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Greater Des Moines Cyclone Club Notes – John Skladany (September 29th)

Posted by isuisu on September 29, 2006

If you are not a member of the Greater Des Moines Cyclone Club, I highly recommend that you join today. The club does a great job of getting coaches to town for these lunches and raises a significant amount of money for Iowa State.

For more information on the club visit:

John Skladany was the featured speaker at the Greater Des Moines Cyclone Club luncheon today at the University Holiday Inn in Des Moines. I really enjoyed listening to him and the fans in attendance asked some great questions and he gave some great answers. Here are a few notes from the luncheon.

James Smith will not be back this week against UNI and he is questionable next week for Nebraska as well. Skladany says it about makes him cry that we don’t have Smith back at strong safety.

I talked to him after the luncheon was over and he talked about how the losses of Robertson, Taylor and Smith have really hurt this team. He felt really good about where they were on defense prior to those losses. He didn’t make any excuses, he explained how this happens to alot of teams and the guys that are playing just have to get better.

Defensive Line Comments

Travis Ferguson has been back practicing and should play some tomorrow night. He seemed to light up a little bit when talking about Ferguson, but he said that he needs to show it in game situations.

He also has high hopes for Stephon Dale. Originally they thought he might grow a little more (285-290) and play on the inside, now they think his best position is going to be defensive end. He seems to be the front runner to take over for Moorehead after this year.

Linebacker Comments

In regards to the linebackers he mentions that they are all getting better as the year goes along. All three guys are relatively new to the positions they are playing. Tyrone McKenzie is still learning to play at MIKE, he was originally slated to play at WILL prior to Robertson being suspended. Adam Carper has really been coming on strong these past weeks and just a couple years ago he was playing quarterback. He joked that Alvin Bowen leads the country in tackles, but he also leads the country in missed tackles.

When they got off of the bus last week in Austin he said it was really miserable, hot and humid. Skladany pulled the three back-up linebackers (Fred Garrin, Jesse Smith, Josh Raven) to the side and said you guys are going to have to play tomorrow. He said there eyes got as big as saucers and he didn’t think they probably slept much the night before the game. It ended up being a good experience for them as they played in the game and they realized they could play with the likes of Texas.

He singled out Fred Garrin as having tremendous potential. Coach said that he likes to hit and he will hit anyone. Freddy has alot of speed and energy, it is just a matter of channeling that speed and energy within the system. Skladany mentioned a blitz drill they ran this past week that Garrin went all out but not within the scheme. After receiving some constructive criticism from Skladany, Garrin told his coach to watch him the next time as he was going to make a play.

Secondary Comments

He prasied the play of Chris Singleton and feels that Chris has taken some major steps these past two weeks. The third cornerback still seems to be somewhat of a concern. He really likes what the two youngsters have shown (Drenard Williams and Devin McDowell) but they need to be more consistent and show that they “get it”.

He has also been encouraged by the play of Jon Banks and thinks he his really starting to grasp what they want him to do. They singled him up with Scott Chandler in the Iowa game and he thought he did some nice things in that game.

The loss of James Smith has affected more than just the secondary. Caleb Berg has been a real star on special teams but coach mentioned how they are running him ragged playing the entire game at safety and on all of the special teams. They made the decision to pull him off of some special teams and it has hurt the special teams some. He said Caleb is busting his butt trying to get better at safety, but he is struggling some on passing situations.

When James Smith gets healthy it will really help this team, he will be able to help out at safety and he is also good enough to play some nickel on throwing downs. It could also allow Caleb Berg to go back to playing on the special teams units that he excels in.

He said he was disappointed that they didn’t get Jason Harris in the game last week, but he really hopes to get him in the game this week. Harris is the fastest guy in the secondary and he relayed to me that they had a tackling drill earlier this week and Jason is not afraid to stick his head in there and hit people.

Brandon Hunley also saw his first action against Texas. Coach was disappointed that Brandon didn’t make a play on the Texas second half touchdown.

Younger Players

The youngsters he mentioned as standing out were Josh Johnson, Austin Alburtis, Bailey Johnson, Devin McDowell and Drenard Williams.

I asked him if either Alexander Robinson or Mitchell Moore have seen any time on defense. He said that Robinson was another guy that really looks good on the scout team. Skladany was telling Tony Alford that he was really impressed with Alexander and Tony told him to forget about it and that he wasn’t getting him on defense.

Someone asked about Sandvig and he said he thinks he will definitely play in the future. He is really fast and athletic and Skladany really loves his heart.


There are two big time juco recruits in town this weekend for the game. He didn’t mention them by name, but the two players he is referring to are out of Coffeyville Community College in Kansas:

LB Larry Asante and S Gary Chandler

I should have more information on other football recruits visiting this weekend in a few hours.

Coach Skladany also mentioned that LB coach Shawn Simms has been in California the past couple days combing the junior colleges for talent.


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