Notebook: Injury updates; Rhoads teleconference transcript

Being that it is an off week for the Iowa State football program, head coach Paul Rhoads did not hold a press conference on Monday morning. However, Rhoads did participate in the Big 12’s weekly teleconference.

Notes from what went down are posted below.

Injury report

*** Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Jamison Lalk’s knee injury is “very similar” to Tom Farniok’s, according to Rhoads. 

“As a matter of fact, they are going to put him on the exact protocol that they did Tom,” Rhoads said.

*** Regarding Farniok, there appears to be a very real chance that he’ll see the field on Sept. 26 vs. Tulsa, as Rhoads labeled his top center as “hopeful.”

*** Rhoads said that as of now, the plan is for quarterback Sam Richardson to practice on Tuesday despite his nagging ankle injury.

“We’ve got to get him on the practice field. We plan on him practicing tomorrow and him throwing the ball from the pocket and we will try to get him back involved in the running game by next Thursday.” 

Teleconference transcript

Q: What do you need to see out of the offensive line to get them playing in a way that you need them to? 

PR:There’s a lot of answers to that but the simple piece of it is we need to sustain and finish blocks and whatever the run play is, whether it starts with the double team and the guy goes up the second level to a linebacker or it starts on the line of scrimmage, we need to finish and sustain blocks. The pass game, we need to provide our quarterback longer pass protection. We did not get an opportunity again to throw a handful of balls because the quarterback had to step up before he could release it to an open downfield receiver. A couple times it was just busts turning a guy loose and a couple of times it is technical things that need to get improved upon.

Q: How do you assess the status of your defense, specifically looking at where they were at the start of training camp compared to where they are heading into your second bye week? 

PR:I’m watching it right now. I’ve got the clicker in my hand as a matter of fact. They are much improved from game one. This was a very stout Iowa offensive line and you know, we held the point of attack pretty good. They averaged under three yards per carry when it comes down to the running game. They sized it up with some pass plays that put them in a position where three and four was enough to keep getting them first downs and hold onto the football. I thought we made great progress on defense from game one to game two. I thought that we started to show more of our speed in this game and look forward to a similar type of improvement in the next open week.

Q: It seemed like your defensive ends were more active in this game. I saw Morrissey come around and get Weisman a couple of times. Willie Scott seemed active as well. Is that something you saw? 

PR:Yeah, I did. The first piece of that was just flat out effort. Guys really playing hard and Cory is at the very top of the list and Willie can certainly run. I think we all agree that David Irving showed up as the three-technique and Brandon didn’t as much as the nose guard but he was doing his job. He was executing his responsibilities and at the same time, taking on a lot of double teams. 

Q: Am I wrong in thinking that it is kind of a situation with you guys right now where if it isn’t one thing, it’s another? You wanted to make sure that the passing game was a little bit better this season and it looks like it has been but you have some other areas where it looks like they might not be where they should be. Is that kind of the way that it looks right now?

PR:Oh, I don’t know if I’d go to the extreme that I think that comment is. We’ve got three backup linemen playing for us right now because of injuries going into the second half of that football game. That’s a little patchwork going against a very stout defensive front four for the University of Iowa in my opinion. We’ve got a number of things that need improved upon on offense and I don’t think it’s a put your finger here and then another hole opens type of experience for us.

Q: There’s a lot of talk about how difficult it is to tackle and the overall number of missed tackles in general in college football. Particularly with offenses being spread out all over the field and the right angles and that sort of thing, but also trying to make sure you don’t bang your guys up in practice, is practicing tackling challenging?

PR:No. We practice it all of the time. It’s executing it on game day against great athletes in space as you said. We only missed eight tackles on Saturday night. That’s great tackling. Eighty-some football plays and we only missed eight tackles. That’s great tackling and much improved from where we were in week one. It was an emphasis in practice and I don’t think it is. We wear the pads. We tackle in drills and we are proud of how our guys improved in that particular area.

Q: What do you want to see in the play calling moving forward? 

PR:Well, I want to see us take advantage of things that people give us. We’ve got certain qualities that different receivers can do. We’ve got to take advantage of those qualities and not do what we can’t do. We don’t protect well enough to throw the ball downfield with regularity. We’ve tried to do too much of that. We need to get the ball out of our hand quicker and that starts with the play caller.

What do you feel like they were giving you on Saturday?

PR:There were a number of quick game things that we could have taken advantage. Bubble passes, when we did throw them, we threw them with success. Seven, eight, 10-yard success. We didn’t throw enough of them.