Notebook: Need to know nuggets for spring ball
AMES --- Football season is here.
Well, kind of.
Iowa State held its first spring football practice of 2013 on Tuesday and as you’d expect, reporters had a long list of questions ready for fifth-year head coach Paul Rhoads.
We’ll have plenty more content from yesterday’s events here at Cyclone Fanatic later in the week but until then, here are the need to know nuggets regarding the Cyclones and the start of spring football.
Three rather important Cyclones will not participate in spring practice due to injuries suffered at the end of last season.
On the defensive side of the ball, there’s defensive end David Irving and cornerback Jansen Watson.
Irving, a 6-foot-7, 272-pound junior, had shoulder surgery in the offseason.
“It was hampering him probably the last third of the season,” said Rhoads. “He got that fixed right after the spring semester started. He is deep into his rehab actually."
Irving is projected to start at defensive end for Iowa State this season.
Starting cornerback Jansen Watson is being held out as well after having shoulder surgery. Both are expected to be ready to go in the fall.
Then there is senior running back Shontrelle Johnson, who is recovering from knee surgery (ACL) after suffering the injury during bowl practices.
“Shontrelle will be out all spring without question,” said Rhoads. “What’s RG3’s rehab? Freakish or something? Super human? I don’t think there is any kryptonite holding Shontrelle back right now either. They are very, very pleased with how fast he is coming along.”
*** Walk-on safety Gage Shaeffer will also miss the spring due to injury.
*** Rhoads said that junior tight end E.J. Bibbs suffered an “AC sprain” on Tuesday and is now listed as day-to-day.
Position change for Brackens/Broomfield
That’s what Iowa State did with Deon Broomfield and Jared Brackens on the depth chart. Broomfield, who played nickel last season, is now listed as Iowa State’s top strong safety. Brackens, a junior, is listed as Iowa State’s top SAM linebacker.
“He was not getting the things done in space that we wanted to see him accomplish,” said Rhoads of Brackens. “The nickel back/SAM linebacker position is not a deep position that we have. Jared is a physical player. He is smart and he is aggressive and we just think that putting him up close to the ball is a better spot for him and it is better for us right now with our depth.”
Brackens seemed happy and confident about the move during post-practice interviews. He is now listed at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. Broomfield is at 6-foot, 206.
Rhoads noted it while talking about new offensive line coach Chris Klenakis, who comes to Ames from Nevada.
As did quarterback Sam Richardson.
Expect to see more of the pistol formation out of Iowa State’s offense in 2013.
“We are going a little but more of a pistol set for zone-reads and that type of thing,” said Richardson. “It will definitely improve for tendency wise with the defense not really knowing what we are running at. It is a small difference but it will definitely help out.”
It was only one day of practice and no, the Cyclones didn’t pad up, but former Iowa Western Community College running back Aaron Wimberly impressed everyone in attendance.
“He didn’t disappoint,” said Rhoads. “He has had an excellent offseason. He possesses all of the skills that we thought when we recruited him. Standing behind the backfield and watching some of his single cuts and his ability to slash through small holes, I was excited.”
Wimberly, who currently sits fifth on Iowa State’s running back depth charg, is listed at 5-foot-9, 173 pounds.
“I refer to these practices as in our underwear,” said Rhoads. “When you are just out here in your helmets, you aren’t really playing true football. But there were some true cuts that he was making.”
Wimberly ran for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns in route to a NJCAA national title at Iowa Western last season.
*** Rhoads on the fruits of his last few recruiting classes that were rich in defensive backs...
“We have good speed and athleticism at that cornerback position for sure. We have a couple of veteran safeties with Deon going from nickel to strong. T.J. Mutcherson is probably our most athletic safety. We will see if he can get out there and fully learn the defense and do the things that he needs to do to play in the scheme.”
*** Take a look at the depth chart and you’ll see A LOT of youth at wide receiver.
“What’s exciting is the length of these guys and their ability to stretch the field, maybe more so than we have had in the four previous seasons,” said Rhoads. “I saw a little bit of that today.”
***Junior Jacob Gannon moved from guard to tackle on the offensive line, where he currently tops the list at left tackle. Gannon weighed in at 6-foot-7, 300 pounds. Another former guard, Kyle Lichtenberg, gets the nod at right tackle.