Williams: Looking Ahead

What do Cyclone football fans have to look forward to in 2006? Find out CN's top 5 storylines heading into September.

When I look at the 2006 Iowa State football season, I feel like a conservative at a Toby Keith concert, I just get all warm and fuzzy inside. If you look at next season with an optimistic attitude, there really are a lot of intriguing story lines that will be a blast to watch play out as the off season goes on and when the Clones kick off in 2006. So I've decided to list my own personal top 5 story lines to watch play out in 2006.


#1- What's going to happen at the running back position?


-Obviously Stevie Hicks is probably going to have the nod heading into spring practices, but what happens if Webster Patrick is in Ames? What's going to happen with Jason Scales and his health? Is Greg Coleman going to be phased out? Those are all interesting questions to examine over the next few months. It's no secret that there absolutely has to be another option to Stevie next season. Webster Patrick would be ideal but there's no guarantee that he'll even be here. Even if he is, can he stay out of trouble? I personally find it hard to believe that Dan McCarney would bring him in if he believes there will be problems, but who knows what will happen. If you watch any football at all, you know that a great running back can't do anything with out people to block for him, and that leads me to storyline #2.


#2- What's going to happen with the O-Line?


-I think that everybody is worried about this right now. There are so many different things that could happen with this line it's not even funny. We know that Stephenson, Zehr and Brandt will probably all be solid starters next season. The question is the two other slots. The whole Jason Fiacco situation makes this even crazier. Scott Fisher will be in the mix over at tackle and I expect Reggie Stephens to battle for playing time. How will Paul Fisher progress over the spring? Will Cody Habben and Don Mosely commit? What's going on with Chris Herrera? Athyba Rubin has a shot to come in and make noise. It's going to be interesting to see what Barney Cotton does with these guys from now up until September.


#3- How good is Tyrone McKenzie?


-I've never seen McKenzie play personally but from everything that I'm hearing, he's going to be a stud. A lot of sources that I have say that he's probably going to be better than Tim Dobbins when it's all said and done. If that's the case then I can't wait to see this dude get out on the field.


#4- Devin McDowell


-McDowell is reportedly in amazing shape and chomping at the bits to get to Ames. Will he be good enough to beat out Chris Singleton and play beside his brother next season? If I was a betting man I would say no, but I find it hard to believe that a kid with McDowell's speed won't be on the field somewhere next season. I'd like to see him returning punts and kicks. Just think about D-Mac and D-Jack back there kick returning. Fans could have a lot of fun watching the brothers play together.


#5- The Big 12 North


-Looking ahead at all of the schedules, Iowa State once again has a legitimate chance to win the North. Iowa State's key is that they must get out of the gate early next season. Iowa State's first four conference games are: @ Texas, Nebraska, @Oklahoma and at home with Texas Tech. That's a pretty tough way to start out your conference schedule. Nebraska is a must win being in Ames and so is Tech. If Iowa State can split those four games then it will give them a legit shot to win out. They would have to go on the road and win at Colorado but who knows what that program is going to be like next season.



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