Hiawatha Rutland, a junior from Bradenton, Florida, is the new starting running back for 2002. Rutland inherits a legacy of 1,000-yard runners under Dan McCarney, from Troy and Darren Davis to Ennis Haywood. Rutland edged out Michael Wagner for the starting job after a strong spring that concluded with 104 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the spring game. Rutland is a psychology major.
CYCLONE NATION: You obviously inherit a position that has a lot of tradition under Dan McCarney. But this is a deep backfield. What are your individual goals? Are you going to be able to get enough attempts to carry on that 1,000-yard legacy?
RUTLAND: It's about wins and the 1,000-yard seasons are a by-product of that. But if we're winning it doesn't really matter. I'm just excited about the season and ready to compete.
CYCLONE NATION: Are you a PlayStation guy?
CYCLONE NATION: Have you played yourself?
CYCLONE NATION: When you play yourself in those games, do you give yourself a boost at all?
RUTLAND (Laughing): I did that once, but I didn't save it. I prefer to create my own school and do my own thing.
CYCLONE NATION: What does it mean to you now to be the starting running back and debuting against a Florida State team from your home state? Are you running any smack down home or do you hear anything from there?
RUTLAND: Playing Florida State is an exciting opportunity and I'm just hoping we can compete with them. I hear that trash all the time but I try stay out of it. When I go home I listen to what they're saying and then tell my teammates.
CYCLONE NATION: When you go back home, what is the most common misconception about Ames, Iowa?
RUTLAND: Well, they always asked me if I get enough corn. They think it's cold like 365 days a year here. They say you've got a lot of farm girls up there.
CYCLONE NATION: Contrast yourself with Michael Wagner, who has some quality game experience. Everyone remembers his redshirt freshman season when he started for an injured Ennis Haywood and helped lead a road victory over Oklahoma State. But with an outstanding spring, you were able to beat him out.
RUTLAND: What I try to do is bring enthusiasm to the position and pride in all of my assignments, whether that's running the ball or blocking. I like to run in between the tackles and every now and then I'll try to make a move but I usually hurt myself when I do.
CYCLONE NATION: Who are some of the predecessors at your position here at Iowa State that you admire? What about Haywood? He also was an effective straight-ahead runner who didn't have a lot of wiggle.
RUTLAND: I liked Ennis Haywood's style. We have some similarities. I also liked watching Troy and Darren Davis when they were here because they were Florida guys having success. When they called me to come play here I committed right away before I even saw the place. That was kind of exciting.
CYCLONE NATION: What are your expectations for the team this season? Do you think you can get back to a bowl game and keep that tradition going?
RUTLAND: Hopefully, but we just want to compete in our conference first.
Q & A with Hiawatha Rutland
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