. However in the two-plus hours of watching the Cyclones workout, I did take a few notes on things that stood out to me.


— Paul Rhoads is a football coach. What I mean is that unlike a lot of head coaches across America, this man actually coaches. It’s not intrusive. He lets his assistants do their jobs. But throughout practice on Friday, Rhoads was constantly teaching. I saw him spending a lot of time with Iowa State’s crop of young defensive backs.

— Junior running back Shontrelle Johnson looked awfully crisp out there for having not played football in nearly a year. Johnson, who missed the majority of 2011 with a neck injury, showed off his explosiveness a handful of times.

— Going into Friday, I knew that Iowa State’s young group of wide receivers was big but this group looked very un-Iowa State-like. For real. Dondre Daley (6-3, 170) and Quan West (6-4, 208) both made me double-take when I saw them for the first time. These are some good looking cats folks.

— As is junior tight end Ernst Brun. I’m no Kirk Herbstreit but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t contribute to Iowa State’s passing game in 2012. The emergence of a legitmate receiving threat at tight end would do wonders for whoever Iowa State’s quarterback is this fall.

— Speaking of quarterbacks, Sam Richardson throws a BEAUTIFUL football. As does Grant Rohach for that matter. The future looks bright at that position for Iowa State.

— I know what you’re thinking…You want to know who looked better Jared Barnett or Steele Jantz right? I don’t know. I really don’t know. As Rhoads mentioned in his Thursday presser, this thing is going to go down to the wire. Even if one did have an edge on the other today, the Cyclones were running around in shorts. It means next to nothing.

— For those who keep asking about senior defensive end Rony Nelson (who isn’t listed on Iowa State’s current depth chart), he did practice on Friday.