Brickey Post-Spring Q&A (Part I)

In the first of a two-part question and answer session with offensive coordinator Steve Brickey, CN gets some post-spring comments on some position battles that figure to pick back up when the Cyclones return for fall practice.

CN: Let's start with some of the positions that weren't as settled in the closing days of spring practice. Does Aaron Brant remain the starter at offensive right guard?

Brickey: I don't know if I'd say he's the clear starter, but he is the starter coming out of spring ball. He did some really good things this spring and came a long way for a brand new guy like he is. He could still be a senior in high school. He's still got a ways to go and there are still times where he is a little bit unsure in there and hesitates slightly. But that will come along and happen. When he does know what to do, he definitely has some ability.

Seth Zehr had a real fine spring and we think is going to be a real quality player as well. Probably, as we speak, he'd be a guy that might also end up giving us some depth at other positions. But he and Aaron will continue to battle that thing out at right guard.

CN: With 15 spring practices behind you, does this offensive line have the potential to be better than last year's group?

Brickey: I think so. I don't think there's any question we've got a little more ability, pure physical ability and are a little bit bigger. And we've also developed a little more depth than we had a year ago to where maybe the same guys don't have to take every single snap and get worn down. This will be a better group.

CN: Other than your starting five heading into fall camp (Bob Montgomery, Casey Shelton, Cale Stubbe, Luke Vander Sanden and Brant), what other linemen could impact the game rotation?

Brickey: Certainly Seth Zehr. We're hopeful that Kory Pence can be involved in that, although he wasn't able to do much this spring. But the little bit he was out there, he looked as if he'd improved from the fall. Certainly Matt Bockes has proven he can play effectively for us at times. Collin Menard had a decent spring and improved himself a little bit, and he played quite a bit last fall. We wouldn't hesitate to put him out there. The other guy that has improved is Johannes Egbers and is definitely ahead of where he was a year ago at this time. Overall, we've just got a deeper group of guys we feel we could put out on the field and have a chance to continue to function well.

CN: You lost Waye Terry midway through spring practice and turned your attention to Cris Love and Austin Flynn to battle it out at quarterback. Would you have liked to have seen a quarterback emerge as the clear leader heading into fall?

Brickey: I think you'd always prefer to have one guy that's clearly the guy. I don't know that the spring was disappointing in the regard, because I think all three of those guys improved in some ways. If we didn't have a clear-cut guy because they all hadn't performed well, then I'd be a little concerned. But I think there was improvement and yet not drastic improvement. Waye getting hurt hindered him from continuing to improve.

In some ways it was a good spring. You always wish you would have had one guys surface, but that hasn't happened so far, so we'll keep going with it.

CN: What about Austin Flynn impressed you?

Brickey: I think Austin's toughness. He's not a real big, strong guy physically but he's a tough guy. He's got pretty good instincts for the game and moves around well. He probably moves around a little better than I thought he did when we chose to recruit him. So that's a plus.

But he's got a ways to go on some things, and he's a hard worker and conscientious kid so I know he'll do everything he can to improve in the areas he needs.

CN: Which quarterback has the top spot going into fall drills?

Brickey: Love's still number one. He graded the highest overall this spring. He was the most consistent and made consistently the best decisions. He just graded a bit higher and that's how we arrive at these things.

CN: Were the interceptions a concern?

Brickey: He really just had one day where he had three of them. Other than that day, he didn't throw that many interceptions in any of the real, live actual scrimmages. Anytime we throw an interception, it's a concern. But other than that one day where he had a bad day, he did pretty well with ball security. He also improved his ball security in the pocket and when he's getting hit or scrambling executing the option.

CN: You have to be happy with the way the tailbacks performed this spring.

Brickey: I don't think there's any question we're better. (Hiawatha) Rutland is back to healthy, full speed and playing even better and faster than he ever has. Stevie Hicks has a great deal of ability and showed it at times. He's still a young guy that's feeling his way a little bit at times, but there's no doubt he's got a lot of talent. I think he really finished up strong and had a good game Saturday.

Then we've got Mike Wagner who's been a proven performer around here and is just as solid as they get. He's not real flashy, but is a tough guy that never makes mistakes. I'm sure he'll be a contributor again this season. Brian Thompson played towards the end of the season last year and showed some flashes of being an effective guy.

I'm real encouraged with the young fullback, Ryan Kock. Although he's a young guy, he'll do nothing but get better and better. I feel real good about where we're at at running back.

CN: With all of the established depth, how do you plan to divvy up the playing time?

Brickey: It's all about production. Whoever's producing is going to play. That's just the way it is. Those kids know that. It forces them to come ready to work every day and make sure they're on top of their game. It will sort itself out in terms of who is producing. That will decide who gets the reps.


AllCyclones Top Stories