Cyclone Spring Practice Report 12

Although it was an abbreviated scrimmage compared to Saturday's full intrasquad battle, Iowa State cleaned up its play on both sides of the ball. Cyclone head coach Dan McCarney was pleased with his team's final scrimmage before Saturday's spring game.

"We were a lot better than we were on Saturday," he said. "There were a lot fewer penalties and it was real competitive. We went an hour-and-fifteen minute practice, and then we scrimmaged for about 60 plays. I was pleased with what we got done tonight.

"When you go against each other all spring you could lose some interest, along with your edge and intensity. I didn't think there was any of that tonight. They were well prepared."

That included the offense, which undoubtedly came out on the losing end of Saturday's scrimmage. Iowa State's first-team gained a decisive edge over the defense, thanks to some solid play up front and consistency at the quarterback position.

"We were more physical in the offensive line, ran the ball better, and made some plays in the passing game," ISU's head coach said. "There was no question the defense had the edge coming out of the scrimmage Saturday, and won most situations. Bret Meyer played well again like he has all spring. Other than the two-minute drill tonight, the offense really executed better and made more plays."

McCarney also praised the work of backup tailback Jason Scales for his work in goal-line and red-zone situations.

Some other news on the offensive line revolved around Seth Zehr and Scott Stephenson, a pair of projected starters for this fall. ISU's first-team center since the start of spring, Zehr has been getting reps on the outside as a tackle. The rising junior started as a guard last season.

"He's smart enough and good enough to play both those positions," McCarney said.

Stephenson hasn't taken part in a scrimmage this spring, but did work on inside drills Monday. The Minnesota transfer has apparently done enough in an abbreviated spring to earn starting consideration.

"We're still working Stephenson in," McCarney said. "He's shown us enough in the drill work this spring that he definitely should be one of our starting five in the fall. I really like his progress and physicalness, even though he's been limited."

On the special teams front, Tony Yelk has returned to practice after missing some time with a pulled quad muscle. Although Bret Culbertson has distanced himself from the competition at place-kicker, Yelk, a sixth-year senior, is in a tight battle with Troy Blankenship for starting punter duties.

"He hit a couple PATs tonight and it was good to see," McCarney said. "He missed some practices with that pulled quad, but hit the ball well tonight. He and Blank have a good battle going for the punter's job right now. But if we started tomorrow, Culbertson would still be our PAT and field goal guy."

The Cyclones return to the practice field on Wednesday, which will mark their final padded practice before Saturday's spring game. The workout will be totally open to fans and media.

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