Walters Speaks on Preseason Camp

Voice of the Cyclones John Walters was a guest on 1460-AM KXNO's <i>Deace in the Afternoon</i> Wednesday just hours after returning from Iowa State's first big scrimmage of the preseason. Here are some highlights from Walters' segment.

Opened by saying the Bergstrom Indoor Practice Facility was a huge benefit during a rainy morning, as ISU went through its entire 80-play scrimmage inside. Athletic Director Bruce Van De Velde stopped in for about a half-hour during the scrimmage and head coach Dan McCarney spoke with him for a while.

If you were to pick the two or three most important days of camp, this was one of them. It was an important scrimmage to see how guys react during live play. He walked away really pleased about the scrimmage. Felt it was a spirited workout. The players got after it, worked hard, hit hard, and finished plays.

He thought both Bret Meyer and Austin Flynn looked good at times, but made mistakes at times. It's a good battle. When the coaches say they're dead even, there's no reason to think they're not based on today. Most often when two quarterbacks are competing like that, whichever guy takes the snaps with the ones looks pretty good and the guy who takes the snaps with the twos doesn't always look as sharp. Both quarterbacks alternated today.

Flynn made a very good pass to Milan Moses near the goal-line, and the receiver made a terrific catch on the play for a 35-yard gain. Meyer made a great throw to Todd Blythe along the sideline, a terrific throw, for a 25-yard pickup and first down. He feels that no matter who wins that battle, the quarterback position is going to be way ahead of what it was last year.

They're both headed in the right direction, but neither one is there yet. Both have some work to do, but he came away impressed with them. ISU is going to be very good at that position. Whoever wins that battle is going to have earned it, because the other pushed him very hard.

All three JUCO defensive backs had their moments today, although he didn't see Jerry Gair make as many plays as the others. Josh Hargis played pretty well, but was running a lot with the second-team and that made it hard to judge. LaMarcus Hicks is going to be a very good football player. By these three guys coming into camp, it's pushed the returning guys to get a lot better.

He was really impressed with Nik Moser and Steve Paris at the two safety spots. DeAndre Jackson is doing a nice job and has improved a lot. Henry Poullard is an option. Ellis Hobbs is as solid as a rock and a real leader on defense. Thinks secondary could end up being a big strength on team.

Bobby Chalk looked really good today. He is quick and a very fast guy. Chalk is one of those guys you can put in as a cover corner, one-on-one against a real good receiver and feel good about your chances. Returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown today, and made a big hit for a tackle-for-loss on the play before. One of those guys that is going to make plays and be around the football. Has the terrific speed to finish plays.

Tim Dobbins looks like the Florida State players did before the ISU game two seasons ago. Looks the part of an NFL-type athlete. Is a really big and strong physical linebacker that's fast enough to make plays. Dobbins has a great future and has made his presence known already. He had a couple of big collisions in practice. Can fill into that middle role at MIKE linebacker and do a great job.

The experience that Tyson Smith has at the rush end position is big. He was primarily playing at that position today and looked comfortable, as you would expect. That will probably be the way it will play out. Dobbins looks comfortable in the middle, Brandon Brown has played outside in his career so it won't be as big an adjustment, and Smith has played with his hand down and that's not as big an adjustment for him. Coaches are trying to get best players on the field right now.

Greg Coleman is going to be a very good football player for Iowa State. He has a motor, loves to run hard, and doesn't shy away from physical contact. Walters is impressed with all of the freshmen running backs. Jason Scales is going to have a terrific career. We've read that Coleman possibly moving to linebacker or fullback, but Walters likes him as a running back. Coleman is a lot like Stevie Hicks, and is a very physical back that takes on linebackers and gets the two or three extra yards. Coleman looks the part and like he could step in and play as a true freshman.

Tyease Thompson is a guy that will make you miss. He could use a little more maturity and to gain a little weight. But he's a guy that will leave you in the dust and you'll wonder where he went. Could eventually be a slot receiver or running back, and looks very talented at both places.

Brandon Gunn was even listed at defensive back in the media guide, but he looked good as a running back. Walters wouldn't rule him out as a running back yet, either, because he looked good running the ball.

Webster Patrick has a lot of talent and you don't have to watch him very long to realize that.

At 285 or 290 pounds, Tony Johnson is an athlete at fullback. He has a big old butt on him, but he's an athletic guy. It's fun to watch him. If you need two yards, this is a pretty good guy to give it to. He's also a good guy to run behind. Walters thinks he'll help them a lot.

He thought offensive line looked good today. There is definite improvement there and they're a much more aggressive group. Saw them being physical, moving some people off the ball, and creating holes. Stevie Hicks had a long touchdown run that the blocking was terrific on. The offensive line is going to be the key for the offense's improvement.

Todd Miller is getting a lot of competition as a return man, but will be a tough guy to beat out. He's got experience and is pretty solid. If he gets some blocks in front of him he can break long ones. He's capable of that and has good speed. But there are also some other guys that are very capable.


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