Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads says the Cyclones are thrilled that game week is here. ISU opens at home against North Dakota State. “We’re excited about the challenged that North Dakota State brings to us as the three-time national champion and winners of 24 straight games. They have our kids full attention as they should,” Rhoads says.
Rhoads says the Bison have proven they can compete against FBS opponents and can beat anybody in America on any given day based on how hard they play. The Bison have a new head coach this season in Waterloo native Chris Klieman but roads says a “culture of winning” remains. “To me that’s the biggest successful piece regardless of a head coach moving on, graduated seniors, whoever you want to talk about. There isn’t anybody in that program that doesn’t know how to win and expect to win,”Rhoads says.
Klieman took over for Craig Bohl, who left to become the head coach at Wyoming. Rhoads says the Bison feature a hard nosed defense that is designed to shut down the ground game. He says they play hard sideline to sideline and that is part of the culture of winning the reason they have been successful. He says they don’t have a lot of 5 star players, but the way they play game makes them tough.
Rhoads says he likes this team even though the expectations for this season and says they have responded to what has been laid out in front of them. Rhoads says a lot of questions will be answered about a defense that had a lot of holes to fill. “Am I happier at this point than what I was a year ago from what I’ve seen on the practice field? Yes I am,” Rhoads says. He says they do still have areas of concern.
Freshman Allen Lazard has moved into the two deep at wide receiver and that has become one of ISU’s strongest unit. He says they have depth, speed and talent and need to figure out where to put everyone. Rhoads says they will play a number of 4 wide receiver sets on Saturday and will move guys around.