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“I watched the tape and I saw a hold.”

Posted by isuisu on November 22, 2006

In Monday’s Des Moines register Missouri head coach Gary (Tinkel) Pinkel was quoted as saying “I just got a call from the (Big 12) conference office and Walt Anderson. He said that they clearly made a mistake on that play where (quarterback) Chase Daniel scored. He said to me, ‘We blew it.’ ”

He was referring to the 2 yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 22-21 with 20 seconds left in the game this past Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium. Pinkel was visibly upset after offensive lineman Myron Wyrick was called for a holding penalty which nullified the TD. “I’ve been coaching 30 years, and I’ve never seen an offensive holding call inside the 2-yard line on a run play,” Pinkel said after the game.

What’s that? In 30 years of coaching you’ve never seen what? Well open your eyes and get a load of this…

Missouri's Wyrick hold Iowa State's McKenzie

“I watched the same tape,” McCarney said. “If an offensive lineman impedes the progress of a defender from making a play . . . I think it was a good call. It wasn’t like: ‘Here, let’s take care of Mac after 12 years in the Big 12.’”

“Holding is holding, grabbing is grabbing regardless where you are on the field. I watched the tape and I saw a hold.”

Well, I took the picture and I saw a hold too Mac. I’m not sure why the Big 12 office feels they need to apologize for apparently ‘blowing it’, when they didn’t. Maybe it saves them time if they just apologize for the calls they get right.

Later all!



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It’s A Great Time To Be A Cyclone!

Posted by isuisu on November 17, 2006

Or is it? As one of the many die-hard Cyclone fans, am I expected to buy into all it seems we have left: our belief in Jamie Pollard’s skills and the dreaded four letter word that most fans cling to at all times, the ultra-motivator known as ‘hope’?

Are we really headed in the right direction as an athletic program, with elite status and national attention being the norm, or is this just another detour on the long path of disappointment we as Cyclone fans have experienced over the years?

I’ll address these questions in a second, but first I’d like to thank Dan McCarney, and all of the past coaches who have patrolled the sidelines over the years for Iowa State (in all sports), for their service to the fans and for helping to establish the current status of the Iowa State athletic programs.

Most of the time, coaches who move on are forgotten within a few months of their leaving. Contrary to popular belief, a coach doesn’t have to win every game or five national championships to have an extraordinary affect on a program for years into the future.

Heck, with no Jim Walden, there’s no Troy Davis. Take T.D. out of our football history and what do we have? I’ll save that discussion for another time.

By the way, it’s not a coincidence I used Mac’s mantra as the title of this article. It’s seems pretty ironic, that what might just be the best time ever to be a Cyclone (remember hope), it goes on without Mac as the football coach.

I won’t forget.

But for now, it’s time to focus on the future. And if you haven’t already, it’s time to hop on the J.P. bandwagon, because if his current plan works, you’ll need a Corvette to catch it. If a complete overhaul is what it takes to get us to the next level, then g..g..g…iddy up!

CAELReally, what is there not to like?

Our wrestling program is now in the hands of the most successful wrestler in NCAA history in Cael Sanderson. He’s only been an assistant for a few years, but how could we let the second coming of Dan Gable slip away again? Well, we couldn’t. I’m not saying Cael is the coach that Dan is or was, I’m just saying I have hope he can be someday.

GMACAs one Mac is on his way out, another is beginning his legacy. Basketball’s head man is the new BMC (Big Mac on Campus). He comes from a successful stint at UNI and is the hard working, no-nonsense, do your job or sit on the bench type of coach this program has needed the last few years. Greg McDermott gives me hope too.

Bring in a football coach with similar attributes and we may be onto something.

Now for the bad news. Hold on tight for this one. Here I go again. As much as I like Jamie and Cael and Greg, it all comes down to what we do as fans to support the current programs. It’s time for us fans to reach down and embrace hope and belief like never before.

Are you kidding me?


You see, in order to get superior student athletes that are going to take our sports programs to the next level, we need to have a few things, including great coaches, facilities and fans. Let’s just assume for a second that we do indeed have, or will soon have, great coaches.

