Cyclone Spring Practice Report 2

After a pair of workouts in the Bergstrom Indoor Practice Facility, the Cyclones are finally ready to strap on the pads for Saturday morning's workout in Ames.

Two players that are still finding their way after two workouts are Dixie State (Utah) JUCO transfers Walter Nickel and Scott Fisher.

The duo spoke with following Friday's practice to give some observations of their first spring sessions at ISU.

CN: How have the first two days of spring practice gone?

Nickel: It's been a learning experience. I've had a lot of plays and stuff to learn real quick. But it's all pretty basic. I started every game at Dixie State, and everything is kind of the same but it's worded a little bit different. Give me some more time and I'll have it all down.

CN: Are spring drills different than the ones in junior college?

Nickel: My freshman year was the first year we did padded spring practice at Dixie. I wasn't there for my sophomore year. We did our first padded practice at Dixie, but it was nothing like this. It was a whole other level, as far as competition and energy. I really look forward to practice every day.

CN: You are listed as a first-team H-Back tight end on the depth chart. What are the differences in this spot compared to a regular tight end, where Ben Barkema is listed as the starter?

Nickel: The H-Back is a new position for me and the school. I am the second tight end and they'd like me to learn the H first and then work my way into the Y part, the tight end. The H-Back is the guy that's going to line up in the backfield as a fullback, a guy that's going to play the second tight end in two-tight personnel. You're also going to line up in the slot as a receiver.

It's the kind of tight end I am, a tweener. I'm not a big overpowering tight end, or a quick athletic wide receiver. It's the position I'm being asked to play, and I want to play it.

CN: Have you experienced any stressful moments on the practice field yet?

Nickel: My first day of practice was better than today. I messed up a lot today and got ahead of myself. It's definitely a whole different game when we have pads on, though, so I'll take it from there. The one I messed up on the most is when they were in a five-wide receiver set, I didn't hear it, and went in. It would have made it a four-receiver set with one tight end. Then I ran the wrong route when I was in the wrong package. That was a double mistake and really the gist of it.

CN: So it's the terminology more than anything?

Nickel: Just the names of the plays. I know how to play football and just have to know what they're asking me to do.

CN: What kind of mindset will you have through the remaining 13 practices? What would you like to prove?

Nickel: I just want to be able to go out there and not think about things. I've played football my entire life. When you hear a play you shouldn't have to say, ‘OK, I have go here and then here.' I'd like to get to the point where I hear a play, I'm looking at the defense and figuring it out. I don't want to rack my brain to figure out what I'm doing.

CN: How has the transition gone overall to school and college life?

Nickel: Dixie State is a really good educational school. They're moving towards the university in the next couple of years. Schoolwork wasn't really a transition. I have my teammate here from Dixie, Scott Fisher, so I had a friend right away. The hardest part is always having something to do. You don't have a day where you can sit down and take it easy.

CN: What's your impression of two days of spring practice?

Fisher: Today was better than Wednesday. I started getting into the flow of things. I do need to work on my strength a little bit. Overall, it's actually it's been better than I thought it would be, as far as learning the plays and concepts of it all. It's all real similar (to Dixie) so I've been able to pick it up real fast. I don't know everything, and have made a few mistakes, but overall it's gone real well.

CN: You were listed as a second-team offensive tackle behind Johannes Egbers going into spring. How is the competition going?

Fisher: He is a senior, has been here longer, and knows what he's doing. I'm kind of behind him and watching. I'm talking to him and asking questions about it. But there is some competition there and I'm not just going to let him have it. As soon as I get these plays down, I'm going to give it everything I've got to get to that starting position.

CN: What has been the biggest adjustment so far?

Fisher: It's not really much of anything. I've been through this stuff before. Football is football to me. We've only had two practices. The coaches aren't really stressed out on me, because I don't know all of the plays yet. They're going to expect some of it.

CN: Have you remained in close contact with your brother Paul?

Fisher: I talk to him every once in a while, every time I call home. He and his wife live with my parents right now. But I don't talk to him too much, because I've got so much homework and stuff going on and I need to keep working out.

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