Iowa State football: Paul Rhoads discusses Baylor, evaluates defensive players


Here’s all the highlights and analysis from Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads’ weekly press conference. This week, the coach talks about how he’s preparing his team against the Baylor Bears, he’d pick the opponent’s quarterback as his Heisman frontrunner, and just how unique the offense is under Art Briles.

The full video can be seen here (via while a quick rundown can be seen below it.

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— Rhoads believes you can’t focus on just the running or passing attack of Baylor. However, “as prolific as they are in the pass game, you better stop their run game to have a chance at having overall success against them.”

— Having the two-week bye opened up more defenders to prepare for one-on-one coverage. That’s pivotal against Baylor, who has multiple weapons coming back in the receiving corps this week.

— Rhoads mentioned that he would pick quarterback Bryce Petty as the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy this year. He noted later in the  press conference that accuracy shines the most on the quarterback, and he’s incredibly quick to get the ball out of his hand.

— The coach believes this is a game where some of the defenders on the team can make a name for themselves. He doesn’t believe Nigel Tribune has played to his potential this season.

— Evaluating other defensive players, most notable is praising T.J. Mutcherson for the best game of his career against Iowa two weeks ago. Rhoads believes the defense will improve each week, just like the team will.

— Rhoads acknowledges that the team has changed preparations on Friday and Saturday. They tend to do less with the players on Friday since they work really hard with them throughout the course of the week.

— Baylor’s offense “is extremely unique.” It doesn’t play like your standard spread offense. How is that the case? They’re incredibly smart. Rhoads believes that by looking at what the defense is showing when the Bears run the ball, the Bears will set up their passing game in the best way to succeed.

— Rhoads praised DeVondrick Nealy’s practice values, citing that he practices as hard on offense as Cory Morrissey does on defense. The touchdown he scored really boosted him after dropping the ball on the carpet twice, and the coach believes that “no matter how thick skinned you are…a player needs a play like that.”

— It’s reiterated every week, but Rhoads believes that a team needs to run the ball to have success. He believes they are improving and “doing an adequate job” so far. He also acknowledged that the team will have to shorten the game against Baylor — Iowa State hasn’t been moving at an up-tempo pace like some of the other faster teams around the nation.