It’s a tale of two tailbacks as Iowa State and Iowa look for success in the 2003 football season. Iowa senior Fred Russell comes as the experienced number one — while the Cyclones’ freshman Stevie Hicks starts the fall as the number one with great expectations. Russell ran for over 12-hundred yards and nine touchdowns, despite missing two games with injuries. He thinks he can do better and prove a lot. He says he gained a lot of yards while still missing games due to injury. The five-foot-eight, 192-pound Russell says he worked hard in the off-season to improve his upper body strength. He worked on his upper body this summer to try and prevent the shoulder problems he’s had in the past.Backup Jermelle Lewis was injured in the spring and that leaves two freshmen to spell Russell. He says he’s willing to lug the ball a lot if needed, and can lug it 30 carries a game if needed.Iowa has a new quarterback and several offensive linemen this season, but Russell says that doesn’t mean the defense will have to carry the load early. He says it’s too early to say that, he says the offense might click the first couple of games, but the defense may carry them. In Ames, the six-foot-two-inch and 214 pound Hicks strikes an imposing presence in the Cyclone backfield. He drew uncharacteristic praise from coach Dan McCarney while playing on the practice squad during his redshirt season last year. McCarney has hooked his hopes for an improved running game to Hicks, who says he’s not worried about stepping into the big time. Hicks says he doesn’t let himself get too much pressure from outside as he only tries to listen to what his coach says. Hicks says he hasn’t had to endure much rookie hazing, in fact, he says veteran Michael Wagner has helped him a lot in knowing what to do. Hicks could be one of a handful of freshmen who find themselves starting for I-S-U this year, but he doesn’t think that’s an indication that the team won’t be very good. He says they will surprise a lot of people and be pretty good.Hicks is from Omaha, Nebraska, while Russell is from Inskster, Michigan. Iowa opens the season August 30th at home against Miami of Ohio, while the Cyclones open the same day at home against U-N-I.
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