See below for a recap of the interviews.
Paul Rhoads – August 20th (Practice #18)
- Steele Jantz will be the starting QB, Steele emerged from a group of 3 by displaying most consistently the three qualities that they are looking for out of a QB (decision making, throwing accuracy and making plays with his feet)Two players academically ineligible for the 2011 season, QB Jerome Tiller and WR Donnie Jennert
- Two notable injuries coming out of camp, TE Ricky Howard with the season ending ACL and WR Darius Reynolds with a broken toe
- Steele has clearly emerged as the #1 guy coming out of camp
- Feels comfortable with Steele making transition from Juco
- Will have no desire to pull Steele, very pleased with what Jared Barnett brings as the #2 QB
- Jerome Tiller will work to make himself academically eligible, will participate in practice and run the scout team, he could switch positions moving forward
- It is a concern to not have a backup with experience, Barnett has a great bit of maturity and he is thrilled with JB as the #2
- Jantz decision making, knowledge and confidence have all improved, he runs when he should, throws the ball on time, throws a lot of good balls in to traffic, better decisions at the line of scrimmage
- After the second scrimmage the staff had a pretty good idea that Steele was the guy
- Jantz thoroughly understands everything in the playbook
- It was the shortest scrimmage, tired team, very proud of the kids, no new injuries
- Steele will continue to gain confidence and thinks we will see a personality change in how he leads the offense going forward
Tom Herman – August 19th (Practice #17)
- We want to play the game fast – jet tempo is hyper speed, sprinting to the ball, hopefully snapping the ball before the defense is set
- Jet tempo could happen at anytime, and is most likely to happen in the middle of the drive
- A lot of factors play in to speeding up on offense, better execution, talent level, the improvement of the defense should allow ISU to play faster this year as well, if the offense goes 3 and out they are confident the defense can come out and make a stop
- All 3 QB’s are physically able to run the tempo and are getting there mentally now
- Two week timetable remains for Darius Reynolds, still hoping to have him for UNI, if he is not ready he will not play, we need him for the other 11 games
- Quenton Bundrage was mentioned as a guy who could be looked at to fill in, returning guys that could pick it up include Josh Lenz and Jarvis West
- Not ready to make the call on whether Bundrage will play this year and it is not really his place to say, he does feel like he is talented enough to play, but he has to earn the trust of his teammates and coaches
- Keep everybody healthy at the scrimmage tomorrow
- Battles remain at QB, RB and WR
- Plenty of reps to go around at RB and still alot to be decided
Wally Burnham – August 18th (Practice #16)
- Defense made progress since the last time he talked
- First scrimmage was not very good, second scrimmage was much better
- Have young kids learning to play safety
- Trying to bring the second team kids along
- He felt good coming out of spring practice, but the defense is behind where he thought they would be at this point
- First team kids are being held out of practice and that is holding things back
- A.J. Klein and Jake Knott lead by example – do their job, give effort, very intelligent players – and kids follow them and try to play at that same level
- Matt Tau’fo’ou is still ahead at Mike, he has graded out better and has had better production
- Most depth at defense is at corner, the #1 LB crew is pretty salty
- Leonard Johnson is having a good fall camp
- Willie Scott shows up making plays every practice
- Need 8 man rotation on the defensive line, and we have that this year
Paul Rhoads – August 17th (Practice #15 – Scrimmage)
- The key to the Center position is intelligence and we have been lucky to have that with Reggie Stephens and Ben Lamaak
- Tom Farniok has taken off where Ben left, doing a very good job of making sure the line is right
- Kelechi Osemele missed a couple practices with a tender ankle, held out of scrimmage
- Rhoads feels Hayworth Hicks is going to be a really good player this year
- The tempo of the offense was the thing that really stood out today at practice
- Even scrimmage overall, defense started really well, offense got rolling on the longer field and the defense won the two minute drill to finish things off
- Staff should be in position to name the starting QB after the scrimmage on Saturday
- Ricky Howard has an ACL injury and is out for the season, luckily Ricky has a redshirt available
- The defense this year has the opportunity to be the best defense since Rhoads has been here, should have the ability to put pressure on the quarterback which we haven’t done before, should also be able to improve on the defensive scoring output
- Have 9 guys at defensive end, Rony Nelson is currently the #5 guy
- Walter Woods and Brandon Jensen have been developing with the extra time they have been getting
- Currently experimenting with John Caspers at defensive line; with the injuries, and Henry Simon not yet on campus need a fifth guy to rotate in at DL. Caspers has the size and the athletic ability to help out.