How about facilities?

While we’re probably not the bottom of the barrel, I’ve never seen a College GameDay feature on our 15 acre weight room. Facilities come from a plan and funding to execute that plan.

POLLARDJamie has put the plan in place, now it’s up to us to do our part to make it happen. Your part may just be to come to one game or one meet next year. Or you could be the one to donate a couple million dollars (I wish I were that one). We all just need to do our part.

As I write this article, I’m also preparing for my semi-monthly road trip back to Ames for the final football game of the year against Missouri. It’s my one last chance to watch Dan and the 2006 Cyclones in action. I’m excited, mad, glad and sad all at the same time.

I’ll be leaving Atlanta, where I currently live, on Thursday afternoon in my ’94 Accord. I hope to be back in Iowa by sometime Friday evening. I’ve only missed one home game this year. It’s the least I can do to support my beloved Cyclones.

Some of you are probably wondering why I would drive half-way across the country to cheer on a 3-8 squad with a lame-duck head coach. Well, because I have the hope and belief that this program will survive and succeed far beyond this season.

How much hope and belief do you have?


P.S. We’ll see you at the game!

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Move Your Feet, Lose Your Seat

Posted by isuisu on October 19, 2006


The following story will appear in the next issue of the Iowa Sports Connection.

Move Your Feet, Lose Your Seatred

Back when I was going to school at Iowa State, if you moved your feet at a football game, you didn’t lose your seat, you just ended up in somebody else’s empty seat. Ah, yes, the ‘Die-Hard’ days.

In those years (1993-1997), the football team had records of 3-8-0, 0-10-1, 3-8-0 and 2-9-0. That’s an 8-35-1 record. Talk about miserable. Fortunately I was there to witness this debacle weekend after weekend. If not, I don’t know if I would believe it.

I remember after every game, all I could think was 1. Where’s the after game party and 2. Did anyone in the athletic department even care that our football team was the laughing stock of the country? It didn’t seem like it.

Especially my first two years.

The team was really bad, but the crowds were just as bad too, if not worse. Granted there were some games, such as Iowa & Northern Iowa, where the bleachers would resemble a large high school crowd, but those turnouts were few and far between. I remember most games you could have your pick of seats.

So, it was time for a change.

macDan McCarney was hired, Troy Davis was plucked from the bench to become our superstar and what do you know, the crowds started to grow. At first I was a little upset…”Now that we’re winning a few games, all these people want to come in and sit in the seat (their seat), that I had been enjoying for the previous two years. Bandwagon jumpers, fair-weather fans…”

After I had passed out, then woke back up again, I realized that in order to reach the next level as a team, we needed to reach that next level as a crowd and as fans as well. I also realized that our team was still pretty bad. Our offense would score 24 points per game on average, but our defense allowed 37 points per.

So when people started coming back to watch the not-so-mighty Cyclones, it was a good thing. People once again had hope. Davis’ rushing abilities helped feed that. The few more wins helped feed that.

Mostly though, I think people believed and had faith in Dan. I know I did. Listening to him talk would make me feel like, “Hey, somebody does care. This guy wants to be at Iowa State. He wants to put a winning program together.”

All aboard.

Dan brought courage, determination, and a love for everything Iowa State, that people just couldn’t resist. It was contagious. We finally felt like there was somebody on our side. Somebody who would fight the fight every Saturday and enjoy the good times with us and use the negatives to get better if things didn’t work out as originally planned.

10-plus years later, Dan is still about everything Iowa State. But if you move your feet at a game these days, you will lose your seat. Back-to-back home attendance records will attest to that. You see, there is more help in town in the form of Jamie Pollard. More hope goldtoo. Dan did the heavy lifting, Jamie’s here to tone and shape.

So when we look up and see Jack Trice Stadium filled to the rim, let’s not forget where it all started. It was the hard work and dedication of a coach who, in 1995, took over a team that had finished as the second worst team in the entire NCAA by virtue of our one tie.

