Extra Motivation for Stephenson in 06

Scott Stephenson is quietly getting the reputation as the most underrated lineman in the Big 12. Underrated after being a 1st team All-Big 12 selection only a year ago. Find out what Stephenson has to say about that and Iowa State's running game in this CN feature.

Being Snubbed by the Media


When Scott Stephenson transferred to Iowa State, he had never played offense before in his college career. Never. In his first year at Iowa State after transferring from Minnesota, Stephenson not only anchored Iowa State's offensive line, he earned first team All-Big 12 honors as well.


So you'd automatically assume that Stephenson would get plenty of respect and love from the media the next season. Right?




Coming off of an All-Big 12 season, Stephenson's name isn't even being mentioned for All-Big 12 honors. Phil Steele's preseason magazine even ranks down to a 4th team. Stephenson is nowhere to be seen.


"It's not really a big deal to me but it kind of jolts me to prove them wrong. I don't know how they make their picks. It's up to them but I will definitely try to make my presence felt this year," Stephenson said at the Big 12 media day in Kansas City.


Iowa State coach Dan McCarney doesn't know why Stephenson isn't getting the pub, but he's not worried about it either.


"I don't lie awake worrying about it and I don't think Scott does either. He has a chance to be one of the better centers that I've coached and I've been around," McCarney said. He had a tremendous first year and if he stays healthy, he has a chance to be one of the really good centers in college football."


Stephenson on the Defense


The green Iowa State defense looks to be the big concern this year when the Cyclones are forced to replace eight starters from one of the best defenses in school history last season. Stephenson, who plays against the newcomers everyday is a little less skeptical than the average fan.


"These guys, especially the newcomers, they are fast and they are strong. The only reason they aren't getting hype is because nobody knows about them. I play against them in practice; I know that they are good players," Stephenson said.


The Running Game is Key


The foundation to any competitive college football team is the offensive and defensive lines. This year Iowa State expects five seniors to start on the offensive line. With the combination of the line, an all-conference QB, and an all-conference WR, there is no reason to think that this offense won't strive.


"We can be awesome. We have a lot of experience on the offensive line and with the addition of the Fisher twins; we now have a line that's over 300 pounds all across the board. It could be one of the most physical lines in the entire Big 12. With Stevie Hicks healthy, we'll run the ball effectively this year," Stephenson said.


Reread that last sentence.


That's a lineman who has some appreciation for his running back. Hence the great relationship between Hicks and Stephenson.


"Stevie and I are really good friends. You want to do well to help them do well. It starts with us and the point of contact. As soon as the play starts, it's the lines who are hitting each other. We're trying to win that battle to help Bret and Stevie do their job," said Stephenson.


Stevie Hicks will be key, there's no question to that but what about Jason Harris? According to Stephenson, the line hasn't lost confidence in the quick second string back.


"He was a young guy last year and it's hard to step up into a leadership role and with more confidence he can do very well. He's one of the fastest guys on the team and there's no doubt in my mind that with more experience, he can be an ISU great," Stephenson said.


One Proud Coach


Dan McCarney hit the jackpot when Scott Stephenson chose Iowa State, and the coach knows it.


"He's got size, talent, athleticism. He can run. He's one of the toughest kids I've ever been around. I can't put in to words how proud I am of the man that he is and the player that he is. Very few guys have impacted our team that quickly, in the short time that he's been in our program," McCarney said.


McCarney is right. The impact Stephenson has made in two years is unbelievable. If only Phil Steele could realize that. As if it matters.SPAN>

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