Summary of Media Day 2005: Reviewing the Secondary

CN Staff Writer Mark Hersom was busy at media day tracking down everyone you need to know from the ISU secondary.

During media day there is only so much time that we were able to spend asking players questions so I came prepared to ask each player about the same question to see what difference of opinions I could get, especially about predictions.

 

I went right to the main man, DeAndre or Dre as they call him on the field. DeAndre Jackson is a rising star for the Cyclones and does foot the bill at being 6-foot tall.

 

He told me that he is ready to take on a leadership role. You could tell in his voice that he wants to carry on the ways of Ellis Hobbs, but stresses no-one can replace Hobbs.

 

"We just all have to work that much harder," Jackson said.

 

Dre, worked hard studying game film in the off season as he didn't just watch, he studied. He told me that Todd Blythe is the hardest to cover and the toughest road game was Oklahoma State. He said he also feels there is no difference to him playing on natural grass or turf.

 

LaMarcus Hicks, the 6-foot, 195 pound senior, was very uplifting and loose during media day. He stated that he has gotten better during the teams seven-on-seven drills and worked hard in the weight room.

 

He said he felt that all of this years receiving corps each have things they do well to make it difficult to cover, but did state that Blythe is "just tall!"

 

What LaMarcus learned from Hobbs was to play with a big heart and be a motivator for the younger players.

 

Natural grass is what LaMarcus prefers to play on. The toughest place that LaMarcus played at last year was…..Iowa of course.

 

Steve Paris (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) built a lot of confidence last year and is looking forward to becoming stronger mentally and physically, which is one of the biggest things he worked at in the off season.

 

The senior is determined to continue to make impact plays for this team. He mentioned that Blythe was the toughest to cover on the deep ball and Milan Moses on the under plays. His toughest place to play was at Iowa as well because of the amount of people there. Natural grass is Steve's choice as well to play on.

 

Strong safety Nik Moser, the 6-foot, 200 pounds senior, from Fort Dodge seems to sum it up for this year's team in that the confidence has grown tremendously in the last year.

 

I asked if chemistry was the issue but he felt that the past teams had the chemistry, but lacked leadership and confidence in winning. Nik has gained a little weight and still kept his speed.

 

His toughest game(s) were at Oklahoma and Texas as he is one of the few Cyclones to have played at both. Nik stated that the bowl victory was a great feeling and wants to end his career on a high note.

The indoor practice facility for him has been awesome to get to go the whole field rather than 60 yards. Moser would much rather play on grass that the turf.

 

Nik finished his comments to me by pointing out that he is excited to see Tim Dobbins play and to end his career with Steve Paris as they came in together.

 

Caleb Berg is ready to make a bigger contribution to this team, mostly on special teams but will be ready to come in for Nik Moser, backing him up at the strong safety position. Berg appears to have built some upper body strength and is a legitimate 6-foot-1 tall and 200 pounds.

 

He said he worked hardest on understanding the defensive schemes and game film since spring ball. The bowl game was a taste sample of what he wants more of - success and winning tradition. His toughest environment to play was the Iowa game and has no preference playing on natural grass or turf.

 

Free safety Brandon Hunley is listed as Steve Paris' backup and looks strong in the upper body as well as Berg. He is about 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds but will have to overcome his size with his strength.

 

He feels that his impact will be more with the special teams. For Brandon the tight ends are the toughest to cover, as the size difference from high school to college is dramatic with this position.

 

Colorado was what he felt the toughest environment was and has no preference on what surface to play on. Brandon told me to watch out for Walter Nickel, because he is fast.

 

True freshman Chris Singleton is what a defensive back would look like. He leaks confidence and felt he could make an immediate impact on this team if not in the secondary but to use his speed as a kick returner.

 

He is a first-team all-state selection in Class 2A for Florida and was ranked in the top 100 overall players by Scout.com.

 

He has only played on grass field while in high school down in Florida. I asked who did he most want to cover in practice and he said, "I look forward to going against No. 1, Blythe. It all starts tomorrow and I'll go one-on-one against him."

 

He praised one of his high school coaches, Coach Dick Mosely at Dunbar for helping him along the way to Iowa State and to better prepare him for this day.

 

Chris Ash was the key Cyclone Coach who showed him a good time when he was up here on a visit and fed him well as Singleton stated "it was a good Holiday." 

 

Redshirt freshman Chris Brown a converted wide receiver from Gainesville, Texas, hopes to add depth to the secondary and will compete on special teams.

 

His speed right now is his strongest skill and will need to work on building the upper body strength as most of the players have done the more they have been in college.

 

Some other notable players that I was not able to speak with on media day but to watch for are JUCO transfer Jon Banks; incoming freshman James Smith from Council Bluffs who already has the body of a Division I corner; incoming freshman Reggie Rock who Coach Mac spoke highly of; Floridian Durrell Williams who also has great speed like Singleton; redshirt freshman Brandon Gunn from Omaha who has been still working on getting back into shape recovering from an injury; and Broc Bebout from Thurman, Iowa.

 

It should be a very competitive time during practices with such an influx of young players. Right now is an exciting time but the future looks very good as well.

 

Let's hope that these new young men will develop like Moser, Paris and Jackson have done under the leadership of Coach Chris Ash. I see several of these players having an opportunity to make such an impact that they too, could have their dreams of playing in the NFL come true.


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