"It looks like Dobbins and those three junior-college defensive backs are all going to be able to help us as ones, twos, or swing guys," said McCarney. "He's fast and physical. So far it looks like he's got a real chance to help us.
"Is he a linebacker or defensive end? We're not sure, but he's a darn good football player. He's working real hard, and is real intense and coachable. He's spent a lot of extra time trying to learn. The next couple of days are going to be real important to evaluate him."
Friday was Iowa State's fifth practice day of preseason camp, and that meant more evaluation before the start of two-a-days and the initial scrimmage this weekend.
"We got a lot done and had a nice long physical practice," McCarney said. "We didn't scrimmage or anything and were high and hard thud, but with full pads on you can get a good look at things. We're still in the process of installing some things with just being our fifth day.
"We'll know a lot more over the next few days. The kids will start separating themselves, as far as who is going to play, who is not, who has the best chance to start, and which newcomers are definitely going to play. We've got a lot of work to do over the next couple weeks."
This weekend could also be the beginning and end of some decisive position battles. McCarney said some heated competition is taking place at a number of areas.
"Four of the five (offensive line) positions are very solidified right now, and then the left guard we have a lot of guys working," he said. "We're rotating three and four guys in there trying to find the best one and best backups. The tight end position is very competitive, wide receiver is very competitive, and the quarterback. Stevie Hicks continues to have a great camp at running back, and then we're looking at the five newcomers."
Highsmith's addition to the wide receiving corps, even if it's been on a part-time basis, has served to intensify a position that has been competitive since last spring.
"Nothing has really changed and it's still real close," McCarney said. "They're all rotating in and fighting for number one. The same guys that were battling for one are available, and then you throw Highsmith in the mix as a guy that's fighting for playing time. Andy Kohler, Jon Davis, Todd Miller, Todd Blythe, Ryan Baum, Milan Moses – all of those guys that were there in the spring are competing real good right now."
Always reluctant to release injury news during the preseason, McCarney did report on one Cyclone defensive back who could be lost for the season. Reserve Gabe Bakker, who spent some time on the first-team last spring, suffered a knee injury during a non-contact drill Thursday. Bakker's status was to be determined after an MRI today.