Practice Report: Baum's Away on D

Iowa State hit the synthetic turf of the Bergstrom Indoor Facility on Thursday after torrential rains left the regular practice fields in need of some drying out. After dealing with the weather, the Cyclones had to deal with the loss of starting strong safety James Smith, who broke his ankle in a pile-up on Wednesday.

Iowa State hit the synthetic turf of the Bergstrom Indoor Facility on Thursday after torrential rains left the regular practice fields in need of some drying out. After dealing with the weather, the Cyclones had to deal with the loss of starting strong safety James Smith, who broke his ankle in a pile-up on Wednesday.

 

"Smith had surgery Wednesday to mend a broken right ankle suffered in yesterday's practice. The surgery was successful and we are excited that James should be back with us by mid-season. If he's not back by the first conference game we hope he can make it back a game or two in," Dan McCarney said.

 

The Cyclones immediately looked to fill the void of Smith by switching wide receiver/special teams gunner Ryan Baum to the defensive side of the ball. The senior from Gilbert had 25 tackles as a sophomore, all in the special teams role. He had 5 tackles last year before injuring his knee in the Baylor game.

 

"We're taking a look at Ryan Baum back there because he is one of the best tacklers on this team.  He already showed up for practice this afternoon as we knew he would.  He has a lot of Austin Flynn in him, he will do whatever is necessary to help the team.  I hope his transition from wide receiver goes as smooth as Austin's position change did," McCarney said.

 

Other players expected to fill in at the two safety spots include junior Caleb Berg, junior Jon Banks, sophomore Brandon Hunley, and redshirt freshman Steve Johnson, who switched to a safety spot earlier this week. That switch will make room for a few other newcomers.

 

"When we recruited him (Johnson), we thought he was more of a safety than a corner. Part of that is the quick improvement by McDowell and Williams, those two corners have a chance to impact our defense and our secondary as true freshmen," McCarney said.

 

The youth movement on defense continues in other areas as well. The much talked about linebacking trio of Alvin "Ace" Bowen, Adam Carper, and Tyrone McKenzie have continued to make great strides in the first week of practice. McKenzie, especially, has impressed the staff with not only his athleticism, but his off the field work.

 

"He has made great transition from being a high school running back to being a special teams player at Michigan State to being a No. 1 middle linebacker at Iowa State. He's so conscientious, he follows up with John Skladany all the time, just trying to learn.  He wants to be a strength, not a liability.  He wants to be a guy that every in the program can trust. He's special.  Tyrone is going to be a player the next three years at Iowa State," McCarney said.

 

With the injury to #2 running back Jason Scales and safety James Smith in the first week of practice, any chance the Cyclones lighten up on the contact?

 

"No, this is a proven system and we're sticking with it. This is a contact sport, injuries are part of it," McCarney said.

 

"We must move on."

 


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