FB Practice Notebook: Week 1

Injuries and a few changes in the depth chart have made the headlines this first week of training camp for the Iowa State football team. Those two unfortunate circumstances aside, Coach Dan McCarney is generally pleased with the preparations for his eighth season in Ames. McCarney has also been impressed with his team's competitive spirit thus far in two-a-days as it prepares for a season-opening date with Florida State on Aug. 24 in Kansas City.

"I think we've made a lot of progress," McCarney said. "Overall it's been very competitive. I've liked the way this team has worked. We had a big, long scrimmage on Saturday. Including kicking snaps we were at 120 plays. We got a lot done.

"We're surely not ready yet. We've got some guys that are really on the fast track right now getting ready to play. You talk about Ja'Maine Billups at safety, Emmanuel Valcourt at tackle or Nick Leaders at nose guard—guys that we know are definitely going to play this year—we've got to get them ready. Those are just a few of them. We're 12 days until kickoff."

Seneca Sensational

Last year at this time quarterback Seneca Wallace was on the fast track making sure he had a grasp of ISU's offensive system. With a year's experience under his belt, Wallace has been simply flawless in the opening week of practice.

"Seneca has been sensational," McCarney said. "He hasn't missed a beat and picked up right where he left off from the bowl game. He's been really sharp."

Wide Receivers a Team Strength

The Iowa State coaches know what they're going to get from their starting trio of receivers so it came as no surprise to hear that the first-team has been making plays through the air.

However, it's the depth that has McCarney believing this will be the best group of wideouts he's ever had. David Banks-Bursey and Lance Young, two JUCO transfers from the 2001 signing class, are off to a good start. The decision on whether to redshirt true freshman Jon Davis is getting that much harder, as the Omaha area product is turning heads again this fall. McCarney was particularly impressed with a touchdown catch Davis made during Monday's morning practice.

"The receivers—from what I've been talking about all along—are a very good group," McCarney said. "The depth is really strong there right now. Jon Davis continues to improve. David Banks-Bursey has picked up right where he left off in the spring game. You saw him do a lot of good things. He's had an excellent camp. Those two and Lance Young are basically coming off the bench right now as backups to those three starters."

Competition Continues in Secondary

Cyclone fans shouldn't worry about their team's depth in the defensive secondary, but instead should sympathize with the coaches responsible for picking the starting lineup.

Atif Austin, Harold Clewis, Johnny Smith III and Ellis Hobbs IIeach have a legitimate chance at earning starting jobs at cornerback. Meanwhile at safety, Marc Timmons, Anthony Forrest, Steve Paris and JaMaine Billups have been rotating throughout camp.

"It's real tight," McCarney said. "We've got four safeties and four corners rotating in there. We need every practice and scrimmage to find out who our starters are. It's good competition. We're really rolling corners right now. Those kids are all real close right now. I couldn't name any starters right now."

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