Iowa State State University held its annual football media day Wednesday to kick off the 2003 season. Cyclone Coach Dan McCarney made it clear from the start that the focus is on the season ahead and the players, not the suspensions of runningback Hiawatha Rutland and quarterback Chris Love for off the field alcohol offenses. They were on the field for team pictures but McCarney says they’ve lost the right to speak for the team and he’s not letting them do interviews.The entire team practiced for the first time Wednesday morning under new NCAA rules that does away with the old system of bringing in the freshmen three days early for practice. McCarney says the best battles on the team are at quarterback, runningback, right guard and tight end. With Love’s suspension, Waye Terry and Austin Flynn are fighting for the starting quarterback spot. McCarney want’s to have a clear starter decided by the first game, preferably the week before.Flynn is a redshirt freshman, as is Stevie Hicks, the top tailback on the depth chart at this point. McCarney says Hicks has a lot of assets that’ve put him in the starting spot.McCarney says he’s 214, but can run with power or finesse and says Hicks has oustanding hands. The coach says the only thing he doesn’t have yet is playing time.There are two freshmen vying for the right guard spot, and McCarney was asked if he could live with it if he had multiple freshmen in the starting lineup. McCarney joke that he’s okay with that, although it may lead to just a half hour’s sleep prior to the first game. McCarney says he has confidence though in the freshmen and says they could be playing for any team in the county. He says it’s just a matter of how soon they’ll be ready.McCarney says the defense has the most experience coming back and that is a strength, and says the key to the defensive improvement is more speed.The Cyclones open the season in Ames August 30th against in-state foe UNI.
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