Notebook: First day of practice, defensive update


Former ISU coach Paul Rhoads is the new defensive backs coach for Arkansas. 

Ryan Young

Friday officially kicked off the start of the 2015 football season for the Iowa State Cyclones, with the team holding its first practice of fall camp.

The practice, Rhoads said, was used more to just get things started and knock off some of the rust. And after the day, Rhoads said he saw both good things and bad things on the field.

“I think a willingness to be coached is what I saw everywhere I turned, and the energy was what I expected it to be when we took the field,” Rhoads said. “There was good and bad on both sides as there always is the first day of practice and should be all days of practice. We got tired, and I expected that, but you’re never happy with that.”

It’s been a while, though, since the team has had a workout together. While Rhoads knew this would slow them down a little, he said it was still a successful day.

“We are two weeks from our last workout of the summertime, and everything since then has been on their own,” Rhoads said. “So it was rusty as we got out there, but fun never the less.”

Defensive Update

Defensive end Jhaustin Thomas, who was just added to Iowa State’s roster Thursday, made an interesting first impression.

“He throws up well,” Rhoads said. “Good form. Good form.”

Thomas, who recently transferred from Trinity Valley Community College where he played basketball, is still working to get back into football shape.

Even though he might be out of shape, he left his mark and a little more out on the field.

“He jumped right back in and that’s a credit to him,” Rhoads said. “From snap to whistle, he was playing fast and even after going through some fatigue and what he did, when it was time to play, he was going fast, which was impressive for a new guy.”

Another change on the defensive side of things comes directly from the mind of defensive coordinator Wally Burnham, who said the Cyclones are going to install more three-man front defenses — especially when they are playing pass-first offenses.

“If we can, we’ll play some more [three-man fronts],” Burnham said. “And we feel like we can. We’ll get more linebackers on the field, but you can’t rush three all day.”

Burhnam said they will continue to play both a three-man and four-man front, that it will depend on several factors. He also insists, that they have only slightly changed the defensive schemes that they had in place last year.

“You’re always tweaking,” Burnham said. “We’ve taken what we did in the past out of our 3-4 and taken some stuff out and added some new stuff. That’s all we’ve done. We did the same thing with our four-man front. We’re not doing anything differently, it’s just that were doing schematically some different things.”