Notebook: Mistakes were mostly mental vs. UNI

AMES — Iowa State’s season-opening 28-20 loss to UNI was a game that Paul Rhoads’ young football team would like to forget. The problem is, Rhoads’ coaching staff will be showing the Cyclones that film for the next week and a half. 

Throughout the early part of Iowa State’s first bye week of the season, the Cyclones have been going to school and according to Rhoads, adjustments that have to be made for future weeks aren’t colossal problems. That is the verdict from film study at least. Mostly, the mistakes were mental and for the most part, fairly simple.

“We could have played a lot better with simple adjustments by personnel and scheme,” Rhoads said after Tuesday’s practice. “It wasn’t like Monday we were in here throwing our arms up (like) ‘What the heck are we gonna do?’ We were going back and teaching immediately what was done wrong adjusting and schematics, just like the guys did at halftime and got better in the second half.”

That is decnet news. You’d much rather be out-brained by UNI than out-manned by the FCS Panthers. 

This was specifically the assessment of Iowa State’s offensive line play, in which quarterback Sam Richardson was sacked five times in the defeat.  

“It was a lot of mental mistakes rather than physically getting beat,” freshman guard/center Jamison Lalk said.” Just keep watching film and being smarter on the field is what Coach K (Klenakis) is pushing. Coach says that we are one of the most talented groups that he has had. It’s not about not being talented. It’s about the will to want to do it and effort-habit is what he talks about.”

Because of Saturday’s performance, Rhoads did tweak Iowa State’s practice schedules for this week by adding more time for individual teaching periods. He also noted that urgency has been up over the last two days. 


Sam Richardson on the difference in ISU’s offense in the first & second halves Saturday…

“Not taking the easy ones I think was the big thing. They were all over the field. You can watch it on film and see guys open. It’s frustrating to see that but it is definitely just not being on the same page with the offense as a whole. I’d say maybe a little bit slower tempo in the second half. I think that was another obvious thing for us. When we got them going fast, we got the big 70-yard touchdown so it’s something that maybe not going as fast and not being on the same page in the second half is what hurt us.”

Injury/personnel notes

*** Sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson was walking around the Jacobson Building in a boot on Tuesday evening. It isn’t serious though. 

“It’s fine. It’s not a problem,” Richardson said. “It was just a football play. It was just getting rolled up on but obviously I played through it. There’s no excuse for what happened or anything. It wasn’t a detrimental injury or anything.” 

Rhoads and Richardson assured the media that he would be fully ready to prepare for and play against Iowa on Sept. 14.

Richardson ran the ball 21 times for 74 yards and was noticeably limping late in the game. 

*** Cornerback Jansen Watson and running back DeVondrick Nealy both missed the UNI game for violating team rules. Rhoads noted that both men would play against Iowa.

Luke Knott’s job?

There was a notable difference in Iowa State’s defense once Luke Knott entered the game for Jevohn Miller midway through the second quarter on Saturday night.

“There wasn’t a ton that needed fixed other than just doing the job at the position and fitting the gap and so forth,” Rhoads said. “Luke came in and did that and the positive play was the result of it.”

Knott ended the first game of his college career with six tackles in relief of Miller, a junior who visibly struggled in the opener. However, Rhoads wasn’t ready to crown Knott as his starting WILL linebacker quite yet.

“I think there will be good competition,” Rhoads said. “I think there might even be a committee at the position as we move forward. Jevohn Miller is a great kid.”

A “great kid” who is also playing with a cast right now.

“There’s a lot of things that people don’t do well with a cast on their hand but we ask our guys to do it at full-speed in a violent and physical game and they’ve got to do it on the run and he didn’t have his best night,” Rhoads said. “He’ll come back and respond. It was fun to look him in the eye and coach him today too.”