Mac Names Starting Quarterback

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Iowa State can finally start preparing for the 2004 football season, and its opener against Northern Iowa, with a starting quarterback. Head coach Dan McCarney broke the news to the media – that Bret Meyer had beaten out Austin Flynn – after Thursday's practice.

Meyer has earned the right to take the field against the Panthers to open his redshirt freshman season, said McCarney, who added that Flynn will also get some early playing time.

"I met with the quarterbacks this afternoon," said McCarney, entering his 10th season as head coach in Ames. "We've had 10 scrimmages from spring and fall, along with all these practices, scrimmages, meetings, and situations. I feel real good about both quarterbacks and respect them both.

"We're going to start Bret Meyer in the Northern Iowa game. Both of those quarterbacks will play against Northern Iowa, and both will play in the first half. Everybody in this program respects both those quarterbacks."

Despite Flynn's starting experience as a redshirt freshman in 2003, the younger Meyer won out in a competition that began during spring practice.

"Bret's been a little more consistent and a little bit more productive," McCarney said. "I really like both of them, but Bret's going to be our starter for the first game. The scrimmaging is over and the evaluation is not. If Bret goes out and throws six interceptions Saturday in the mock game, I might have to re-evaluate. But the bottom line is he's earned it, and I'm really proud of him."

While being excited about the opportunity to start in 10 days, the modest Meyer said he is pleased that the quarterback situation worked out with Flynn still getting consideration.

"It feels good," said Meyer, who led his Atlantic High School team to an Iowa Class 3A championship in 2002. "I'm kind of relieved. I didn't really care either way; I just wanted to know. It changes your mindset up a little bit. It's about 10 days away and I'm ready to go now. I'm chomping at the bit ready to go.

"I'd rather have it where we split time, because he deserves to play so much. I felt we both did a good job moving the offense. He's been nothing but a blessing for everybody, especially me in helping out through this. I was kind of glad the way it turned out and we'd both be getting time."

McCarney always made no secret of the fact he would have rather picked a quarterback prior to 10 days before the season started.

But regardless of that, ISU's head coach feels better about the position than he did 12 months ago at this time when he chose Flynn as the starter over Waye Terry and Cris Love.

"I feel better about our quarterback situation right now than I did at any time last year, and I feel really good about both those guys for the future," McCarney said. "Bret's arm strength, accuracy, and decision-making are a little bit beyond what I would expect from a guy that's coming off a redshirt year and has never played before. I know he's going to show some maturity beyond his years out there."

McCarney stopped short of naming Meyer the starter for the entire season, but says that decision is something he'd like to make following the UNI game, then stick with it.

"We don't want to come out and have a big news conference every week on who is going to start at quarterback," he said. "We'd sure like to (settle on just one quarterback). We really like both, but if both of them play and can help us win and help us move the chains, then we'll keep playing both of them. In the end, we felt Bret was more consistent and more productive. He deserved the shot to be number one against Northern Iowa."

The word on Webster

The Cyclones' backfield is one tailback short with Thursday's announcement that freshman Webster Patrick was ineligible. Once considered the top running back in the Cyclones' class of five, Patrick did not make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse and now appears headed to a junior college.

"Webster Patrick did not make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse and will not be with us this year at Iowa State," McCarney said. "He was with us for a couple weeks in camp, but it came down that. The Clearinghouse said no, we appealed it, and they said no. He'll go to a junior college and we'll continue to evaluate his career.

"He was a number five tailback and was going to be redshirted at Iowa State after two weeks of camp. But we got the word that he wasn't going to be let into school."

Patrick will need to graduate from a JUCO before becoming eligible to play Division I ball again, said McCarney. Would the Cyclones consider recruiting him again in a couple seasons? It depends.

"There are no guarantees on bringing him back," McCarney said. "We saw some good things athletically and football-wise here, but I want to evaluate him as a student. I want to make sure he can come back here and be a successful student at Iowa State, and that's the most important evaluation over the next couple years."

Patrick was on campus through last weekend, but left Ames when he was ineligible to start fall classes.

Other preseason practice notes

Mac reiterated that all six JUCO transfers would be playing this season, along with a select group of freshmen.

"All of the newcomers that I mentioned before are going to play," McCarney said. "All of the junior-college players are definitely going to play. If Tim Dobbins keeps going the way he has, he's going to start. No question, Collins Eboh is going to play as a freshman. I don't think there's any question Tyease Thompson, Greg Coleman, and Tony Johnson are going to play."

The opening day lineup against the Panthers could soon have Kory Pence starting at offensive left guard. McCarney gave Pence high marks for his work yesterday.

"Kory Pence had his best scrimmage since he's been at Iowa State yesterday, and he helped his chances," ISU's head coach said.


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