CSR Insider: Cyclones Ready For Fall Camp

Only Cyclone Sports Report was in Texas to bring you the coverage of what Coach Rhoads and his players went through during his first Big 12 Media Day.

IRVING, Tx. -- The longest part of the day for new Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads at his first Big 12 Media Days may not have been fielding questions from reporters.

It may have been the three extra hours that Rhoads, as well as quarterback Austen Arnaud, offensive lineman Reggie Stephens and defensive lineman Nate Frere, had to spend at the Des Moines airport waiting for the weather to become suitable for their trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

"We did a whole lot of nothing," Frere said.

Once the Cyclones reached the Westin-DFW North hotel in Dallas area, Rhoads and the three players he brought with him fielded questions about the new era in Cyclone football from conference media. That era begins in earnest in just over a week on August 4th with fall camp as the Cyclones prepare for their season opener with North Dakota State on September 3rd.

"Whether these are individual goals or notches that we've got to take care of, every game is critically Important," Rhoads said. "Obviously, a lot of folks want to talk about the matchup between us and Iowa, and then it moves on to this game or that game. We're worried about August 4th, our start of training camp, and the preparations for North Dakota State."

"And really I believe I've got a group of kids that aren't looking beyond that," Rhoads said.

Iowa State is coming off a season, in which it dropped its final ten games, including all eight conference games, to finish 2-10. The Cyclones also have the longest road losing streak in the country, and those are hurdles that Rhoads said his team will have to overcome but the players want to attack those challenges.

"We don't hide from them; we don't try to brush them under the carpet," Rhoads said. "From the first team meeting that took place with our football team on January 12th through today, I see a football team that is very hungry and has a very desirous group of young men that want nothing more than to be successful on the gridiron."

All of the players talked very positively about what they have seen in the early parts of Rhoads's tenure as they prepare for the start of practice.

"Coach Rhoads is very hands-on," defensive lineman Nate Frere said. "He puts the effort forward to know you."

Arnaud, a fourth-year junior, is playing for his third head coach and coaching staff and said he has seen so many differences in each coach in his time at Iowa State.

"This guy has so much energy, it's awesome," Arnaud said. "Coach Rhoads is one of the most upbeat guys I've ever met in my life."

The main points of Rhoads press conference centered around the changes that he has had to make from position coach and coordinator to leading a program as well as some schematic changes from Gene Chizik's staff.

The offense under new offensive coordinator Tom Herman will show some of the same spread offense principles that the previous staff did, at a much higher tempo. The Cyclones will be almost completely no-huddle this season.

"A lot of offensive success with the spread offense is just a result of wearing down a defensive football team," Rhoads said. "I think at Iowa State you've got to be unique in approach to a number of things, and one of those things is what we do schematically offensively."

Rhoads said the biggest difference for him now is that he does more administrative work than X's and O's work that he had done in the past.

"I think the biggest difference that I've encountered is what comes through my office on a daily basis. I deal a lot less with Xs and Os and the specific recruitment of a certain area as I did as a position coach and as a coordinator," Rhoads said. "And from about 8:00 on, there are a lot of things that come through the door, come across my desk that I need to put my fingerprints on, and I desire to do that as we get the program up and running."

"I think one of the things that concerned me is jumping in defensively, and I maybe surprised myself in that I have been able to stay out of Wally's way and our defensive coaches' way as well as everybody on the staff," Rhoads said.

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