Did a lot more wins and bowl games come immediately? Nope. But, the thing that did change was the attitude of the football team and the attitude of the fans.

I used to get upset when more fans showed up to the game. Now I welcome them all with open arms.

I used to get mad at the team when they lost, but not anymore. I feel the pain right along with them.

I, as a fan, am part of this team. Dan tells me so. The attendance at our games tells me other people feel like they are part of this team as well.

But with all that Dan brought to the table back then, the most important thing to most fans then – and now – is wins and losses. When you add wins, you add fans. When you add bowl games, you add fans. It’s just the nature of the fan. Even great programs with great traditions lose fans when they’re not winning. It’s all in the company you keep. Winners are winners. Losers are losers.

In the first few home games this year, the Iowa State fans have shown they are ready to take this program to an even higher level. But what if we lose a few more games? Will the huge crowds dwindle? My guess is, in order to keep the Jack packed to the max, the ‘Clones need to continue putting a winning team on the field.

If that doesn’t happen…well, I guess the die-hards will have their pick of seats again.



P.S. We’ll see you at the game!

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Greater Des Moines Cyclone Club Luncheon Notes – 10/06/06

Posted by isuisu on October 6, 2006

First Scott and I would like to thank GDMCC for another great luncheon. The food was great, so was Mac and best of all I won one of the raffle prizes…so thank you! Also, thanks for mentioning the site to everyone and we look forward to a growing relationship with your club going forward.

Now to the nitty, gritty on the ‘Clones!

After sitting in his car for about 10 minutes finishing up some things with ABC (and tryingCoach Mac to explain to Dan Fouts why Ames, Iowa is God’s Country), Mac walked in, thanked everyone for coming and proceeded to tell a dog joke. He then read a life lesson story he had written in his notes. The gist of the story was ‘to not go through life so fast that someone needs to hit you with a brick for you to realize what is really important’.

It was very uplifting and he said he gave a copy to Adam Carper. In case some of you haven’t heard, Adam tore his ACL in practice this week and will be out for the year. Jon Banks, who was just replaced in the starting lineup by Steve Johnson, will now take Carper’s spot.

Carper and Josh Griebahn each lost a grandparent this week, so our prayers go out to them. Griebahn got another shot of bad news when he was demoted to second string kick-off guy after last week’s not-so-stellar performance against UNI. Shaggy has assumed those duties, although JG is listed as #1 on the depth chart and Mac said they would re-assess before kick-off tomorrow.

I mentioned earlier that Dan had been talking with Dan Fouts. It’s Fouts’ first visit to Iowa so if you see him, make him feel at home.

There will be 8 official visits this weekend (5 from CA, 2 from MS and 1 from TX). There are also 40-50 unofficial visits.

Mac said this was the most physical week (Tuesday, Wednesday) of practice so far this year and in quite a long time. Said there is a great attitude with the team and they’re focused and ready to take care of their business this weekend. Mac asked us if we wanted to be part of history on Saturday night…said that’s what he’s been asking his players all week as well.

1896 – last time Iowa State beat Nebraska three times in a row at home.

32 players individually sat down with Mac this week. Mac said he wanted to get a feel from each player on what were some of the things that may be contributing to the sub-par performances this year. In case any of you are wondering, Mac isn’t close to being satisfied with how this team is playing and is continually challenging them to get better both physically and mentally. Some stories I read would make you think different.

That being said there wasn’t anything he could put his finger on with the team and thought everything seemed to be in order with team dynamics and the whole team atmosphere. Lack of concentration and the ability to play consistant are the things this team has been lacking thus far and hopefully they will show marked improvement in that category on Saturday.

The defense needs to get pressure on Zac Taylor and collapse the pocket. Mac didn’t expound on how they planned to do that, but said it was very important to their success against Nebraska.

Also said not to expect a 16-10 game. He predicted a high scoring, edge of your seat, barn burner.

