Here’s what head coach Paul Rhoads and offensive coordinator Mark Mangino had to say after the second Iowa State football scrimmage.
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What’s Rhoads happy about the most afterwards? Not a lot of injuries, naturally.
“Very pleased with our health,” Rhoads said while speaking to the media. “This day is always one that you’re a little nervous because you’re going upwards in snaps and your guys are a little tired from training camp.”
“We were as strong on play 60 as we were on play six. That’s important to know at this point. I think we’ve become quite a bit smarter as a football team. I think our toughness as upgraded, both mentally and physically.”
Overall, Rhoads is pretty realistic with his expectations, but he definitely sees an improvement with the defense.
“I’m pleased with where we’re at. I’m also fully aware of reality and that we have a young defensive football team and we’re continuing to learn a new system on offense. For the second scrimmage in a row, I thought our young defense tackled well.”
Nov 2, 2013; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back John Hubert (33) is tackled by Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Jevohn Miller (55) during the first half at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Rhoads wasn’t too concerned with who looked better on one side of the ball. They’re still in what he calls “install mode” and with scrimmages, they’re just trying to get stuff on film to look at and coach their kids with.
They also didn’t use their running backs a lot, considering they’re saving them for the season.
As for the kicking game, Rhoads is happy about the consistency, and that’s great news for a field goal kicker that became more efficient as the 2013 went on.
“[Cole Netten] had a great summer. I’ve been blessed here to have guys that are very serious about being a specialist– Kirby Van Der Kamp and Cole. Cole’s blessed to be local, and to have Peter Rameh– who coached him [at Akeny High School]– to be able to talk to him, and that’s very beneficial in the process.”
“He’s really consistent right now. I’ve always established a goal of being really good from 40 in.”
On the quarterbacks, Rhoads believes that neither one has thrown an interception. Rhoads reiterates the reasons why Grant Rohach has snapped the ball first in the spring and fall, but didn’t discount how much Sam Richardson has improved
Rhoads: “I’m pleased with where we’re at. I’m also fully aware of reality and that we have a young defensive football team and we’re continuing to learn a new system on offense.”
Chuckling, Mangino wouldn’t elaborate on the quarterback subject much further. He said he’s going to evaluate the tape and “dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s.”
Mangino expects more out of both the offensive line and, surprisingly, the wide receivers. He notes that there’s been significant improvement from the first day, but they need to grow in physicality. There are some players that are physical, but he demands the entire group to be physical.
It’s more than just catching the ball — it’s all the other things that go into the job, such as blocking and being smarter when it comes to reading defenses. The good news is that overall, the group seems to understand the new offense, which is one less thing they’ll need to keep working on and worry about.
Other Iowa State football scrimmage news:
— Tommy Birch of The Des Moines Register reports that both starters at the safety position are solidified with T.J. Mutcherson and Kamari Cotton-Moya. One position that will likely not have a constant player is outside linebacker, where it’s likely that Jevohn Miller and Luke Knott could receive similar playing time.
Because the team will begin preparing for North Dakota State on Tuesday, the depth chart will be finalized by then.
Also reported was JUCO transfer Gabe Luna playing in the second scrimmage. Dealing with a back injury, the coaching staff was pondering a potential redshirt for Luna.
— Randy Peterson of The Des Moines Register also makes his prediction at quarterback, and just like everybody else, he believes Sam Richardson will be the guy under center. That was our official prediction back on Friday afternoon.