With a new coach in place the Iowa State football team begins preparations for the upcoming season looking to improve upon last year’s 2-10 record. I.S.U. lost the final ten games of the 2008 season and after it was over coach Gene Chizik bolted for Auburn.
Paul Rhoads enter his first season at the helm and says everyone is ready to move on. Rhoads says the team is “fresh and their enthusiastic”, with no turmoil in the program and excitement about the upcoming season. Rhoads says it will be important to maintain a positive attitude no matter what the outcomes of games are. He says they talk about not being satisfied as a player and as team, and says they also tell them not to get frustrated.
Rhoads says they may lose some football games, but they have to see the things they are improving on and can’t dwell loses and have to continue pushing forward. Rhoads has served as an assistant at several schools but this is his first stint as a head coach. He says he is not approaching this season any differently.
Rhoads says he doesn’t believe it is any different than when he was a student coach starting out in 1989, he says the game has to be played and coached with emotion and enthusiasm. Improvement begins with a defense that gave up nearly 36 points per game in 2008, and Rhoads says they have to be a much improved tackling team.
Rhoads says the Cyclones must limit big plays, as they have to make teams earn their points and shorten the game. The Cyclones not only need to find several new starters on defense they must also build depth. He says the depth is not settled on offense, but is more established.
A year ago Austen Arnaud was locked in a battle with Philip Bates at quarterback. He enters his junior season as the established starter.
Arnaud says his teammates elected him captain and that is good, and he says it is his team, and has to be for the team to succeed. Arnaud says his play will dictate how they play as a team.
Arnaud leads an experienced offense that will run a no-huddle spread offense this season installed by new offensive coordinator Tom Herman. Arnaud believes the Cyclones will be able to score a lot of points, and that’s the main goal, outscore every opponent. Arnaud says while the Cyclones will spread the field they still want to be balanced.
Arnaud says they will still run the ball alot, along with passing. The Cyclones open the season at home against North Dakota State on September third.