Preseason FB Camp Report 8/11/04

<b>AMES, IA --</b> A pre-training camp position change continues to heat things up at offensive guard, where on Wednesday Iowa Central transfer Fabian Dodd continued to push veteran reserves Kory Pence, Johannes Egbers, and Bastian Schober for starting consideration.

Dodd may be raw on the offensive side of the ball and lack the experience of his competitors, but McCarney likes the potential he sees from the former Iowa player.

"It's competitive and I'm a long ways from making a decision on who the starter is going to be," said ISU's head coach. "I like the transition with Fabian. He showed some things out there today just with shoulder pads and helmets on. He did some good things in pass protection today. He's an athlete, but has so much to learn.

"It's tough playing in the offensive line and that takes some time. But Coach (Barney) Cotton is coaching the heck out of him, and we're going to give him a lot of looks."

In some other news along the offensive line, McCarney said Schober is now getting reps at both guard and center. Egbers, meanwhile, has shown the versatility to play both the right and left guard spots.

One more minor position change has been made in the days since players reported. Boyd Viers, who has battled back from numerous injuries during his Cyclone career, is now competing with Erik Anderson and Kurtis Taylor at SAM linebacker. Defensive coaches decided a move from WILL would be Viers' best opportunity at playing time.

McCarney and coordinator John Skladany continue to be impressed with Shawn Moorehead and Korey Smith at rush end, which means the odds of Tyson Smith staying at WILL linebacker are rising.

"We're leaving Tyson up just like we talked about," McCarney said. "If we continue to see the kind of things we want out of Moorehead and young kids like Korey Smith, we'll leave Tyson alone. Time will tell. We've got a lot of practices to go yet."

The Cyclones also appear to be a few days away from any changes at the running back position, where coaches have to decide the short-term futures of freshmen like Brandon Gunn and Greg Coleman.

"We've got all of those guys still at running back," McCarney said. "In the next week or so we'll make a decision on what we'll do with Gunn. Is he going to stay at running back or are we going to take a look at him in the secondary? Are we going to leave Greg at running back or let him play some fullback, too? We're sifting through it right now."

After the conclusion of Wednesday afternoon's practice, McCarney had some more good news to share on quarterbacks coach Todd Fitch. After undergoing a successful operation at Rochester's Mayo Clinic on Monday, Fitch has been ruled cancer-free. McCarney said his first-year coach wants to return to action in just a few days.

"He's hoping to be back by the weekend and start back to work on a limited basis next week," McCarney said. "Just getting back to the meetings will be good for him. Then we'll get him on a golf cart, then when he feels strong enough to get back on his feet we'll get him rolling."

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