April 18, 2014

Iowa Legislature honors Iowa State basketball team

The Cyclone basketball team and Coach Fred Hoiberg were honored by the Iowa House  and Senate.

The Cyclone basketball team and Coach Fred Hoiberg were honored by the Iowa House and Senate.

The Iowa State basketball team visited the statehouse this afternoon where both the house and senate passed resolutions honoring a Cyclone squad which won the Big 12 Tournament and made it to the “sweet 16″ of the NCAA Tournament.

“This is such a tremendous honor for our basketball team. Just the support that we’ve had all across the state of Iowa has been absolutely tremendous,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg told lawmakers.

Hoberg says  the Cyclones appreciated the bi-partisan support during their NCAA tournament run. “To have Congressman King, to have Governor Branstand come into our lockerroom and talk to our teams. To be able to talk to Senator Harkin on the phone — who called just before we went out to  New York to play in the that Sweet 16 game against Connecticut — where if fully health, I fully expect we would have won that game. It would have been us cutting down those nets in Dallas — but hey, it happens,” Hoiberg says.

Hoiberg introduced the players in both chambers and said it was a “great day for Iowa State.”

UNI-Drake softball game moved indoors

In-state rivals collide in a Missouri Valley Conference softball twinbill in Cedar Falls on Tuesday when UNI hosts Drake. UNI coach Ryan Jacobs says they are moving the game inside the UNI-Dome because of the weather. Drake is 13-24 on the season. Opponents are batting over .300 and the Bulldog pitching staff sports an earned run average of nearly five. Jacobs says Drake has probably their worst pitching situation, but has made it work.

Drake coach Rich Calvert does not mind playing in the UNI-Dome. “The nice thing about it is you’re dry, and it’s 72 degrees,” Calvert says. He says with the way the spring is going, they are happy to not have to deal with the elements.

The Bulldogs opened the season 0-10 and dropped their first five Valley games but they have won eight of their last 10 games an now stand 5-7 in conference play. Calvert says they are starting to figure out roles on the team and how to coach them, and they hope to keep it going.

Hawkeyes have rough practice in West Des Moines

For the second straight year the Iowa football team held a practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. Coach Kirk Ferentz says it is a way to thank the fans in central and western Iowa who make the journey to Kinnick Stadium each season. “It’s 9 days into it, it’s our third week, so it gives a little change of pace for the players, a little adjustment coming over here,” Ferentz says.

Ferentz was not overly impressed with what he saw from the Hawkeyes. “There’s some good things going on out there, some things that are encouraging, but a lot of things today that would really get us beat in the fall, and that’s spring ball,” Ferentz says.

Iowa concludes spring drills on April 26th with an intrasquad game.

ISU football player kicked off team after Veishea arrest

Iowa State’s thin defensive line is even thinner after Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads kicked David Irving off the team. Irving was dismissed after being charged for his part in a campus riot last week that led to the canceling of Veisha.

Rhoads made the announcement after Saturday’s intrasquad game. “It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of this football program and represent Iowa State football, Iowa State Athletics and Iowa State University,” Rhoads says. “David Irving has exhausted that privilege to represent this football program by not meeting the expectations that we’ve laid out for him.”

The Cyclones still have two practices this week to close out spring drills and Rhoads is not ready to name a starting quarterback for next season. Grant Rohach, Sam Richardson and Joel Lanning all rotated on Saturday. He says with three quarterbacks, it’s hard to find a separation between them with the among of snaps they have. Rhoads says they will decide by fall so the top guy gets most of the snaps with the first team.

Coach looking for consistency in Cyclone spring football game

Spring drills conclude at Iowa State on Saturday when the Cyclones host an intrasquad game. ISU coach Paul Rhoads won’t be keeping score in this one. They plan to play the first team against the second team and there will be no special teams. “Everybody on the roster will get snaps and play and hopefully we’ll have a physical and healthy scrimmage,” Rhoads says.

Rhoads says he wants to see a clean game with few mistakes. He says there will be some mistakes because of the new offense and defenses they have put in, but overall he is looking for consistency in carrying out the things they’ve been working on.

The scrimmage begins at two o’clock in Jack Trice Stadium.

Iowa running backs face competition for playing time

With their top four rushers back from last year there is added competition during spring drills for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Mark Weisman, Jordan Canzeri, Damon Bullock and LeShun Daniels all return off last year’s team that finished 8-5. “There’s great competition, we have depth at the running back position right now, we have experience at the running back position, and we have some young guys who are trying to make a move and earn their niche at the running back position,”  according to running backs coach Chris White.

White says the crowded competition is a good problem to have as it creates great competition and pushes the players to move forward. White says each of the running backs bring something a little different to the offense. He says it would be great if one back could do it all, but says that’s not going to happen.

Several redshirt freshman are vying for playing time in a receiving corps that should help the offense make more big plays next season. “Right now we’re seeing good results from some of those guys, but it’s a continuous process,” receivers coach Bobby Kennedy says.

Damond Powell provided a big play spark last season and Kennedy says he is working hard to become a complete receiver. He says he sees Powell as continuing to develop through camp and hopefully making a move.

The Hawkeyes will hold a practice at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines on Saturday.

New Drake football coach won’t continue tradition of barking at recruits

Drake football coach Rick Fox says the transition has been smooth as he goes through his first spring as a head coach. After spending six years as the offensive line coach Fox took over after former coach Chris Creighton left to take over at Eastern Michigan and admits he has a much different style than the former coach. “Coach Creighton, when a recruit would commit to Drake, he would start barking on the phone,” Fox says. “I tried to do that once and it just didn’t sound very good. It’s just not me.”

Fox says the style on the field won’t change much. The exception is a defense which is working with new coordinator Todd Stepsis. “They are ahead of where I had hoped them to be,” Fox says. After winning two straight Pioneeer Football League titles the Bulldogs slipped to 6-5 last year and part of the reason was a ground game that only averaged 96 yards per game.

Fox says the Bulldogs need to be more balanced. “We’ve got to have that ability, we are not going to be a run it no matter what (team)…we’ve got to be able to do both,” Fox says.

Drake’s spring game is April 19th.