ISU is on Iowa State's mind

The countdown has been slowly winding down for months and 10 days from now the Cyclones will take the field for its season opener against Illinois State. On Tuesday the ISU football squad began preparation for the RedBirds.

Ten days from now the Cyclones will take the field against Illinois State but the preparation began months ago for the ISU coaching staff.


"We've been on Illinois State as a staff since last winter when we got off the road with recruiting," McCarney said. "With the kids we haven't been running any Illinois State. It's all Iowa State, so we got a good start on them [Tuesday] night."


The extra week of preparation has the coaching staff on their toes.


"This is the time all coaches have to be at their best to make sure you get the most out of your kids," McCarney said.


Illinois State has a new defensive coordinator, so McCarney isn't sure what to expect from the RedBirds.


"My gut is they're going to step off the bus blitzing knowing that Bret Meyer is a pretty dangerous quarterback back there and we got some pretty good receivers," McCarney said.


The Cyclones will try to contain a familiar face in running back Brian Thompson.

Thompson spent three years with the Cyclones; he redshirted his initial freshman season and was named the ISU Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year in 2001.


The following season Thompson rushed for 305 yards and four touchdowns; in 2003 he appeared in all 12 games for Iowa State on special teams duty.


"He wanted to be a starter and we told him, ‘you're not going to start unless there's a number of injuries here and you can stay and be a heck of a special teams player,'" McCarney said. "He's a great kid, everybody really liked BT, but to be a starting running back it's not going to be at Iowa State."'


After a slow start (four carries, two yards and two fumbles in the first four games), Thompson led the team in rushing with 866 yards. He was ranked No. 48 nationally in rushing yards per game with 86.6. During the conference season Thompson averaged 125.2 yards per game to lead the league in rushing.


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