QBs Move Inside & Make Strides

Perhaps it took moving inside to the Lied Recreation Center to get Iowa State's quarterbacks to show some signs of improvement. While the top three signal callers didn't have to deal with the harsh wind and cold of Saturday's scrimmage, offensive coordinator Steve Brickey cited some strides his players have made mentally in the past two days.

First-teamer Cris Love and reserves Austin Flynn and Waye Terry all were models of efficiency Monday afternoon, drawing some praise from the Cyclone coach.

"I actually saw a little bit of improvement on a few things out of the quarterbacks," said Brickey, who indicated that Love remained the number one quarterback coming out of Saturday. "They did a couple things a little better. They saw a few things a little quicker, reacted to them a little quicker and got the ball thrown to the right guy sooner.

"Now, was it always a great throw? No, but there was a little bit clearer and better reaction to some things. On a few others they didn't quite make the play, but we were close to doing some things."

Love made the biggest play of Monday's practice when he hooked up with Lane Danielsen for a 50-yard touchdown during team drills. ISU's offensive front picked up the blitz nicely and Love remained in the pocket to make a sharp pass over the middle to Danielsen.

The pass was one of three Love in seven attempts, but another was right on the mark but dropped by wide receiver Jamaul Montgomery. It also marked the second consecutive practice without an interception for Love, who had been haunted by costly mistakes in the first six days of workouts.

Terry completed 2-of-4 passes for 13 yards, and added a 25-yard strike to Andy Kohler in 7-on-7 drills. Flynn, meanwhile, netted 27 yards through the air on 3-of-5 completions. He added a nice 10-yard scramble when the pocket broke down.

Not much has changed in the quarterback rotation from Saturday's scrimmage to Monday, and it probably won't until later in the week, said ISU head coach Dan McCarney.

"They're all very close and we're going to keep rolling them through, splitting time with the ones and twos," he said. McCarney also noticed the improvement from his quarterbacks in handling pressure.

"We're throwing in a few more blitzes at our quarterbacks right now, and our whole offense," he said. "If you always get out there and it's always a base look with four or five guys coming, I've got a chance to complete a couple. But when you've got the bullets flying and it's full speed, you've still got to execute. We got some good work done on that today."

The conclusion of Saturday's scrimmage brought the first wave of changes to the depth chart. Brett Kellogg moved ahead of Kenny Segin and James Wright, who had been listed as the top two heading in. SAM linebacker Nik Moser continued his defensive onslaught this spring. Since moving into the defensive front to open practice, it has taken him just seven practices to unseat Erik Anderson as the starter.

On offense, Hiawatha Rutland is now the clear number one tailback, with Michael Wagner, Brian Thompson and Stevie Hicks filling out the rest of the depth chart. The right guard spot is a little more cloudy, as Seth Zehr and Aaron Brant are on an even plane.

"Nik Moser is really improving and has moved ahead of Erik Anderson, coming out of Saturday's scrimmage," McCarney said. "Hiawatha Rutland is our number one tailback as of today. Stevie, Wags and B.T. are all doing a good job, but Hiawatha has the edge right now. Brett Kellogg is our number one tight end. It's an everyday thing, it's real close and we're going to keep rolling all those three. With Brant and Zehr, it's too close to call. We've got them on the same line. The good news is they're both going to play and play good for us next year."

A few more changes to the depth chart could come after an abbreviated scrimmage Wednesday. The Cyclones will kick off with an hour-long practice, then wrap up the day by scrimmaging.

"We don't miss a beat whatsoever," McCarney said, referring to his team's move inside Monday. "We were out here trying to make corrections from Saturday's scrimmage. We had a few too many mental errors on Saturday, and those are things that to me are coaching.

"Today was also a little bit of installation, but not much. We've got about 95 percent of our stuff in right now. It was a good fundamental practice, we got a lot done and we're going to go about an hour practice in on Wednesday and then get a good scrimmage in after that."

Notes from Monday's practice

Wagner rated as the most productive tailback Monday, statistically, breaking a 50-yard touchdown run in which he made Stevie Paris miss badly on his way to the end zone. Nick Leaders and Moser made a nice tackle for loss on Rutland in team drills. Earlier in practice, Rutland used a key block from Kenny Segin to score a touchdown in an inside drill. Hicks added a 23-yard run, but that was about the lone bright spot as the heralded redshirt freshman didn't see much running room.

Monday's practice certainly didn't lack for intensity, as offensive lineman Cale Stubbe and rush end Tyson Smith went at it briefly grabbing each other's facemasks. Despite being at a size disadvantage, cornerback Harold Clewis provided one of the memorable hits when he stood up a hard charging Hicks coming around the corner.

Some top defensive players further down the depth chart included Wade Boehm and Jared Otto, who each recorded sacks of Kyle Van Winkle.

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