Football begins anew with fresh faces

Jeff Stell

Coming off a historic season, the ISU football team is on a mission to show that last year wasn’t a fluke, rather the beginning in a pattern of a winning football tradition.

The Cyclones finished 9-3 and earned the school’s first-ever bowl game victory with a 37-29 win over Pittsburgh in the Bowl in Phoenix.

The nine wins was the most since 1906, and the Cyclones finished the season ranked in the Associated Press poll [No. 25] for the first time since 1981.

“We’re real excited to kickoff the 2001 season,” ISU head coach Dan McCarney said. “Last year’s team left a great tradition in the program and we’re going to do all we can to build on it. “

Despite the success Iowa State had last season, respect has been hard to come by as several experts have not chosen the Cyclones to finish in the Top 25.

There will be several positions to fill as the Cyclones lost 14 starters, including those on special teams, to graduation. The Cyclones were especially hit hard on defense, losing seven starters.

“There’s not a lot of tremendous respect for this team going into this year, probably because of the losses that we have had due to graduation,” McCarney said. “I haven’t read any article or seen anything that says we’re going to reload this year, it’s all back in the rebuilding mode at Iowa State.”

The entire defensive line needs replacing, but the Cyclones return two starting linebackers, Matt Word and Justin Eilers and two defensive backs, Marc Timmons and Atif Austin.

“The defense is somewhat uncertain but I look at who we have back and see great speed at defensive back and linebacker,” McCarney said.

The Cyclones return six starters on offense, including 2000 Big 12 leading rusher Ennis Haywood and offensive linemen Lorenzo White and Marcel Howard.

The big question marks on offense are at the quarterback and wide receiver positions.

The Cyclones lost two-year starter Sage Rosenfels and top receivers Chris Anthony and J. J. Moses.

Talented junior college transfer Seneca Wallace is leading the list of four candidates to take over for Rosenfels under center.