ISU coach Gene Chizik New Iowa State University head football coach, Gene Chizik, says he likes the attitude he’s seen from his football team in the first few days of fall practice.

"I think they’re very excited to try to continue to learn, and I think they’re hungry, they want to excel, they want to be better than they were last year. They want to be a contender type football team in the Big 12," according to Chizik.

Chizik got to know most of the team in spring ball and he says that helped get rid over any uncertainty about what to expect as fall practice opened. He says a lot of the learning curve is gone and they’re focused now on learning the x’s and o’s and the team has a good feel for the coaches and their expectations. Chizik says there’s a lot to learn in the time before the first game.

Chizik says there are only so many things you can do in football, but there is new stuff, and different stuff, and all of the language has changed, making it "a tall order" for the players to grasp. He gives the players credit for working hard and doing what the coaches ask them to do. One of the key areas of focus for the team is the offensive line, where just one starter is back.

Chizik says the offensive line can be the most complicated to coach because of what the defense can do to you, and that requires a lot of talking and communication to get things done. He says that makes it a hard job in developing new and young offensive linemen.

There are veterans in some spots, but the new coach says everyone is still fighting for their position until the first game. "It’s still open, and there are so many question marks out there,"Chizik says. He says there are a lot of guys who are close to each other in what they’re doing. Chizik says the guys who have experience obviously have a leg up on the new guys, but he says all the positions won’t be filled until game day. That opening day will come on August 30th against Kent State in Ames.