Cyclone Spring Practice Report 4

Iowa State put a wrap on its fourth day of spring practice with a 40-play scrimmage. Offensive stars Bret Meyer and Stevie Hicks continued to impress on a beautiful spring afternoon in Ames. Cyclone head coach Dan McCarney spoke on a variety of issues after the practice, including the Monday rulings on four players.

CN: How about some comments on today's practice and abbreviated scrimmage?

McCarney: There were some good plays on both sides. Bret Meyer picked up where he left as the offensive MVP of the bowl game. He has been real sharp. Bret Meyer and Stevie Hicks were outstanding on offense, but we threw and caught the ball pretty well tonight.

We only had a 40-play scrimmage, and had a good hour-and-a-half practice in first. We got some work out in the field and red zone. We also got some good work with our field goals.

CN: Any players in particular that have stood out in recent days?

McCarney: I really like (walk-on placekicker) Corey Paetznick and think he will be in the thick of things. He transferred in and sat out last year, but he has a strong leg. It's going to take a lot of evaluation this spring and in two-a-days before we find out who our starting kicker is. They all have some potential; there is some talent out there.

CN: How has the offensive line held up through four days of workouts?

McCarney: We've got to find more Big 12 offensive linemen. There are a lot of big, strong, coachable guys, but they have to show us out there in these game situations that we can win with them in the fall. Barney is coaching the heck out of them. It's good competition, and that's without Scott Stephenson in the mix right now.

CN: Does Fabian Dodd continue to impress you as a fall starting candidate?

McCarney: He's got Big 12 talent and excellent athleticism. Of course he's made the transition from defense a year ago, and now has to be more consistent. He can play winning football for us if he's more consistent. I like his athleticism and quickness. If he can sit in there and block Nick Leaders or Brent Curvey, he can block anybody in our league.

CN: There was a release saying that defensive end Cephus Johnson has been cleared for spring practice. What were the details of that decision?

McCarney: He was held out of practice Friday and Saturday, then there was an appeal to a committee to present his case. That was done today and they said he was fine to practice the rest of the spring and we'll see what happens with the legal charges.

CN: Can you elaborate on the decisions Monday to dismiss Jerry Gair and Tyease Thompson from the team?

McCarney: It's been a day-to-day evaluation with those guys. I released a statement and really don't have much more to say about it. It's about being a citizen, student, and athlete. There weren't any new incidents. I was in contact with the police frequently about their situation. I'm not saying their innocent or guilty in that situation, but there's a lot more to it.

If I dismiss somebody in this program, it's a collection of things and not just one thing. My expectations are for them to be a gentleman off the field, classy representatives of the program, and warriors on the field. If they're not and have repeated problems, then I will eliminate the problem. That's what I did.

CN: On the other hand, defensive lineman Nick Davidson was not involved in any publicized off-field issues. What was the reasoning behind his dismissal?

McCarney: It's a number of things with his responsibilities as a student-athlete. There were no legal issues or arrests.

CN: This should open up some opportunities for other players in the depth chart.

McCarney: There were three scholarship players. Somebody else has got to step up in their place. We're real thin in the defensive line right now. Jason McGinty hasn't been practicing. He has a hamstring from Cyclone Olympics, so he's standing around watching. He needs more work than anybody on this football team.

There is real good competition at wide receiver. R.J. Sumrall showed up again tonight, as he always does. We like him a lot even though we redshirted him last year. Austin Flynn showed up again tonight. It's a move that I'm sure will be permanent, unless there are injuries at quarterback.

CN: Meyer seems to be playing at a different level thus far. What about the players behind him at quarterback?

McCarney: We've (Kyle Van Winkle) and Terrance Highsmith both working. Wink is playing better than he ever has at Iowa State. He's coming onto the field with his back against the wall to show us he belongs here. I'm really pleased to see that. We'd like him to be a backup, a guy we can count on for gameday. Terrance needs all kinds of work, meetings, video tape, and scrimmages. He's willing and does have a live arm. I'm hoping that will be a permanent move.

CN: What's on tap for the rest of this week?

McCarney: We'll go half-practice, half-scrimmage on Wednesday. We'll get a lot of fundamental work, group work, inside drill, 7-on-7, and team pass. Then we'll have a full scrimmage in the stadium on Saturday. We have a coaches clinic coming in with close to 400 coaches.

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