1 – For so many reasons, I’m happy about how Dan McCarney’s return trip to Ames went down last week under the leadership of new Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell.
Starting off, I feel like the younger generation of Cyclone fan (many of whom frequent this website on a daily basis) got its first impression of the legendary McCarney, who was the pioneer of modern day Iowa State football.
Hey senior in high school…you see those state-of-the-art facilities and that bowled in end zone? None of that happens without Mac and the foundation he built.
It’s easy for fans to forget, but the actual players padding up for your favorite team are part of that generation and according to Campbell, McCarney’s words left quite the impact.
“I knew of his passion for this place and his energy but how can you not embrace that? What he did to this program. What he created,” Campbell explained following Saturday’s spring scrimmage. “That’s what you hope – you can leave this place a better place and Mac did. He made this place something relevant. What’s defining in legacy and success is when you come back and you have 55 former players – and one guy flies back from Italy – to hear you speak. That’s how you know you did something right.”
McCarney’s speech to the current Cyclones made an impact with one specific player – that being college football’s top freshman running back from a year ago, Mike Warren.
“It was great to hear his stories about our hall of fame running back (Troy Davis),” Campbell said. "He was a pretty special guy because he had the ability to bring it every day. He’s a guy who would rush for 300 yard and then on Sunday was the guy who won sprints. For a guy like Michael Warren to hear that is huge.”
Campbell stressed that with Warren, who rushed for 1,339 yards in his freshman season with the Cyclones, following Mac’s address to the team.
“He has to learn how to be that guy every day,” Campbell said.
Campbell added another tidbit from his time with McCarney. When the two first spoke (right after Campbell got the job), Mac talked his ear off (on the phone) for a good hour and a half.
Mac is one windy dude but gosh do we love him. There’s no doubt about it.
2 – Just a couple of leftover notes from Saturday’s scrimmage as we turn our attention towards Saturday’s spring game:
— Julian Good-Jones and Patrick Scoggins are two offensive linemen who were brought up multiple times in the post-scrimmage media session. Good-Jones is a 6-foot-5, 27-pound redshirt freshman.
“Julian Good-Jones is a young man that I have high expectations for,” Campbell said. “He’s had what I think are 12 really good practices.”
Scoggins, a 6-foot-1, 293-pound senior missed last year due to a nasty knee injury. The fact that he is being talked about is encouraging considering the lack of depth at this position group. At the time of his injury, it was unclear how/if he would be able to play again.
— One more on the offensive line, because of depth issues and how the spring has gone, I would go ahead and pencil Nick Fett in as a starting guard for the season opener.
“If you watch Nick Fett’s film from last season, even if it was only a game and a quarter, you’d say that it was really good,” Campbell said. “Nick has really improved and what I think is really high-end ability. We think he can play really well for us.”
3 – Here’s the scoop on Iowa State’s latest football commitment, Jeff Nogaj out of Ohio. He worked out for this current staff at Toledo last year and they absolutely fell in love with him. What’s not to like about the 6-foot-4, 324-pound frame?
His lack of offers and that’s a good thing, according to a birdie of mine. Iowa State feels like they found a hidden gem here.
Time will tell.
4 – A quick basketball recruiting tidbit for you guys today: I’m hearing that Iowa State will likely be a factor in the recruitment of a graduate transfer out of St. Johns named Christian Jones. He’s a 6-foot-7 power forward who averaged 8.4 and 5.2 on a really bad team last season.
5 –It’s crazy to me how much the grad-transfer game has changed in five years. When Fred Hoiberg first got to town, it would be Iowa State and maybe two or three other schools competing for really good players (guys like Jake Anderson and more recently DeAndre Kane). Now, everybody is doing it. For an average player, a school like Iowa State has twice the competition.