Said the teams match up well and it’s going to come down to who wants it more, who’s tougher, who can oppose their will on the other…need the great players to play great, the good players to play better than good and the average players play better than average to get a W.

James Smith had surgery on his ankle to replace the existing screw. He won’t play against the ‘Huskers and he hopes to be back on the field in 1-2 weeks.

Stevie Johnson will get his first start as a Cyclone. He’s a good, physical tackler and Mac said he’s been in Stevie’s ear all week about how this could be the game that eventually gives him the title – 4 year career starter.

Sage RosenfelsSage Rosenfels of the Houston Texans, has a bye on Sunday, so he’ll be back in Ames for the big game on Saturday night. He’ll be introduced at halftime, so stick around to see that and give him a big welcome back to Ames. Mac will also have Sage talk with the players, as he has done with so many other returning illumni.

When asked about the players from last year’s recruiting class who are standing out, Mac mentioned Bailey Johnson, Alexander Robinson, Devin McDowell and Austen Arnaud.

Mac said a questionnaire was sent around to teams to get their feelings on the new clock rules. Without going into detail, Mac said the new system probably wouldn’t win a popularity contest right now.

Well, that’s it for now.


P.S. If you’ve never attended a Greater Des Moines Cyclone Club luncheon, I encourage you to do so. The notes I put here don’t compare to seeing and hearing it straight from the Coaches mouth. See details about upcoming Cyclones events at their website – Greater Des Moines Cyclone Club.

Note: Sage photo courtesy of Houston Texans Sage Rosenfels profile.

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My Prediction for ISU at Iowa Game

Posted by isuisu on September 16, 2006

TivoWell, I think the game has already started, but that’s the great thing about Tivo. I’m not as confident as I was last year (yes, I was one of the few) but I just can’t see myself ever picking the squawks. We continue our recent dominance and make it 7 of the last 9. Shaggy comes through in the end and we pull out a 23-20 thriller.

Iowa State 23
Iowa 20

Go Clones!

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Rant About The Referees (Part II)

Posted by isuisu on September 16, 2006

I hope I don’t have to go on about this all season. Here’s my gripe… Are you telling me that the multi-million (billion) dollar industry that is the NCAA can’t come up with 7 guys to referee a game? First let me say ISU’s game last weekend was the worst officiated game I think I’ve ever seen at the college level (Vikings in Lambeau a couple years ago with 8 admitted blown calls is the worst NFL game). How these clowns actually keep their jobs is beyond me. And how they miss and blow so many calls is beyond me too.

Dude!  What does that mean? Der...There is really only two conclusions to make, either they are corrupt or they are incompetent. I’m not saying they are corrupt, I’m just saying well, that’s what it looked like it. I’ll explain further in a minute. Yeah, I know that’s a pretty harsh accusation to make, but I’m not the first to make it. Check out what Baylor assistant coach Bill Bradley had to say about the same officials.

So if you think there is no way they could be corrupt, then they are for sure incompetent and don’t deserve to be on a college football field. These officials (Gerald Wright, Kevin Matthews, Tim Podraza, G. Arredondo, Terry White, Tom Beller and Craig Falkner) need to be the example once and for all that the NCAA needs a better system to evaluate their refs and put people out there that have respect for the game and call it the way it should be called. These officials weren’t even close.

Calls of the Game

Rather than keep rambling on, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Here are some shots from the game with my take on things. Below is one of the ‘controversial’ plays in which the UNLV defender is trying to take home a souvenier…Jon Davis’ jersey!

Jon Davis of ISU gets his jersey pulled...All I want is for each team to have a fair shot at winning. The refs shouldn’t even be mentioned or noticed. I know they are all human like us, but if I did my job like the refs this past Saturday night, I’d be out of a job. As Scott also mentioned, having officials from the same conference as a team call a game is ridiculous. Why do they do it then? My guess it saves the NCAA money on travel. I won’t stop harping until something is done. Join the fight and go Clones!

Here’s to the game being decided by the players today and not the refs! Gulp.

Later Clones!

