Cyclones kick-off fall camp


Photo: Brian Achenbach/Iowa State Daily

Senior running back Shontrelle Johnson stiff arms redshirt sophomore defensive back Sam Richardson at the open practice at the Johnny Majors Practice Field on August 5, 2013.

Beau Berkley

As the final month of summer continues to pump out sweltering afternoons ripe with humidity, it also produces the start of an American passion: Football.

The ISU football team took to the practice field for the first time of the 2013 season on Monday, Aug. 5. Even though the practice was run without pads and limited contact, the intensity still hung in the heavy Ames air.

For coach Paul Rhoads, it was his fifth first day practice as head coach of the Cyclones.

“There’s a heavy leg in this that comes with day one, because football practice is different than any training you could do, because quite honestly, getting through that difference injury free, beginning to learn what hard work exactly is on the practice field, once you get there, you can correct things from a coaching standpoint,” Rhoads said.

Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham shared Rhoads’ sentiment and added that he thought the practice went very well.

“It was good. I was real pleased, not meaning I’m ever satisfied, but I told the kids after practice that it was the best first day that we’ve had effort wise,” Burnham said.

Pre-season practices are used to correct early confusion with the coaches’ systems and hash out competitions at different positions. Rhoads said there will be a myriad of positional competition before the first game-time snap.

“I think everywhere across the defensive line is wide open, who will be the game day starter, we’re going to play a bunch, but who gets that first start I think is up for grabs,” Rhoads said. “One corner back position, a couple wide receiver jobs and an offensive line job. Certainly, with the stable of tailbacks we got out there I don’t know who will be the first one or two or even three guys out there.”

For quarterback Sam Richardson, it’s all about polishing up the skills that may have been forgotten during the off-season months.

“It’s obviously one of the more rusty practices we’ll have, but it’s [about] getting the rust off and getting back into the swing of things. We made some good plays today and that’s expected out of us,” Richardson said.

Rhoads said Richardson’s performance on the first day was one of control, doing well not to force the ball into something that was not there.

“It’s great to have a number one [quarterback], but it’s better to have a pretty good number one. He was very poised [today]. If I saw one thing with him today, he was very poised. He threw a lot of easy balls and a lot of things underneath,” Rhoads said.

“If I had to gauge a guy who’s getting himself started off right and not force balls down the field and not throw the number one route, but to call for a pattern. A lot of things were open to him and he completed those things that were open to him.”

Iowa State’s first game takes place at Jack Trice stadium on Aug. 31, at 7 p.m., against Northern Iowa.