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
"We just all have to work that
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
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
Natural grass is what LaMarcus
prefers to play on. The toughest place that LaMarcus played at last year
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
Strong safety Nik Moser, the
6-foot, 200 pounds senior, from
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
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
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
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
He has only played on grass field
while in high school down in
He praised one of his high school
coaches, Coach Dick Mosely at
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
Redshirt freshman Chris Brown a
converted wide receiver from
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.