Preseason FB Camp Report 8/18/04

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney learned a lot about his team during an 80-play scrimmage Wednesday afternoon. Rainy conditions moved practice to the Bergstrom Indoor Practice Facility, but the Cyclones didn't let that ruin their outlook on the biggest day of preseason camp.

"We got a lot done," said Dan McCarney. "It was a very beneficial scrimmage. We got into a lot of situations in a lot of different places on the field. We came out of it without any major injuries, which was real good. I thought we improved as a football team."

Iowa State's head coach saw another big day from his group of running backs, including starter Stevie Hicks. The third-year sophomore broke a long touchdown run behind some solid blocking up front. Hicks has also excelled in all other categories, and has taken his game to another level.

"Stevie Hicks had an outstanding day and has had a great camp," McCarney said. "He picked up right where he left off in spring football."

What's happening in the depth chart behind Hicks could come as news to many Cyclone fans, who up until two days ago were wondering if freshman Greg Coleman would even play this season. After revealing that the Iowa City West product had risen to third-team status ahead of three newcomers that reported at the same time, McCarney said backup Jason Scales was being pressured by Coleman.

"Greg Coleman continues to do a good job," McCarney said. "He's pushing Jason Scales real hard for that number two spot right now. He's a really fine football player." ISU's head coach also commented on another important element of being a running back in Ames.

"The ball security has been real good out of our backs, and that's all led by Stevie Hicks," McCarney said. "He was outstanding last spring and has been this fall. It's something we want to get back to. That's part of the tradition that was built over many seasons here at Iowa State with our running backs. It's all about being productive, physical blockers, great ball security guys, and unselfish. Stevie is definitely leading that charge right now and is clearly our number one guy."

While the top end of the depth chart is pretty settled at tailback, that's still not the case at quarterback where Bret Meyer and Austin Flynn continue to lock horns on a daily basis for a starting job.

"The quarterbacks made some plays and some mistakes," McCarney said. "There is definitely no decision made there, because they both continue to compete real strong. We'll continue to evaluate them. If we can do something in the next week, then we'll try to finalize it then. But if it takes up until the week of the game, then that's what we'll do. I'm really proud of both of them. They're both playing better than they did in the spring."

On another positive note, quarterbacks coach Todd Fitch continues to increase his work load as the Cyclones prepare for Northern Iowa.

"Having Coach Fitch back is great for the team, for Todd, the quarterbacks, and everyone," McCarney said. "He's out there on his feet some, in the golf cart some, and in most of the meetings. I've got to chase him out of here to get some rest. He's still recovering."

'Voice of the Cyclones' John Walters spoke on freshman cornerback Bobby Chalk's outstanding scrimmage during a radio segment Wednesday afternoon. McCarney took his turn after evaluating both morning and afternoon workouts.

"Bobby Chalk continues to show up and has done a real nice job," ISU's head coach said. "He's still got a long ways to go, but he always shows up and makes plays."

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