A media day Q&A with Tony Alford

Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Tony Alford is a big reason why Iowa State has had such success rushing the ball. The Cyclones were one of only three NCAA Division I schools to have produced a 1,000-yard rusher annually between 1995 and 2001. After rushing for 1,062 yards last season, Stevie Hicks looks to start the streak again.

What are some of your expectations for your running backs as a whole this year?


We expect great production from them. We expect great production out of them in the redzone. They have got to be able to drop their pads and get what is needed. They're definitely going to have to keep the chains moving. Obviously we expect our guys to do a great job of ball security and pass protection. Our guys are a year older and a year more mature. So I hope they take their game and step it up a notch and keep striving to win games.


Right now what does the rotation look like?


Right now Stevie would be No. 1, Scales No. 2, and Coleman No. 3. We do have a couple of other guys like David Brown and Jason Harris. Jason Harris is a great looking kid coming in as a freshman. That is how you want them to look. He is coming in pretty highly renowned with a lot of high school accolades, but that doesn't mean anything right now. He has got to improve and get better just like the rest of them.


There should be a lot of competition. Hopefully Greg will go after Jason's job and Jason will go after Stevie's job. Then those guys have got to hold guys off and hopefully that kind of competition will breed more success.


How big of a part does ball security play in the rotation?


It plays a big part. The guy that puts the ball on the ground will not play. The key is that we have got to protect the football, hold onto the football, and be productive.


If we are putting the ball on the ground we aren't being productive and if we aren't productive we can't win. That's nothing new to these guys. That's not going to surprise anyone. Anyone that's been in the program knows that already. Coach Mac stresses ball security and turnover margin to the whole football team. We take great pride in it and it shows with the past success. Knock on wood; hopefully we can continue that success this year.


Are we going to see more passes thrown to the running backs this year?


A lot of it is Bret's reads. As he becomes more familiar with the offense and takes more ownership of the offense, if that is his read then I say throw it to them.


Will Jason Harris' speed help to get him on the field sooner then David Brown?


I don't know. He has got to learn the system. Not that it is an intricate system, but he still has to learn the system. It is different then what he has done in high school.


There is a large learning curve and a lot that he has to learn and two weeks. He is probably going to be asked to do some things that he's not accustomed to doing or hasn't been asked to do. Take cut blocking for instance, they don't cut block in high school football in the state of Florida. He has to learn the protection schemes and how he fits into those protection schemes.

We will see if he can pick these things up at a fast rate. If he can then we will see how he fits in with this football team and get him on the field.


There is a chance that the offensive line will be as good as it has been since Stevie has been here. What will that do for his numbers?


I think those guys are going to be much improved. Coach Cotton has done a great job with those guys and they're also adding some good players. They take a lot of pride in what they do. If the offensive line is improved the running game will be improved.


Hopefully that will mean more production for Stevie. What are the numbers going to be? Who knows? A lot of that will be dictated by what the game is doing. Are we running more? Are we throwing more? Are they stacking the line or putting a lot of guys in the box? But if they are better up front then that should mean that there will be more seams and more room to run.

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