Stubbe, Johnson Impress in First Start

Forget about any hazing rituals often reserved for rookies or first-timers. The initiation right tackle <b><a href=>Cale Stubbe</a></b> and left guard <b><a href=>Dewayne Johnson</a></b> received Saturday night against Florida State was much more difficult to endure.

Although Johnson is a senior and Stubbe a third-year sophomore, both saw their first significant action against the Seminoles. Even more impressive is the fact that they started on the opposite side of the ball they were recruited to play.

Offensive line coach Marty Fine, making his first appearance on the sidelines for ISU, felt his players laid a nice foundation for the 2002 season.

"I thought we played well in spurts," Fine said. "I was real pleased with the effort and intensity. Obviously you expect them to improve between the first game and second game. How much we improve and how far we can take this thing this week will be a determining as to how successful we are this year."

It's often hard for the common fan to measure the play of an offensive lineman, but look no further than the statistics for proof that Stubbe and Johnson played huge on Saturday.

The Cyclones racked up 443 yards of total offense and 23 first downs. Seneca Wallace, for the most part, had plenty of time to throw the ball and completed 22-of-33 passes for a pair of touchdowns. Against the stout Seminole defensive front, Hiawatha Rutland came up just short of reaching the 100-yard mark.

Commenting on his offensive line as a group, Coach Dan McCarney had numerous great things to say.

"I was real proud of them overall," he said. "With 443 total yards, 23 first downs and I think we were 12-of-19 on third and fourth down conversions. That's unbelievable against that kind of opponent and defense. As a unit we played better in our first game as an offensive line than I thought we could have. We've got a long ways to go as a unit.

"But then to protect as well as we did and put up those kind of numbers against that kind of opponent, I would have been surprised if we had put that up against a bad opponent much less one of the tops in the country. As a unit I'm very pleased with the progress and productivity, but as a coach you go back to the opportunities we had to win that game and some of the mistakes we've got to clean up. I'm still concerned with our offensive line and the depth. We've got to play better this week. If we do that then we've got a real good chance to win the game."

Among the things that Fine and McCarney would like to see cleaned up is the play down the stretch. Stubbe and Johnson were gassed down the stretch and that led to a drop-off in their play, said Fine.

"Late in the game, some fatigue effected our technique and our ability to stay within the scope of what we're trying to do," he said. "Physically, they both played pretty good. But mentally when they got fatigued and their bodies got tired they raised their pad level. We have to avoid that if we're going to be successful."

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