AMES — Cole Netten has been wildly inconsistent so far this season and because of it, the junior is in the thick of a kicker competition leading up to Iowa State’s (2-3, 1-2) Saturday evening date with No. 3 TCU (6-0, 3-0).
Netten, who is 7-for-12 on field goal attempts this season, will duel it out with walk-on Chris Francis (a redshirt freshman out of Dubuque) this week. During his weekly Monday press conference, Rhoads noted that Netten is still the front-runner to keep the job.
“He should be kicking come Saturday,” Rhoads said. “Chris has improved and I say that with the game, his opportunity was a poor kick that he got out there. We went right out with Cole after with the kickoff. He kicked exceptional with his kickoffs on Saturday and his coverage was outstanding. No, Cole should be the guy. But they will compete this week and we will chart it.”
Francis, as Rhoads noted, had one opportunity in last weekend’s 66-31 loss to Texas Tech, where he made a PAT.
The key question here: What’s wrong with Netten, a veteran who was a 75 percent field goal kicker during his first two seasons at Iowa State?
“I say it over and over but whether if it is a guy shooting free throws or a guy’s golf swing or his tennis serve or whatever it is, when something gets off and the mind gets off, it’s hard to get it back on,” Rhoads said. “He’s inconsistent at best. He’s hitting some balls exceptionally well. When something goes wrong whether if it is his foot placement or whatever it is, it’s an inconsistent result. He’s got to get cured. I can’t go out and kick it for him. He’s got to get cured.”
Jhaustin Thomas update
After Jhaustin Thomas left the Tech game with an undisclosed foot injury, Iowa State could be without one of its starting defensive ends vs. TCU.
“He’s in a boot right now,” Rhoads said. “It’s more of a healing method than something where he can’t use it. Wearing a boot helps him get back on it faster than walking around on it early in the injury process. We are going to prepare him to play on Saturday and we will see as the week goes on.”