- Jacques Washington has the intelligence to lead the secondary, is a student of the game, needs to work on the physical part.
- On tempo of the offense and the quicker pace, it is a combination of the coaches choice, understanding the system, snapping the ball quicker, getting the plays in quicker and not looking to the sideline…..just playing ball.
Luke Wells – August 16th (Practice #14)
- Trying to figure out the depth chart
- 3 to 4 guys that do a lot of different things
- Trying to find the guy that does everything well including blocking, route running and catching the ball
- Guys are much stronger than last year at this time, Yancy and his staff are doing a tremendous job
- Reid Branderhorst has had a nice camp, former basketball player with good ball skills, he is good at getting open in space; needs to be more physical and has made some good progress
- Ernst Brun is another former basketball player, two sport athlete, may have the best ball skills of anyone on this team
Curtis Bray – August 14th (Practices #12 and 13)
- Defensive Ends have been much more consistent this year.
- He loves the two freshman, could be special players at Iowa State.
- David Irving has all of the potential in the world, very long, can be unblockable at times.
- Devin Lemke has great quickness, he is still pretty small currently around 210 pounds, will be a really good player.
- Jacob Lattimer has picked up where he left off last year and is much bigger (around 250 pounds)
- The question with Roosevelt Maggitt is can he remain effective for 40 to 50 plays a game.
- Rony Nelson is getting better, he had his best scrimmage since he has been at Iowa State on Saturday, needs to work on playing the run game.
Paul Rhoads – August 13th (Practice #11 – Scrimmage)
- No serious injuries coming out of the scrimmage
- Offense played better than the defense. A few kids were held out on the defense, so not a huge surprise.
- The offense executed better and the quarterbacks threw fairly accurately and threw it on time.
- Had explosive plays in the passing and running game.
- Dynamic RB’s – Shontrelle Johnson and Jeff Woody had good days. James White is one of the hardest working players on the football team year round and it is starting to show on the field. Woody broke tackles with his physical style and Duck Hollis had a nice day as well.
- Hit a long pass in the 2 minute drill and a couple others.
- Will be talking personnel with his staff on Sunday.
- Front four are getting tired, offense was really getting after it. Stephen Ruempolhamer has rested a couple days, no Henry Simon yet and Walter Woods and Brandon Jensen not ready to run with the two’s just yet.
- He has been impressed with the DE’s speed, Rony Nelson has been showing up, he showed up at the scrimmage today. We now have five potential DE’s to put on the field.
- Simon has one primary course to finish up, the staff is working hard to get him here.
- August 20th is still the target date for naming the starting QB
- Coach has no say in what happens with Texas A&M and he has too many other things to worry about.
- He has seen the progress he has wanted out of the quarterbacks, they started slow but have really come on strong, accuracy is improving and all of them are running the ball well.
- The receivers are probably more finesse than physical, but even the little guys can take on big hits.
- Currently shorthanded in the secondary due to sore hamstrings.
- Grant Mahoney has not been consistent, but Zach Guyer has showed consistency. Zach is really pushing Grant and has been more consistent in fall camp, if he had to pick a kicker today it would be Guyer.
- It is too early to tell who, if any of the freshman class will play this year, but he is encouraged by all of them, very excited about this group.
