While I was on my way back to Iowa from San Antonio, Cyclone Fanatic’s ace intern Jared Stansbury tackled Iowa State football interviews for me. In addition to Paul Rhoads’ statement on Rodney Coe, I found a few quotes from two different players especially interesting.
Let’s start with junior running back DeVondrick Nealy, a guy who could be on the verge of his breakout season as a Cyclone. He discussed the difference in philosophy for Iowa State running backs under Terry Ayeni.
"Mostly being patient," Nealy said. "Last season there was more emphasis on trying to make a big run every time that I get the ball. I don’t have to do that now. When I see something, hit it fast when it opens up. I don’t have to rush and try to make something happen."
The quote that really grabbed me though was this one.
"I feel like this is what I’ve been waiting for the last two or three years that I have been at Iowa State to get the time that I am going to play this year."
Aaron Wimberly will enter fall camp as "the guy," at running back, but this will be a two-horse race. In fact, I’m still surprised that we didn’t see Nealy more early on last season.
Nealy, who accounted for only 165 rushing yards last year (with two touchdowns), should be a high-impact guy now that he is an upper-classman.
I’m not trying to stir the pot here – I swear. But unless you were living in a cave during last season, you heard rumblings of Iowa State’s offensive linemen having a less than stellar relationship with former position coach Chris Klenakis. That’s why this Brock Dagel quote stood out to me while watching Jared’s video (above).
"He’s very player friendly and very knowledgeable too," Dagel said in reference to Klenakis’ replacement, Brandon Blaney. "He does a great job of coaching and teaching his new techniques which is definitely a change from Coach K. He’s a great all around guy and we all love him."
Again, not trying to stir the pot but as far as morale goes, Iowa State’s offensive line’s tone could not be more different than it was during fall camp last year. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing. You want a coach that pushes the players. But how far is too much?
We’ll have to wait and see how this adjustment plays out.