One step closer to the season opener...

23 days from now Iowa State will face its first test of the 2005 season when Illinois State comes to Ames; the Cyclones moved a bit closer to that day by practing in full pads for the first time this pre-season.

The ISU football team was greeted by cooler weather for its first day of practice in full pads.


The squad did a lot of the same fundamental work but added some more contact to the practice.


"We got some good work done," ISU head coach Dan McCarney said. "We start off practices with an eye opener, which is the head coaches drill. It's a tempo setter. [We] find out whose physical and who's not; it's fundamental. It's a fast tempo drill. I've been doing it for 11 years here and I'll continue to do it for the next 11 years if I I'm here."


Six-foot-2, 210 pound, transfer Alvin Bowen continues to looks impressive early on.


"He's real fast, he's athletic. He just needs a lot of reps in practice," McCarney said.


The seven newcomers in the defensive back field are also coming along.


"We got seven of those young defensive backs," McCarney said. "We just can't get enough work with them right now, because that's where your depth is coming from, especially at corner."


On the offensive line both Fisher's are working with the two's and continue to show improvement.


"They're not ready for Illinois State or Iowa or Army yet, but they need to be by Sept. 3; at least to come off the bench," McCarney said.


Holding down the center position has been Scott Stephenson, the transfer from Minnesota.


"He's extremely physical," McCarney said. "He's one of the most athletic centers we've had since I've been here. So I hope he can continue on track."


Jason Berryman has also been performing well right now; he's working with the threes.


"He's practicing hard and in real good running shape," McCarney said. "He's got to get in better football shape. He's been away from it for a long time. I'm not going to shy away because of the problems we went through; he's doing a real good job out there."


As for the tight ends, McCarney said Ben Barkema and Walter Nickel have remained the top two performers.


"All the young ones need a lot of work right now," McCarney said. "So I don't know if they're good enough to beat out [Brandon Tinlin], Nickel or Barkema. I would doubt they can be, but we'll give them a chance."


On defense redshirt freshmen Adam Carper [6-foot-3, 210 pounds] and Nick Frere [6-foot-1, 230 pounds] continue to battle for the SAM linebacker position.


Carper is at about 215 pounds right now and McCarney said they'd like to get him up to 220 pounds.


"He's got to get out there and play like a safety sometimes, so we don't want him to put on too much weight," he said.


With Jason Scales' injury, Greg Coleman has stepped up his game during practices.


"He's looking faster, he's looking quicker," McCarney said. "It just seems more important to him right now and he sees with Jason out we need him to step up and he's doing that."


Behind Stevie Hicks and Coleman, Jason Harris and David Brown have been getting lots of work in.


"Jason is the one who might be the fastest back we have in camp," McCarney said. "He's showing on some runs already he's got some speed."


Iowa State will hold its first two-a-day practice on Thursday.

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