Top 10 Reasons to Get Jacked Up for Football

Less than three short months separate us from the start of the Cyclone Football season. We have reached the corner pole and are headed down the backstretch. And if that isn't exciting enough for you, here are 10 more reasons to get the blood pumping for the Thursday night on the last day in August when Toledo comes to town.

10. Fresh Impact


Every season there are a few new faces who step onto the practice surface during two-a-days and cause Dan McCarney to break into adjective alert. You know those guys that elicit the words, "Explosive," "Great Motor" and "Tremendous Athlete" from Coach Mac. Recent members of this fraternity include Chris Singleton, Alvin Bowen, DeAndre Jackson, Jason Berryman, and Ellis Hobbs. They are players that the coaches can't keep off the field and who give the practices an extra level of intensity. They push the returning starters to take it up a notch. And by the time the first game rolls around, they can be found making an impact in front of a packed Jack. So who will be this year's Fresh Impact Guy? Who will be the FIG? The list of potential candidates is as loaded as ever. Devin McDowell has garnered the most attention and is poised to threaten for playing time from day one. But don't forget about Kris Means, Drenard Williams, Derron Montgomery, Kellen White and Prince McKinney. They all have the potential to wow the staff with their playmaking ability. However, the two guys who I am certain will be taking a significant number of snaps against Toledo are DE's Rashawn Parker and Collins Eboh. They are destined to be quality FIGs in 2006.  


9. The Player Entrance


The player entrance is the most underrated part of game day. Is there a better feeling than hearing the sound system blaring and seeing the captains lead the guys down the walkway for the first time of the football season? The expectation, the tension, the buzz all building to a bursting point. The noise escalates, the Cyclones congregate in a circle, and then they explode onto the field. Can you feel it?? Rumor is there may be a unique change to the entrance this season to make this moment even more hair-raising. Needless to say, the Jack will be quite the "storm shelter."


8. The Return of the Run


All-American candidate Center Scott Stephenson promised in a chat CN had with him a month ago, that ISU would run the football. No. Questions. Asked. The o-line is arguably the most important part of this season. With a potential of 5 seniors paving the way, the Cyclones must become a more physical and dominating run team. It has been 5 years since an Iowa State ball-carrier last had over 200 yards rushing in a game. To put that in perspective, Troy and Darren Davis combined to have 15 games over 200 yards. In order to contend in the future, ISU must resort to the past and churn some yardage the old-fashioned way.




You can be assured there will be a play or two that will cause Voice of the Cyclones John Walters to take those words to an extra level. Will Brent Curvey rumble for another TD? How about a Kickoff return for a TD (it hasn't happened since 1994)? Will John get to proclaim a Euseph Messiah resurrecting TD? Who knows, but there will be some memorable moments cemented by Walters' words and with the new "BUSty" flagship, those words can be heard on one station in most of the state.


6. The Red-Shirt Resurfacing


Each off-season several red-shirts make the so called "leap." They emerge from the practice squad onto the playing surface. WR Marquise "Big Body" Hamilton had an incredible spring and will make the receiving corps even more lethal. SS James Smith turned a solid spring into a starting spot. TE Derrick Catlett, LB Josh Raven, DL Stephon Dale, OL Reggie Stephens and CB Stevie "No not that Stevie" Johnson also made the most of their year of development. These guys will all be prominent pieces of the Cyclones this fall.


5. Tailgating Food


Can you smell the Iowa-bred pork grillin'? How about the scent of bratwurst sizzling on that new grill you purchased during the long winter? Can you taste the half-pound burger mixed with your favorite celebratory beverage after a big victory? I think you better go practice whipping together some steaks and eggs for the occasional morning tailgate. Hungry? Better start the preparation. That's what the Cyclone experience is all about.


4. The M.B. Connection


"Meyer to Blythe….Touchdown Iowa State!!" A form of that phrase has been exulted 15 times already in their careers. The exciting part….they are only halfway done. The juniors are the most prolific pass-catch combo in ISU history and are setting their sights on even loftier goals. Blythe has caught 18 TDs (3 from Austin Flynn). The Big 12 record is 42 by Rashaun Woods. That may be tough to reach, but Blythe is already tied for 10th all-time in Big 12 history. And yes, he's got two years remaining to climb the charts. Meyer has thrown 29 TD's at the halfway-point of his career. He won't reach Cliff Kingsbury's Playstion-esque 95 career TD's, but can realistically reach second place Major Applewhite's 60 TD's. Not bad for a couple kids from Iowa.


3. Opportunity Awaits


The 2006 season has been tabbed the "season of opportunity." The schedule is tough (9 teams made bowl games in 2005 and 5 will more than likely be ranked in the polls come August.) But on the proverbial other side of the coin, it leaves multiple chances to make a statement on the national level. Iowa State hasn't had that big win over a top 10 team to showcase the program (beating Iowa doesn't qualify.) In order to get to the next level they need that marquee win. As the old saying goes, "You can't steal second base with your foot on first."    


2. The Hitmen Defense


Some may think this defense will struggle when faced with some of the premier offenses on the schedule. And certainly with an undersized D-line the Cyclones may have some growing pains. But this "GoodFellas" defense with the likes of Tyrone McKenzie, Alvin Bowen, Adam Carper, DeAndre Jackson, Jon Banks, Chris Singleton, and James Smith features a combination of athletes ISU hasn't seen on the field at the same time. They may be a little raw, but by the end of the year they will be something to see.


1. Offensive Firepower  


10 of 11 starters return off of an offense that averaged over 33 points in the final 6 games. Other than the M.B. Connection, the offense showcases rock-solid names like Flynn, Hicks, Davis, Barkema, Nickel, Sumrall, Brant, Zehr and Kock. Not to mention the new weapons like Messiah and Hamilton, or the FIGs that will emerge. It is shaping up to be an offense with the excitement of Seneca's and the consistency of the Davis.' Now will the powerful offense live up to that expectation? We will find out in only three short months. 


Can you feel the excitement?

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