Paul Rhoads (file photo)

The Iowa State football team is starting the second week of spring practice and coach Paul Rhoads likes the progress his team has made.

“If I could describe practice in two words, it would be intense and physical,” Rhoads says. “Very pleased, even the first two days in helmets only, how we started, how we practiced and what the tempo was.”

A few regulars on defense are being held out of spring drills due to injury. That includes senior linebacker Jake Knott who was bothered by a shoulder injury last season.

Rhoads says Knott is working hard off the field but they want to make sure he starts next season healthy, and he will not practice this spring.

He says they want to get Knott through the summer healthy so that he goes into the fall ready to go. Rhoads says they are using this spring to build some depth on defense. Rhoads says they are without some guys that will be important, but that allows others to get the work they need to improve.

Knott says the Cyclones are motivated by the loss to Rutgers that ended last season and that has been evident in practice. “After the last game in the Pinstripe Bowl in that loss, I think that really humbled and hungered our team even more so,” Knott says. He says they want to work so they come out with a victory in those type of situations.

Knott says being held out of spring practice will help him for next season. He says he’s been hurt every summer going into fall camp, and that set him back after all the work he put in during the winter. Knott says the type of workouts he is doing now will help ensure he is the strongest and fastest he’s ever been.

“When I’m healthy there’s a lot more things that I can do than when I’m hampered by something nagging me, and that’s going to be one of the biggest things going into the fall,” Knott says. He says it’s hard to watch everyone and not being able to practice this spring is tough, but he says it makes more sense to be fully healthy in the summer and into the fall.

Iowa State’s spring game is April 14th.