For ISU students Dan Mouw, Marc Hardy and Andrew Vogel it was the chance of a lifetime – the trio got to join the Cyclone football team on the field at Jack Trice Stadium.
On Thursday night, ISU head coach Dan McCarney opened up the last half of the Cyclones' practice to the ISU student body and a group of 3,000 strong responded.
Then it was time for Mouw, Hardy and Vogel to test their poise. Mouw's task was to hit a 20 yard field goal; Hardy was to catch a pass from Bret Meyer, while Vogel had to field a Troy Blankenship punt.
"It's a little bit bigger out there than it is watching it," Mouw said.
Mouw's first attempt didn't clear the uprights, but his second try was good.
Does he think he has what it takes to kick on game day?
"Heck no," Mouw said.
Hardy's feat wasn't any easier, but he got some help from a former high school pal.
"Oh, it was exhilarating," Hardy
said. "My good buddy Ryan Kock, from the same hometown as me,
Meyer and Hardy didn't connect on their first endeavor, but the second try was good enough for a score.
"I think Mr. Meyer just didn't realize I don't quite have the athletic ability and potential of some of the other athletes he's playing with," Hardy said. "He toned it down a little bit for me and we made things work in the end."
Vogel was successful on his first stab at fielding a punt return; he caught Blankenship's punt right in his chest.
"It was pretty fun," he said. "I was kind of in shock [I caught it]."
Opening up the practice to the
students was something that hadn't been done since McCarney's first year at
"It was great to get out here and be able to support the football and let them know that we support them to the fullest extent," Hardy said. "We want to help them with their endeavors this season."
McCarney said the event had been in the works for the last couple of months.
"I talked to our marketing people last spring, early summer and just said ‘I want to bring the students back,'" McCarney said. "I hadn't done it since my first year. Bring them into the stadium, bring them in for practice."
McCarney said he was very excited with the turnout.
"I didn't know if we'd get 500 or 1,000," McCarney said. "They said they had over 3,000 raffle tickets that were taken."
Prior to the event at Jack Trice Stadium, the Cyclones got an hours worth of work done at the Johnny Majors Practice Field.
The Cyclones will script
everything they anticipate that
Most of the coaching staffs' decisions will be finalized after the mock game; McCarney said he anticipates the depth chart being settled by Tuesday.
As for the other newcomers, the mock game will offer McCarney and staff a chance to see them in unfamiliar territory.
"[We'll get a chance to] see them under the lights on game night," McCarney said. "It's a different atmosphere and some kids handle it differently."
In less than eight days the real
test will begin when the Cyclones face
"That's the pulse of the stadium, the heart of the stadium starts with the students and we're hoping we'll get the rest of the tickets sold and I bet we will," he said.