Practice Report: Tuba to the Rescue

The Iowa State Cyclones took the pads off on Friday morning in preperation of one of the biggest scrimmages of the preseason on Saturday. Find out the good news that came out of today's practice right here at CN.

Tuba's in the House


Only a day removed from the horrible news of losing DE Kurtis Taylor for the season to a knee injury, Coach Dan McCarney announced to the media today that Ahtyba Rubin has qualified academically, and the coach also said he'd play on the defensive side of the football.


"Athyuba Rubin, today just qualified. He'll join us. He's a 315 pound defensive lineman. He'll probably start practice on Monday. We have to get his physical and get all of those things done. It's good to see him," McCarney told reporters on Friday.


Rubin has missed 18 days of camp so far, but McCarney only had to look to the Iowa State history books to see that the man they call "Tuba," still has a chance to shine in 2006.


"We've talked about as a staff, so did Lorenzo White a few years ago. He joined us about the exact same time. We brought him along slow, but sure. We're not going to bring him out here and put him through two-a-day practices or anything like that. We're bringing him along slowly. He's a big, strong, physical, mature young man and I'm really excited that he's here. Whether he's ready or not to help us with Toledo, I have no idea. Check back in about a week," McCarney said.


Now the Bad News


While Clone fans got good news about Rubin today, the feeling wasn't so positive when talking about JUCO DE Collins Eboh. According to McCarney, don't hold your breath.


"I haven't felt good that Collins would be making it to be eligible for quite some time now. We haven't gotten an official word yet that he's ineligible but I'm not holding my breath, I don't think that it will work out. Rubin, we always thought all along would make it. He just needed more time to finish his academic requirements, we knew that all along," McCarney said.


Regardless of who is at the RUSH END position, expect to see a lot of variety out there on game day. 


"I said it last spring and I'll say it now, we're going to play more guys this year on this football team than we have in recent years and that RUSH position will be a really classic example of that," McCarney said.


A Bright Future for Taylor


Dan McCarney was quick to point out the good news, if any coming out of the Kurtis Taylor injury.


"It's a major loss. Kurtis Taylor had put himself in the position to be a starter for us and he's worked really hard. He had a really good spring and summer until he got hurt last Saturday. The good news out of an injury, there's never good news but he has not been red-shirted yet, which he can be now and he'll still come back in 2007 with two years to play. When you look at Ryan Baum and when you look at Todd Blythe and some of our guys who have gone through the same surgery, they have come back because of our doctors and our trainers and the great attitudes of those young men. They have come back to be completely healthy and I know that he will be too."


Scales Improving


After undergoing a scope only around a week ago, Coach McCarney said that Jason Scales is doing great so far on the bicycle. In fact, the coach said he's "burning it up."


"Jason is doing fine. He's on a bicycle, really burning it up. He's burning some rubber and we think he's got a good chance to possibly start doing something next week because as you know, with arthroscopic surgery the recovery time is usually really fast. He's doing well. In the mean while, Josh Johnson, Alexander Robinson and Mitchell Moore are really getting some quality work."


A New Look Secondary


Two things are for sure with the secondary against Toledo on the 31st. Those things are that DeAndre Jackson and Chris Singleton will be in the starting lineup. After that, it's still anybodies ballgame.


"There's no doubt that (Chris) Singleton and DeAndre Jackson are the starters at corner, no doubt about that. We're still rotating Jon Banks and Caleb Berg and all of those other guys at safety right now. We're taking a look at Jason Harris at SAM linebacker. Baum is definitely work safety. Brandon Hunley is still working safety. There's good rotation back there but Banks and Berg right now probably have an edge going into tomorrow's scrimmage. That will be a really important evaluation as to who our starting 11 will be," McCarney said.


While the experience on the field will be lacking at the safety positions, the coach went on to talk about how he has faith in the man who will be leading those men, secondary coach Chris Ash.


"I've got a lot of faith in Chris Ash, my secondary coach. He's an outstanding young coach and we want to keep the tradition alive here of playing strong defense at Iowa State," McCarney said.


Jason Harris and Ryan Baum are the most recent players to switch to the secondary, and McCarney has been happy with their progress so far.


"Ryan Baum is just a good football player, end of story. I think it's a permanent move. He has a great attitude. He's going to definitely help us in the secondary. Jason Harris we looked at as safety for a little bit but we moved him to SAM outside linebacker now. We're letting him and Carper battle it out now and he's doing some really good things. We've got him on the fast track. Obviously he's behind right now but Shawn Sims is doing some great things with him right now," McCarney said.


Offensive Line Questions?


While the defense is still scrambling to find a starting 11, the offense looks solid only 13 days before kickoff, except at one position, that being at RG.


"There's really only one job on offense that we're unsure of and that's the RG," McCarney said.


Other than that, McCarney said that depth wise; this might be one of the best lines since he's been at Iowa State.


"I think it's a good group of kids. There is more competition and more depth than anytime I've been at Iowa State. That doesn't mean that this will be the best offensive line. They'll have to prove that on Aug. 31. We have more possible, capable Big 12 linemen since I've been here," McCarney said.


Other Notes


On the eve of one of the more important scrimmages of the preseason, the team took the pads off today and McCarney was happy with the results.


"We just went an hour and a half and I took the pads off. I think that they earned it. They deserved it. It was still a really good mental practice. You can really see the maturity of a team if they know how to practice even when you pull the pads off and I think those kids did that this morning. We'll do some walkthroughs and meetings this afternoon and again tonight and we have a really important scrimmage tomorrow."





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