Preseason FB Camp Report 8/17/04

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Although he won't know for sure how many newcomers will hit the field during the 2004 season, Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney says he will know a lot more by week's end. That's after the Cyclones go through their two biggest scrimmages of training camp, Wednesday and Saturday.

McCarney would not go into details on what specific players are expected to play right away, but gave a rough estimate on how many.

"I'll know more after these two scrimmages," said Dan McCarney. "Again, it looks like the six junior-college kids that we signed are going to play. Beyond that, we've got to see more scrimmage situations with these other kids. I wouldn't be surprised to see about a dozen newcomers out of that class playing this year.

"(Tim) Dobbins is a lock two-deep. Fabian (Dodd) is really improving. Then you've got the three defensive backs that are working hard. They're not locks, but have a real good chance to at least be backups. Each day that goes on, Terrance Highsmith gets closer and closer to being a guy that we've got to find a way to get him the ball in our offense. He's probably going to be contributing at wide receiver. We'll still take a peak at him in some quarterback things, but he's putting in a lot of time at wide receiver."

Conventional wisdom would indicate these freshman have the best opportunity of playing immediately: running backs Jason Scales, Greg Coleman, Webster Patrick, and Tony Johnson; defensive linemen Collins Eboh and Travis Ferguson; and cornerback Bobby Chalk.

ISU signed five running backs in this class – Scales, Coleman, Patrick, Tyease Thompson, and Brandon Gunn. As of Tuesday's final practice, McCarney said all five remain at their original positions, and are expected to do so at least until the Cyclones break camp.

"They're all at running back," he said. "They all want to be there and we're leaving them there. We're going to continue looking at them. We've got 17 or 18 more practices to go before game time, and we'll leave them there for now."

Much of Tuesday was spent preparing for Wednesday's big scrimmage, which is expected to be approximately 80 plays in length.

"I'd like to get at least 80 plays in, then we'll get into some situations where it might be a six-play minimum or just play it," McCarney said. "We'll get some live situations in the kicking game to evaluate, along with guys covering, blocking, and guys catching the ball and returning it. I'll put them in situations where we have third-and-long, goal-line, two-minute, and fourth-down situations."

McCarney and his staff still have a number of position battles to solve between now and when preparations for Northern Iowa begin. ISU's head coach said he'd like to have a number of choices made by next week.

"I'd like to get out of these two weeks of camp, by the end of the weekend, and have about 95 percent of our decisions made," he said. "We've got two more weeks until game time after we break camp, and there is one more possible scrimmage. But I hope a lot of our decisions can be pretty well finalized by the end of this weekend."


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