No starter is safe in Iowa State’s secondary

Corey Aldritt

Even though all four starters return from last year’s team, only two of them will be starting in the opener against South Dakota State.

Cornerback Allen Bell and safety Chris Brown will not be in the starting lineup, each for different reasons.

Bell, who had 54 tackles and one interception last season, is listed third on the depth chart at left cornerback behind Devin McDowell and Kennard Banks.

“As we said going in, no positions are safe. [Bell’s] not going to be the starter for this football game,” said head coach Gene Chizik. “That may change as we go down the road, but everyone starts on a level playing field and if you get beat out, you get beat out.”

Chizik said that Bell will definitely play but not as a starter.

McDowell did see the field last season as a nickelback and returned an interception for a touchdown off Chase Daniel of Missouri.

As for Brown, it’s an injury that’s keeping him out of the game.

“Right now we’re still bringing Chris along with his knee. We’re just going to have to play it by ear and see what happens but again we won’t really know his status — it will be a week by week thing,” Chizik said.

Brown’s replacement at strong safety will be sophomore Zac Sandvig of West Des Moines. Sandvig played cornerback his freshman year, which was cut short by a knee injury.

“We felt that we had some young, talented corners coming in and we needed some depth at safety,” said Chizik. “Zac, being the ultimate team guy, had no problem with it and learned it.”

Chris Singleton and James Smith are the two secondary members who will be returning to their starting positions for week one.

Chizik said the addition of some newcomers have really pushed the returning players for playing time.

“If you look in our secondary right now there’s two or three guys that have jumped off the page at us: Kennard Banks, Leonard Johnson, Ter’ran Benton,” Chizik said. “Those are all three names that you’re going to get used to hearing.”

More is less for new play clock

In an effort to speed up the game, the NCAA will be implementing a new 40-second play clock this season.

In years past, a 25-second play clock was used, but the play clock did not start until an official gave the ready signal after the ball was spotted. The new play clock will start right after the ball is declared dead, not when the ball is spotted.

“It’s going to be an adjustment for us,” said Chizik. “It will be interesting on game day to see how it really unfolds — mainly for our offensive coordinator, Robert McFarland.”

More rule changes

All face mask penalties will now be a 15-yard penalty. This is a change from last year when face mask penalties were either 5- or 15-yard penalties depending on the severity of the grab of the mask.

Officials have also been told to hand out more 15-yard penalties for showboating.

New number for Bates

No, that’s not Bret Meyer who’s lining up under center. It’s Phillip Bates and his new jersey number. Bates wore the number 8 last season while Meyer played out his senior year. Now that the number 7 is open, Bates lost no time in snatching it up.

“All my career I’ve been wearing seven, since I was little,” Bates said. “I’m a big Mike Vick fan even though right now he’s in a little trouble.”