Rhoads Brings Different Kind Of Enthusiasm

One change ISU football fans will notice about the 2009 Iowa State Cyclones in their first season under new coach Paul Rhoads is that the players have names on the back of their uniforms.

Several other changes, however, were very prevalent at Iowa State press day in the attitude and language of the players and coaches. Rhoads brings a youthful enthusiasm and it seems to be infectious to the rest of his program.

Rhoads was asked during his press day media conference if he would he have to temper his enthusiasm now that he is head coach.

"It will be hard to temper my enthusiasm whether I'm the head football coach or a ball boy out there," Rhoads said. "That has always been case; this game has to be played with emotion and it has to be coached as well."

The Cyclones are coming off a 2-10 season in which they lost their final 10 games but Rhoads said his team does not look like that in their attitude when they hit the field.

"Coming off a break, our kids are fresh and enthusiastic about a new era in Cyclone football," Rhoads said. "We've attacked those numbers from day one. We don't hide from them and we don't try to brush them under the carpet.

"We talk about them openly and the challenges that it takes to overcome that," Rhoads said. "I see a football team that's very hungry and has a very desirous group of young men that want nothing more than to be successful on the gridiron.

Quarterback Austen Arnaud echoed Rhoads sentiment and talked about the passion that Rhoads has shown since he took the job in December and met with the team in January.

"He is so charismatic about his job and about Iowa State," Arnaud said. "That just got everybody in when got here, being so fired up."

The Cyclones have been picked near to or last in the Big 12 in many preseason publications but that does not seem to matter to any of the players, as all they spoke about was how ready they are to start practice and get ready for their season opener on September 3rd against North Dakota State.

Linebacker Fred Garrin said 2008 is in the rear-view mirror and the Cyclones are just looking forward to trying to get better and win more games this season.

"We believe in each other more than anyone else will," linebacker Fred Garrin said. "We are going to stick together and see it through to get this program turned around.

"Coach Rhoads is a very personable coach and he has brought that hunger back to the team and we are ready to play for him," Garrin said.

One of the things Rhoads outlined as objectives when he first took the job was being a very physical football team. He said that starts with the first practice, especially Saturday when Iowa State will be in full pads for the first time.

"If you are near the field, you had better be able to hear the practice," Rhoads said. "Everyone knows what to expect in that nature."

And as Rhoads begins his first fall training camp Thursday with his new team, he said he wants to improve in every facet of the program this season.

"That starts with and is the same way with training camp," Rhoads said. "When training camp ends, everybody on this team should have a better stance than they do tomorrow; we have to improve at every single thing that we do."

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