Iowa State is preparing for its Big 12 opener at home on Thursday night against Texas. The Cyclones are 1-2 after a win at Tulsa and coach Paul Rhoads says so far the Big 12 appears to be an unpredictable as expected. “There’s a lot of talent in this league, there’s a lot of great coaching in this league, certainly a high rate of competitive people in this league, so you’re going to have upsets, you’re going to have great ballgames that play out and you’re going to have lopsided games as well,”Rhoads says.
There are five running backs listed on the two-deep but Aaron Wimberly is clearly the number one guy. Wimberly rushed for 137 yards in the win at Tulsa. He says Wimberly will get the bulk of carries and they have packages that will involve other backs as well. Rhoads says Wimberly has displayed the big play ability he showed at Iowa Western Community College and that’s why they recruited him heavily and they had a lot of competition for him.
Iowa State has posted several upsets with Rhoads as coach. He says the players know they can win any game they play. “They also know that a lot of hard work and preparation goes into that to lead to game-day execution,” he says. He says there aren’t Cinderella wins, they come with hard work and preparation.
An injury to David Ash means Iowa State is not sure who will be the quarterback for Texas. Rhoads says that won’t change their preparation as they have to consider it, but he says it’s only a factor if there’s a distinct difference of what a player can do. He says they will still run the Texas offense.
Texas is 2-2 and the pressure is mounting on veteran coach Mack Brown. Rhoads says Brown is one of the most respected coaches in the country. “This is a guy who has been there and done that with high character, high integrity…one of the decisions Mack Brown makes every morning before he goes to work is what championship ring he puts on his hand as he goes to work. There’s not a lot of folks who can say that or who have to make that decision,” Rhoads say. “He knows how to coach, he knows how to win the game.”
This will be the first time the Longhorns have played a midweek game in the middle of the season. Longhorns coach Mack Brown says they have adjusted their schedule. He says they will adjust practice and travel Wednesday and then come back Thursday and have to get the players up for classes on Friday.
Brown says the Longhorns expect a tough battle. “They are 7-2 on Thursday night and Friday night and 20-36 on Saturdays, so Thursdays and Fridays have been huge nights for them to play,” Brown says. He says they are plus 52 points on turnovers in the Thursday and Friday night games since 2008.