Friday marks day two of ISU's spring football practices. Coaches are eager to get the pads on their players, but one last day in shorts and helmets as the NCAA requires the first two practices in that type of uniform. I am going to breakdown the running back situation, as well as talk about the tight ends.
Hicks is entering his senior year
playing at the college level. A
disappointing junior year due to injuries, Stevie knows this season is his last
to make his mark as a premier
Jason Scales has been in the
cupboard for what it seems like forever.
My senior season in the program, Scales saw a lot of time at the running
back position. He had a nice game
Greg Coleman (RB/FB)
Coleman is going to have a huge season regarding earning back respect of his coaches and his teammates. Plagued by off-the-field distractions in the off-season, Coleman needs to have a productive spring in order to gain respect back from his coaches and teammates. We saw glimpses of what Coleman could do in 2004. Coleman isn't a true running back. He lacks the speed to hit the holes, but when he does run the pigskin, he is almost a lock for at least three yards. A healthy Hicks and Scales would provide depth at the fullback position. Coleman would provide depth behind Kock. Coleman is an unselfish football player. All he does is go in and do what is asked of him. Look for Coleman to see some time at running back and fullback this spring.
Cyclone fans were able to see a lot of speed out of this kid last season. Harris was thrown into the mix due to injuries at the running back position. It is important to note that the coaches asked a lot out of Harris. They asked a lot out of him, and he was a true freshman! That is a lot to ask of a true freshman, but the cupboard was bare, and we needed someone to step up to the plate. Harris will definitely be in the mix this spring at the running back position. In 2004, he had trouble with ball security. In the past, you did not find the ball put on the ground a whole heck of a lot, and this is something that Harris must conquer if he wants to run the football for Coach Tony Alford. Spring practices will be a tremendous opportunity for Harris to gain confidence back from last season, as well as prove to coaches that he can play winning football and hold on to the pigskin. Harris has been through the strength and conditioning program for nearly a year, and it will be great to see his progress athletically. I wouldn't be surprised if the coaches try Mr. Harris at a different position either if they are happy with the progress of Hicks and Scales.
Look for some of the incoming freshmen at running back to push these guys once they come in during the fall and really produce some competition within the depth chart.
What a great story to last year's
season out of the play of Ryan Kock.
Kock is definitely an asset to the Cyclones' offense in short yardage
situations. 3rd down, 2
yards to go. What is Bret Meyer
going to do with the ball? The
Cyclones knew Kock was going to get it, and the opponents knew who was going to
get the pigskin. Almost 100% of the
time, Kock got the first down or crossed the pay dirt. The fullback position in
Ben Barkema has proven to play winning
football for the Cyclones. He came
back after an up-and-down year two seasons ago. He was definitely an asset to the
program a year ago. Meyer can hit
Barkema in the passing game across the middle. Barkema has definitely developed some
size at the tight end position. He
is a kid from
Who is Walter Nickel? If you don't know, ask the football coaching staff for tapes from last season. What a pleasant surprise to the Cyclone offense in 2004. Nickel, coming from Dixie State College, has proven he can be a premier tight end in the Big XII. Nickel is a huge recieving tight end, giving Meyer another option while going through his progression in the passing game. Nickel is a lot like Barkema. Nickel also needs to improve his blocking skills this spring when in the game and not in the passing routes. Coach McCarney addressed this a few days ago. There needs to be a relentless attitude with a desire to be more physical in the running game out of Nickel and Barkema. Nickel will take this upon his shoulders and really develop consistency this spring in his ability to be called on the run and pass block. I look for a successful spring out of Nickel. It is great to know that we have two tight ends that can play winning football for the Cyclones. Nickel and Barkema will be a nice one-two punch for the Cyclone offense of 2006.