Iowa State wraps up Big 12 media day

Beau Berkley

As the 2013 college football season approaches closer with every passing day, the Big 12 media days serve as an appetizer for giddy members of the media and fans alike.

Coaches and players from all 10 teams in the conference were on-hand July 22-23 to answer questions from various members of the media on the upcoming season.

Coach Paul Rhoads made the trek to Dallas, Texas, along with seniors Jeff Woody, Jeremiah George and Jacques Washington. The four members of the Cyclone football team rounded out the annual event, answering a slew of questions.

As Rhoads took to the stand, he opened up about coaching the Cyclones in his fifth year and coaching his first round of full circle players.

“This year’s senior class, we’ve got 16 seniors. And this is the first group that’s come full cycle with us, fifth-year guys that we’ve recruited, that we’ve brought in and put out on the field,” Rhoads said. “I think those 16 seniors are going to help us overcome the youth that will be out on the field for us. They’re a very energetic group.”

Heading into the 2013 season, many questions were asked about how Rhoads will replace linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott, two players who were defensive staples for four years.

“You can’t, I mean, you don’t replace those guys. You don’t replace them from a leadership position. You don’t replace them from what they’ve meant to our era of Iowa State football,” Rhoads said. “What you count on is that you’re running your program the right way, and the development and the progress is able to step forward and take over. “

Linebacker Jeremiah George, who was recently named to the Butkus Award watch list, will look to fill the void left by the departures of Klein and Knott. Senior safety Jacques Washington said George is one of the quickest sideline-to-sideline players in the country.

“He has worked hard this off season and I’m excited to see him play because he moves sideline to sideline faster than anyone in the country and he hits you when he gets to you,” Washington said.

Aside from holes on the defensive side, many questions have been asked about the young offensive players all vying for starting roles, including quarterback Sam Richardson. George said as Richardson continues to grow, the team’s trust grows with him.

“A lot of people are nervous about our quarterback Sam Richardson, but to be honest, as a senior and a leader of our team, I’m excited to see what this young man can do,” George said. He’s very smart and he’s very confident and he’s continuing to gain the trust of his teammates and that’s something that’s very important.”

“When you trust somebody, you’re willing to do anything for them. Our offensive line is getting better everyday and they are willing to block for him every play, our running backs are willing to go out and catch those short passes and turn them into big plays, our r receivers are willing to do whatever it takes to get open because they trust him to get the ball to them,” George said.

Rhoads also hit on the importance of special teams and role punter Kirby Van Der Kamp plays.

“…We believe we’ve got the best punter in college football, Kirby Van Der Kamp,” Rhoads said. “If you really analyze him and what he’s done, pinning people inside the 20 with a very small amount of touch backs. Simply Stated, I think he’s the best there is in college football.”

With speculation and questions running rampant through media days, George is sure of two things: Trust and care.

“It’s all about preparation, we trust coach Rhoads to have us prepared every Saturday and he does that with a phenomenal coaching staff,” George said. “He’s a guy with a lot of passion and you can see it on the sideline and the clips from after the games. He genuinely cares about us and we care bout him and you can see that.”