Notebook: Simon set for debut on Saturday


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Dai

Defensive end Willie Scott goes after UNI’s quarterback Tirrell Rennie during the game against Northern Iowa on Sep. 3. Scott had a career-high of nine tackles throughout the game, and Iowa State beat Northern Iowa with a score of 20-19.

Dan Tracy

ISU junior defensive tackle Henry

Simon has waited a long time for this.

After deciding to transfer from

Grossmont Junior College (Calif.) last March, Simon failed to meet

the academic requirements necessary to begin classes at Iowa State

this fall. It took until Friday, Aug. 27, five days into the fall

semester, before Simon reached the necessary requirements and was

able to move to Ames and begin his career as a Cyclone.

Now after a month of learning the

defense, Simon is expected make his debut on the ISU defensive line

in Saturday’s game against Texas.

“We’re planning on playing him this

week,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “We’ve got to have the courage

to just put him out there, and if I see [the coaching staff] is

not, I’ll probably just grab him on the sidelines and put him in


The 6-foot-3-inch, 302-pound Simon

registered four tackles in five games as a true freshman at San

Diego State in 2008 where he was recruited by then-defensive

coordinator Bobby Elliott, who is now the secondary coach for the


“It’s a tough game, everyone’s big

once you get to this level,” Simon said. “It was a humbling

experience for me, I was a freshman and I was undersized but now

I’ve put on weight, and I’m ready to take on my next


Simon is currently listed at third

on the depth chart behind juniors Jake McDonough and Cleyon Laing

at defensive tackle, but Simon thinks he could also see some time

at nose guard.

“He’s not up to speed with the rest

of [the defensive linemen], but he’s come a long ways in the period

of time that he’s been on campus,” Rhoads said.

Former Miami coach visits


Taking a year away from coaching,

former University of Miami head coach Randy Shannon made a stop in

Ames this week as he is traveling across the country and spending

time with a number of Division-I college football


“He’s taking the year off and just

seeing how other people are doing things and I’m sure making

fantastic notes,” Rhoads said. “As a matter of fact I asked him

‘when it’s all said and done that I’d sure like to sit down and

visit with you to see what you liked and see what you


Shannon was in Ames on Tuesday and

Wednesday observing practice and weight room sessions and sharing

some of his own knowledge with coaches and players.

“I had a brief chat with him, he’s a

cool guy,” said ISU defensive back Leonard Johnson, who went to a

University of Miami camp back in 2004 as a high school freshman.

“It was just nice chatting with him and getting to converse with

somebody that has been in every position that any coach would want

to be in.”

A former linebacker with the Miami

Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys in the late 1980s, Shannon has spent

his entire coaching career in Miami with both the University of

Miami (1991-1997, 2001-2010) and the Dolphins (1998-2000). Shannon

was fired from the coaching position at Miami on November 27 after

leading the Hurricanes to a 28-22 record from 2007-2010.

“Somebody will scoop him up fast

he’s a tremendous, tremendous football coach, teacher and recruiter

and so forth,” Rhoads said.

ESPN to feature Cyclones on


A nationally televised game on

Saturday comes with another nationally televised segment featuring

Rhoads, which will air during ESPN’s College Gameday show on

Saturday. An ESPN production crew sat down for an interview with

Rhoads and also placed a microphone on him as they filmed practice

on Wednesday.

“I don’t like being mic’d up, but

it’s just too good of a opportunity with recruiting and exposure

for our program that’s never taken place in the history of our

program so we took advantage of it,” Rhoads said. “I took one for

the team and said yes.”

College Gameday begins at 9 a.m. on

Saturday morning on ESPN.