Courtney Messingham – August 12th (Practices #9 and 10)
- The wide receivers have been playing hard and have been making a few plays, but still not enough
- Wants to see consistency and workmanlike mentality at the scrimmage, error free football
- Darius Reynolds and Darius Darks were singled out as veterans having nice falls
- Quentin Bundrage came in polished, he really understands all of the intricacies of football, no decision has been made on whether he will play as a freshman
- Aaron Horne has had some nagging injuries, he makes plays when he has the opportunity
Shane Burnham – August 11th (Practice #8)
- Jake McDonough is playing with pad level and is really coming on strong at 3 technique
- Stephen Ruempolhamer (Dutch) has been dominant at times
- Jake is 302 pounds, up from 274 last year, he is bigger and more athletic
- Dutch is up to 295 pounds and carrying it well
- Cleyon Laing is 290+, he was around 265 at this time last year
- Walter Woods and Brandon Jensen have miles to go, but they are coming on
- Tells guys they need to play well on 1st and 2nd down to earn the right to rush the passer on 3rd down
- Dutch was dominating at times at the end of last year, he is doing it more consistently now
- Encouraged by pass rush, Cleyon is very athletic and uses it to cause pressure, Jake is so big and strong that he is tough to handle on a bull rush
- Line looks improved, but it needs to show up on Saturday
- Quinton Pompey is coming on nicely, true freshman looks the part already
Ken Pope – August 10th (Practices #6 and 7)
- The top four RB’s (Shontrelle Johnson, Jeff Woody, James White, Duran Hollis) are all working at a good rate
- The running backs need to be more explosive in both the running and passing game this year
- He is excited about what the RB “can” be this year
- The freshman (Rob Standard, DeVondrick Nealy) don’t seem like freshman, due to the summer bridge program
- Pope feels good about putting all four top running backs on the field, it will be a RB by committee this year, will rotate RB by series
- If Shontrelle is going well and has the hot hand, he is going to get a bunch of carries
- Woody does some things inside that can’t be replaced
- Is good with Shontrelle as a kick returner, we are going to use every weapon we have to win games
Bobby Elliott – August 9th (Practice #5)
- Inexperienced at safety, they need every rep they can get
- Goal is to be two-deep at every position, not quite there, but hope to be there by the end of camp
- CJ Morgan is really coming along, trying to get him a lot of reps at nickelback
- Jacques Washington is really smart, understands defense, knows how to identify and correct problems, needs to be more explosive
- Rennie from Northern Iowa is a scary guy, very good player, offense is built around him
- Anthony Young has been banged up a little bit, but he is working through it
- Jansen Watson has been a pleasant surprise, he has a really come on, would not be afraid to put him in the game
Bill Bleil – August 8th (Practice #4)
- Tom Farniok is taking a majority of the reps with the ones at Center and deservedly so, he has a great motor, great focus and does everything you ask of him plus.
- It is Kelechi Osemele‘s line this year, he is playing very well, need to challenge him mentally to get him better.
- KO is very aggressive and agile, 28″ vertical and 450 pound bench
- The preseason awards are coming in for KO because opponents think he is a good player and NFL scouts really like him
- Ethan Tuftee is replacing Alex Alvarez, he is one of the best athletes in the weight room
- Hayworth Hicks has picked it up, he really played well the final 3 games of last fall
- Brayden Burris now weighs 309 pounds, had a stinger last year that really hindered his play
- Alvarez and Ben Lamaak were great to have around, great teachers that will really be missed
- Sam Tatoulo is fully healthy and is doing a good job
- Oni Omoile has a 32″ vertical jump, has ability to play defensive line but wants to be an offensive lineman. Very intelligent, very athletic at 280 pounds, a move to center is likely at some point
- Need to improve the pass protection, we were good 2 years ago and fell off some last year. Excited about the run game, we have a really good group of young running backs.
Wally Burnham – August 7th (Practice #3)
- Players are more athletic and guys on the first team are learning the system
- He feels really good about the first unit
- Have some kids that are really going to surprise some people, not naming any names at this point
- Defensive Ends have really shown up, they are really getting off the ball
- Defensive Tackles are doing really well
- Safeties are coming along, we have a fluid situation at safety
- Need 3rd guys at all positions (S, CB, LB, DE, DT) to step up
- Defensive front needs to make plays this year and he feels they have responded
- Jacques Washington is a smart kid, just needs to bring the physical part
- Jake Knott and AJ Klein need to refine their skills
- Jake needs to be a dominating player on every play to go from being a good player to a very, very good player; he is a student of the game and that is what will set him apart
- Leonard Johnson can be one of he best DB’s in the nation, needs to bring his “A” game every day to get there, he is working harder then ever this year
- Jeremiah George was #1 coming in to fall camp, but Matt Tau’fo’ou has reclaimed the position two days into camp.
- Jeremiah is more athletic and Matt is more of a downhill tackler, both struggle in pass coverage
- He coaches Jeremiah and Matt harder than anyone else on the team, it will be a good dog fight throughout camp, we will need both of them this season
Tom Herman – August 6th (Practice #2)
- Players have made a lot of progress physically since the spring (stronger/quicker)
- Teams that win both the explosive play battle and turnover battle win 98% of the time
- Goal for the offense is to have at least 5 explosive runs (12+ yards) and 4 explosive pass plays (16+ yards) every game
- He thinks we have more playmakers at WR/RB this year
- Grades the quarterbacks on protecting the football, accuracy and decision making
Other Camp Notes
- Oni Omoile was switched from OL to DL early in camp, but is now back at OL to stay
- JQ Daniels has moved from QB to WR
- Devin Lemke has been working with defensive ends, even though he is listed at TE on the roster