B. Fuller

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Greater Des Moines Cyclone Club Luncheon Notes & UNLV Game Prediction

Posted by isuisu on September 9, 2006

Scott and I (along with our buddy Dan Reding) attended the pre-UNLV game luncheon yesterday and we thought we’d share some of the highlights from Coach Mac. Here goes:

– Coach came into the luncheon upbeat as ever and you just can’t help but like the guy and be thankful he’s here at Iowa State. I, along with a lot of people, have criticized him for not having the killer instinct or always playing to ‘not lose’, but there is no doubt Mac loves Iowa State, it’s football program and it’s fans. I don’t think there’s anybody who wants to win more than Coach.

– Mac said three of ISU’s Alumni back for the Hall of Fame ceremonies were going to speak to the football program that afternoon (Barry Hill, Keith Sims and Clay Stapleton).

– Marty, Mac’s wife, took the 3 OT game pretty hard on Thursday night so she repaid Mac that weekend by hitting (I’m assuming) Mac’s credit card pretty hard on an extended shopping spree the next day. “You gotta stop doing this”, she told him (in reference to the close game). I think all those in attendance would agree. Mac chuckled and agreed too.

Things to watch for from UNLV:

– Chop blocks from the lineman and the wide recievers. Mac said they probably chop and cut more than any other team they will face this year. Like to clear the path for their 6’5″ QB Rocky Hinds.

– Spread offense…said they give multiple looks, with multiple receivers and throw the ball all over.

– Speaking of their QB, Mac says this guy is big, can really sling the ball and can also use his feet. Should be a great matchup to watch with him and Bret.

– On Defense they use a 3-3-5 stack and blitz from all over…can put our offense in some bad situations if we don’t read, react and execute.

Random Notes about the Cyclone Offense:

– Mac again reiterated that Austen Aurnaud has really impressed the coaching staff. Impressed with his maturity, arm strength and awareness. Said he’s as far a long (if not farther) than Bret was during his freshman year. You could see the excitement he has for his kid.

– With that being said he specifically mentioned that all of us fan should tell Meyer and Blythe, “It’s going to be great watching and cheering for you guys the next two years,” anytime we see them. Or in other words, “Please don’t leave early for the NFL!”

– Said Johnson, Scales and Kock all deserved to see action at the RB spot due to their hard work in practice. Mac loves what Stevie brings, but also wants these other guys to start to contribute. We’ll see how those words translate over to the game (think we’ve heard that before).

– Thought we had a solid running game vs. Toledo, but not great.

– Really liked what he saw from a passing game standpoint against Toledo. Good routes, throws and catches.

– Was very pleased with only 1 false start penalty and also the 2 sacks. One of the sacks was for -1 yards, so he said they would take that combo pretty much every week. Let’s hope for more of the same from the OL, although they need to be more dominant at the point of attack for the running game.

Random Notes about the Cyclone Defense:

– Mac sent all of his former players (now in the NFL) Cyclone shirts and hats. Said Nick Leaders was the first to call him back and had heard from some of the other guys on the current team that the two freshman DL (Nate Frere and Rashawn Parker) are for real. They really get after it on every play and plug things up in the running game. He was happy to hear his old position was in good hands for hopefully the next four years.

– Mac agreed and was impressed by the maturity they showed and toughness playing pretty much all game.

– Mac said too many mental mistakes on defense against Toledo to award an MVP, although singled out LB’s Alvin Bowen and Tyrone McKenzie as having great tackling days flashing their speed all over the field.

– Collins Eboh will not be a Cyclone (ever). Said he gave him a second chance, but the kid just didn’t take care of his academics. Mac seemed perplexed as he said Collins is a smart kid (compared CE’s 25 a.c.t. score to his own 24) but just didn’t do some of the things asked of him.

– There had been some speculation as to why McKenzie was not with the team for two weeks this summer and Mac said he was excused to take care of some personal (sounded like family matter). It wasn’t anything he did wrong as some had thought.

– Bowen is probably fastest LB to ever play for the ‘Clones. Also loves Carper’s speed but he needs to continue to play more physical. Mentioned Garrin as being talented and fast too.

