Media Day News and Notes

Seneca Wallace won't be returning to lead Iowa State in 2003, and that has various preseason prognosticators predicting some down times for the football program this fall. It isn't the first time ISU has prepared for a season without many expectations from the outside, and it figures to be a motivating factor in team huddles.

Preseason predictions won't go unnoticed

Always one to use the ‘underdog' or ‘lack of respect' themes with his players, McCarney said it wouldn't take much to get his players excited for the season and prove the outsiders wrong.

"Outside we see a 62nd, 72nd, 56th and fifth in the Big 12 North," he said. "We see everybody else going to postseason play, except for Iowa State when you read magazines. I don't have to fabricate the lack of respect from the outside or lack of notoriety or faith they have in this program. That's what it is. It isn't one coach, player or staff member, they just look at it and say you can't reload after Seneca Wallace and they've peaked out. We're not even close to hitting the peak of this program."

If the season plays to form with preseason prognosticators, and the Cyclones spent the bowl season at home, what would McCarney think?

"You stop and think about sitting at home over the Holidays after this school had 22 years without it," he said. "Just to think about that makes me sick to my stomach. I don't even want to think about it. We've got tradition in place now. The players and coaches expect it.

"Put the Raiders, Ravens or Packers on the schedule and we still want to go to postseason play at the end of the year. The administrators in our conference have worked hard to make sure we have these opportunities at the end of the year. We've got to find a way and hopefully have a choice at the end of the year where there is not just one possibility and there are a number of teams that want us to come. The tradition is there that we'll travel fans and that we're an exciting football team."

Newcomers face quick transition

Due to new NCAA rules for preseason camps, freshmen and veterans are required to report on the same day and practice together. That has made for some uneasiness, as first-year players are being forced to adapt to the rigors of training camp early.

"It was different going to practice today and not having those three days with the freshmen before you start with everybody else," McCarney said. "It's an NCAA rule and it's fair. We're all under the same rules. But it is hard on those young kids that don't know where to line up and anything about it. We have had no previous meeting time. We've got to coach them on the run and they've got to learn on the run.

"We have made some adjustments to the practice schedule. When you only go one-a-days, which we will, practices will be a bit longer. Once we get into two-one-two-one-two, you're trading a morning practice for a walk through, which is legal. You can go out and walk through, just so long as it's not full speed and you don't have a ball. So we're lengthening the one practice we have and doing some conditioning on those one-a-day practices that we didn't do when we were going two-a-days. The days that we go two, the only ones that will run are the ones that didn't make their shuttle time or had any pre-snap penalties or penalties in practice. Other than that, our two-a-day practices will remain very similar."

It's too early to say which of the freshmen would or wouldn't play this season, but McCarney raved about the athleticism and speed of this group.

"I will be anxious to see how some of these young guys come in," he said. "Jason Berryman was all over the place this morning. Most of the time in the wrong place, but he is really athletic and quick and fast. We've got to bring those guys along. Ron Prelow jumped out there and it looks like he's real quick and fast. It's a good group of kids and we're really trying to put a premium (on speed)."

Injury news

Although the team received a clean bill of health overall, ISU will be without the services of offensive linemen Kory Pence and Cory Wierson indefinitely, McCarney said. Pence, who sat out with a broken bone in his foot after an accident during winter workouts, re-broke the bone this summer. Meanwhile, Wierson continues to be hampered by knee problems after a torn ACL ended his true freshman year prematurely.

"Pence re-broke a bone and we're going to X-Ray it again August 11 and will take a look at it," McCarney said. "Hopefully he'll be able to come back and get in the mix for the first game. It all comes down to the healing of the bone. He's not with us right now.

"Cory Wierson has not responded since surgery last fall. No one has worked harder and he's one of the strongest kids on the team. He benched 450 pounds. But right now there is constant swelling and fluid in his knee, so he won't be in the 105 and won't be in the picture at all for the first game. We'll see how it goes as the season goes on."

McCarney added that Chris Whitaker, Eric Schmitz, Waye Terry, Beau Klaffke, Andy Leaders, Boyd Viers and Nick Linder, who each missed time this spring for various reasons, returned to the field Wednesday.

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