CSR Talks With Coach Herman

Is the Iowa State offense ready to kick off the 2009 season? Cyclone Sports Report found out all the key answers when they went one-on-one with Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman.

Cyclone Sports Report: How confident are you with Austen Arnaud running your offense as we head into the season?

Tom Herman: I am very confident and we feel he will be very successful. It will be interesting to see him when the lights go on and the game counts and he doesn't have the black protective jersey. We will really find out a lot and we'll get to know if our assessment of him is right on the mark.

CSR: When spring ball was over you told me that Alexander Robinson was clearly your starter at running back. What is your take on the development of Bo Williams and Jeremiah Schwartz and are there any freshman that you realistically think could see time at running back this year?

TH: They have made progress but if you are asking me if they are where we want them to be I would have to say no. Jeremiah has progressed more but they still have got a ways to go to get where A-Rob is at in regards to our offense. We need thme to step up because we realize we can't have one running back play the whole game. I think Beau Blankenship has a solid chance of getting in and playing at some in the season but in regards to when and how much I just don't know at the moment.

CSR: Do you feel Darius Darks can have a big impact early in the season?

TH: I hope he can because he has looked real good these past few practices. When you miss practices like he did with the depth we have at that position you're going to have some ground to make up when you get back because others have progressed. I really think he'll make an impact but I don't know to what extent.

CSR: Has Darius Reynolds surprised you with his outstanding play during fall camp?

TH: Yeah, I would say that Darius has surprised me in two ways. First, as a JC player you never know what you are going to get in regards to intensity and football smarts. He has done great in this regard and has shown an outstanding work ethic. You can really tell how important football is to him. The other way he has surprised me is that three to four days into training camp his head was swimming and it was looking like he would be an impact guy. Then the light just clicked on and he has really sky-rocketed the past few weeks.

CSR: How many wide receivers will realistically be in the mix on game day?

TH: I would say that we feel good about six or seven that could play during a game. Seven might be stretching it a little bit but I'm very confident that six guys can get solid repetitions during a game.

CSR: Have there been any other players that have really surprised you on offense during camp?

TH: Jake Williams at wide receiver who just recently was awarded a scholarship has definitely been a surprise. After spring practices I probably wouldn't recognize him if he walked right by me but now I really feel comfortable with him in the rotation. He's just been so consistent and myself and the rest of the staff joke around a lot about how all the kid does is make plays. The other guy who has surprised me is Derrick Catlett. We all knew about the athleticism of Collin Frankling but Derrick has shown that he is every bit as trustworthy and durable playing the tight end position.

CSR: The offensive line saw some adjustments heading into camp as Reggie Stephens moved to center and Alex Alvarez moved to guard. Do you feel the offensive line is coming together as a unit?

TH: Yeah, as a coach you always feel that you can do better at each position but we feel we have the five best on the field and that we have got them where they should be on the line. Reggie does a great job of making the calls and we really feel he can play physical when he matches up against really big nose guards.

CSR: What are the most important things that can come from the North Dakota State game from an offensive coordinator standpoint?

TH: The first thing is effort which I don't think will be an issue. We haven't played eighty snaps in three hours so we just have to make sure that we keep maximum level at all times. We have to keep a solid tempo and we can't be lolligagging if we want to win. Execution will also be huge in that if we do the fundamentals such as blocking and running the right route we should be just fine. Lastly, we have to hold on the football and make explosive plays. The Minnesota Vikings did a study a while back and it showed that teams that won the both of those categories won their game 98% of the time. So we have really been stressing that all through camp with the guys.

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