Practice Report: Harris to Safety

Iowa State made another roster move over the weekend and it involved Jason Harris. Find out what prompted the staff to make that position change. Also check to see which offensive lineman are making a push to see the field. Info from Coach Mac himself in this CN Practice Report.

The big news out of Iowa State camp was the move of sophomore Jason Harris from running back to safety. The 5'11 200 pound Harris showed flashed of great ability as he amassed 40 yards on 11 carries. But he was much maligned for the two costly fumbles last season, which is a no-no in Tony Alford's running back stable. His ball security issues of the past, coupled with the safety depth issues and emergence of other backs of the present helped green-light the decision for Dan McCarney.

 

"He's a guy that's not going to start at running back. We felt like he's got a chance, a better chance to challenge for the #1 at safety then at running back. . I think for Jason's future, which is three years, he's got a lot of career in front of him and for our football team this year it's the best thing to do. He's real excited about it," Dan McCarney said.

 

The safety position is not a complete stranger to Harris. The young man out of Clearwater, Florida was a first team class 5-A all-state selection as a defensive back only two years ago. A fact McCaney and his staff never lost sight of.

 

"He's played defense in high school. He's done a nice job on special teams, we're working him at a lot of different positions. We've been working him in tackling drills even when he was a running back. Most teams recruited him as a defensive back, we recruited him as a running back. I think it will be a good move for him," McCarney said.

 

But it is a move that would had been a lot more difficult to make had it not been for the strong play of the corps of freshman running backs. With their continued effort, don't expect Harris on the offensive side of the ball anytime soon.

 

"A lot of it is also the emergence of three (Josh Johnson, Mitchell Moore, Alexander Robinson) of the freshman running backs, who are all doing a real good job. I really like all three of them. Barring a whole bunch of injuries at running back it's a permanent move," McCarney said.

 

One back has stood a head and shoulders above the rest.

 

"Josh Johnson really had a fabulous day (on Saturday) he was with the #1's, 2's and 3's and scored four touchdowns in the scrimmage. He had a really good day and no doubt left a strong impression with all of us. He needs to play this year and he will play. We really like the job he is doing," McCarney said.

 

Possibly joining Johnson on the depth chart for the Toldeo game is Jason Scales, who is quickly recovering from arthroscopic surgery prefromed only a week ago.

 

"He's riding the bike. It's day-to-day on whether he'll be ready or not. Our doctors and trainers think he realistically has a shot to get some work in next week. If he can do that and practice, and get in our gameplan, we'd go ahead and use him. Based on his past and history, it is hard to predict. He's doing really well, it was just a scope and nowadays with modern technology they come back real fast," McCarney said.

 

 

As for other question marks, McCarney is happy with the progress made by several of his underclassmen offensive lineman.

 

"We're rolling them through and evaluating, this is a real important week of camp. Reggie Stephens, Lee Tibbs, and Tom Schmelling-- if they are not starting, are definitely going to be in the mix this year playing. They are really developing as offensive lineman, and it's up to them whether they are going to be #1 or #2.

 

Overall, McCarney said, it was a solid day at Cyclone camp, especially for freshman punter Mike Brandtner.

 

"We got a lot done. We're incorporating punts and PAT field goal into our team work, into our moving the chains. I'll tell you one thing, Brandtner again has just had a tremendous camp, I just hope he'll do it under the lights. We'll find out August 31st, but I'm really proud of the kid. We've got him for four years and he's really got a good leg. I like his personality, I like his temperament, I like his focus and he's got a real good leg," McCarney said.

 

The Cyclones go at it twice more on Tuesday. Opening kick-off is only 16 short days away.

 


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