Spring Practice Report Six

As Iowa State players and coaches prepared for the first big scrimmage of the spring, momentum shifted to the offense after a shortened workout on Friday. A pair of quarterbacks started to distance themselves from the competition, and a third tailback many Cyclone fans may have written off started to make an impact.

Cyclone head coach Dan McCarney praised the work of his group on day six, and that included quarterbacks Austin Flynn and Bret Meyer, who are starting to make it a two-horse raise at their position. Tailbacks Stevie Hicks and Jason Scales have made most of the headlines this spring, but veteran reserve Brian Thompson earned mention after his work Friday.

"We did some things better offensively than we had in the first five practices," said McCarney. "We made some third-down conversions and had some flow and rhythm. We moved the chains, got into some team pass drills, got some third-and-long and goal-line situations. We were trying to get ready for some of the things we'll go live in tomorrow.

"It was good to see. Brian Thompson made a couple of nice runs. Bret Meyer and Austin Flynn did some good things throwing the ball today. It's going to be real competitive tomorrow. We need a real good scrimmage. We're going to go in the stadium and hopefully it's going to be 90 to 100 plays. It's going to be a big day, and we need to find out a lot. It's a very important scrimmage. The depth chart will be a lot more meaningful after tomorrow."

Friday's workout coincided with the Cyclones' annual coaching clinic, which will draw between 300 and 400 participants this weekend. Although it was a picture-perfect day in Ames, McCarney moved practice inside and opened it with an hour-long demonstration period, where high school coaches were able to observe the ISU staff working with players. A Friday evening banquet brought an earlier-than-normal end to practice.

"It's a great atmosphere when you can go out there and coach with all of those tremendous coaches out there watching," McCarney said. "Our players get a chance to practice in front of a bunch of them."

In an interview with CycloneNation.com afterwards, quarterbacks coach Todd Fitch gave the indication that Meyer and Flynn have started to move ahead of closest competitive Cris Love.

"We certainly want to (name a starter by the end of spring), and that's our goal," said the first-year coach. "I can't promise anything. Mac and I have talked quite a bit about it. I'm not looking to name one over the other. We're going to be honest and open with it. They will separate themselves.

"We have already had a little separation in the group. We want a guy that's going to make good decision, has good leadership characteristics, and the ability to make plays with his feet, arm, mind, and put our offense in a good position to be successful. Over the next three scrimmages that will surely shake out.

The rest of Fitch's comments will be posted in a question-and-answer story to coincide with Friday's practice report.

ISU will host a two-hour scrimmage at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. It will be closed to the media, but the public is apparently welcome to attend.

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