– Matt Berg currently not on the two deeps (as to why he didn’t play against Toledo).

– Thought Singleton had a good game.

– Mentioned Devin McDowell would probably redshirt if we stay away from injuries and that Drenard Williams will be one of our kick returners (along with Deandre) and has been since he got here to Ames (as the official Toledo game depth chart had Flynn listed in his place).

Random Notes about the Cyclone Special Forces:

– Said nobody has owned up to the blocked field goal mis-hap. What I mean by mis-hap is when a kick is blocked and stays behind the line of scrimmage the SF’s are coached to scoop and score. When a kick goes over the line, a word is yelled out (he said the word, but I’ll leave it out of here in case the enemy is reading), which means to stay away from the ball (if it’s over the line it can not be advanced). Well, someone (who is yet to be determined) yelled out the word and everybody stayed away. Bad move – but Mac says that it has definitely been addressed in practice.

– Thought Shaggy showed great poise and liked his 5-5 effort on kicks.

– With the blocked kick (and failing to scoop and score) and the botched snap on the field goal attempt, basically was a 7 point swing in the game. Scoop and score and have a good snap on that field goal and we probably don’t see overtime. Just the tiniest mistakes (wrong call and high snap) can really change the face of a game.

There will be 57 recruits (a lot of juniors ) that will be at the game tonight.

Well, that’s all for now. Gotta get ready for the game. Overall it was a great luncheon and if you guys and gals haven’t attended one you should. Mac was great as always and when his days as ISU coach are over he should be a politician because he really has the gift of gab and is fun to listen to. On second thought, Mac is too honest and too good of a guy to be a politician.

My prediction for UNLV game:

– I look for another high scoring game and chance for redemption for Mac and the coaching staff (by redemption I mean putting away a team when we have them down 20-8). Our offense will score at will and Blythe will see the ball more than the three times he saw it in regulation last week. I hope everytime Blythe is 1 on 1 for the rest of his career we throw him the ball…not every other time, not every third time, but EVERY TIME. If they are going to cover him with one man we need to make them pay.

– Another big game for Meyer – and I think we’ll get a few more turnovers from our D. No overtimes this week:

Cyclones 48

Wear your Cardinal clothes from head to toe and yell like hell!!!


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ISU vs Toledo Prediction

Posted by isuisu on August 31, 2006

It’s six hours to game time and I’m here still typing up my prediction.  Go figure. Back in college I’d have about six hours of tailgating under my belt, but I guess that’s what happens when you get old.  Anyway, Scott and I started up as a way for us to share our love for Iowa State with everyone else who is as passionate as we are about the Cyclones.  As Jamie Pollard has said, “It’s a great time to be a Cyclone!”.  I agree. 

There hasn’t been a time since I’ve been around ISU that there has been more excitement about the football program.  If things work out we’ll be back in a bowl game again and we have the potential to be one of the best offenses in the country.

So we host Toledo tonight and everyone is probably saying, “who the heck is Toledo”?  Well if you don’t know much about them or think it will be a cakewalk for the home team, think again.  As we all know we don’t always show up against (on paper) inferior competition – just look at last years opener for the most recent example.  Couple that with a never say die attitude from the Rockets and we’ll be in a dog fight all night.

That being said, I think Mac will have the troops riled up…the stadium will be rockin’ and we’ll come out and try to establish our dominance early.  The running game is the key to the game and will be for virtually every game this year.  If we can get back to the old days of running, ala. T. Davis, D. Davis, E. Haywood (R.I.P.) and the rest of the stud backs we’ve had over the past 10-15 years, then we may see the best offense in ‘Clone history.

My prediction – Cyclones establish the run early which opens things up for Meyer, Blythe and company all night.  Add in a couple take-aways from the defense and we come out on top 38-17.

Offensive Player of the Game:  Todd Blythe
Defensive PoG: Alvin Bowen
Special Forces PoG: Ryan Baum

We’ll see you at the game!


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