Much of Iowa State's starting lineup against the Panthers has been set, with the exception of a few spots. Bret Meyer and Austin Flynn continue to battle at quarterback. The left offensive guard position has Fabian Dodd and Kory Pence fighting for consideration. A pool of up to six wide receivers could be rotated through with the ones, so that coaches can get a better idea of who will start.
Defensively, Tyson Smith will likely open the campaign at rush end, but McCarney will still want to get a good look at Korey Smith, Collins Eboh, and Travis Ferguson. The SAM linebacker's job will likely be won by Erik Anderson, but the senior also missed time this week with a minor injury. That means Nick Frere and Boyd Viers could get some reps with the ones and/or twos Saturday.
"Any positions that are not decided, we will (keep the reps) as even as possible," McCarney said. "We'll roll those guys through ones and twos, as equal as possible, so that the supporting cast around them is fairly even. Anytime it's close from a number one standpoint, we'll roll those guys through."
Six junior-college transfers have garnered most of the attention since two-a-days opened early last week. But a pair of true freshmen have come on lately to get their fair share of attention. One is Frere, a Muscatine product who took advantage of more practice time this week. With Anderson on the sidelines nursing a minor injury, Frere began to show coaches that he could be one in a talented class of newcomers to hit the field this fall.
"I don't know if it's going to be this season yet, but I know he's going to be a real good player here in the future," McCarney said. "I'm anxious to see more of him. He's a relentless, blue-collar, hard-nosed linebacker. He has a lot of ability and the intangibles you look for at a linebacker. He's going to be a good player."
Another emerging talent is freshman tailback Tyease Thompson. Although the ex-Florida prep is still behind starter Stevie Hicks and fellow classmates Jason Scales and Greg Coleman in the depth chart, Thompson is making it hard for coaches to redshirt him this fall.
"Scales and Coleman – the battle is on right now for the number two spot, then Tyease Thompson is the next in line," McCarney said. "The first two weeks we've seen he's got talent and feet. He's not nearly as physical as Coleman, but he's a real good athlete. No question, he's going to be a real fine player."