Football complex has Rhoads’ fingerprints all over it, but there was a team approach to making it happen.

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Iowa State showed off the brand new Steve & Debbie Bergstrom Football Complex last week and it opened to rave reviews from donors, former football letterwinners and a variety of invited guests, who toured the facility after dedication ceremonies.

Beyond the beauty, is the building’s functionality. That’s the way Paul Rhoads wanted it.

“This facility needed to be designed with a blue collar work ethic in mind and that’s exactly the finished product we have,” Rhoads said. “Plus, there is a lot of ‘wow’ to go on top of it.”

Rhoads’ fingerprints are all over the building. Certainly, the coach gave leeway to trusted associates like Mark Coberley (athletics training) and Yancy McKnight (strength & conditioning) to design their areas. But, Rhoads maintained input on all of the details including the graphics package, design of lockers and how the furniture should be arranged.

The Cyclone coach wanted it perfect and got an assurance that would happen from Athletics Director Jamie Pollard.

“It being done right was an eye-to-eye, handshake agreement that Jamie and I entered into,” Rhoads said. “That’s the way Jamie and I operate and that is exactly how it got done.”

It also got done, amazingly, in 22 months. A spirit of cooperation on campus, a group of generous donors and countless hours of hard work from staff and the construction team made the facility a reality in a tight timeframe.

Pollard recognized the need for a football-only building less than two years ago and went to work with Rhoads to make it happen. And, when there are two leaders with a single-minded focus on achievement most anything can happen.

“In four years, we have become who we are (as a program) because of the development taking place (in our facilities),” Rhoads said.

There is so much more that Rhoads wants to accomplish. The work ahead, however, will be in state-of-the-art digs and the coach couldn’t be happier.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Against the highest scoring offenses in college football, the Cyclone defense is doing its job.

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Defensive coordinators in the Big 12 must have a lot of sleepless nights. That’s the case when you face the most prolific offenses in college football week after week.

Big 12 schools are averaging a full touchdown more than any other major conference. Here are the scoring averages per conference in 2012: Big 12 (37 ppg), ACC, Pac-12 and SEC (30 ppg), Big Ten (28 ppg) and Big East (27).

That’s why the performance of Wally Burnham’s Iowa State defense deserves closer inspection.

“Our success says volumes about the plans (our coaches) are putting together,” Coach Paul Rhoads, a former defensive coordinator, said.

The bottom line is points allowed. Not one Cyclone opponent this fall has surpassed its season scoring averaging against Iowa State.

Here’s the data: Tulsa (scored 17 points below its season average), Iowa (14), Western Illinois (nine), Texas Tech (17), TCU (10) Kansas State (17), Oklahoma State (13) and Baylor (23).

Second-ranked Kansas State is the only other league school that has not allowed an opponent to score more than its average. North Texas did, however, meet its season average when it faced the Wildcats in Manhattan.

There are definitely challenges ahead for the Cyclones with Oklahoma (ranked 13th nationally in scoring), Texas (8th) and West Virginia (9th) left to play.

But, there is a record of success for this group and a strong desire to see it continue.

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Only three Big 12 starting quarterbacks have less experience than Iowa State’s senior (and they’re all freshmen).

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Steele Jantz has only played 16 games of Division 1A college football.

Along with bouncing between the University of Hawaii and San Francisco CC prior to his enrollment at Iowa State, suffering injuries along the way (high school) and considering a position switch to safety (where Hawaii wanted to move him), Jantz has less than normal experience behind center for a 23-year-old.

As Paul Rhoads has said throughout the season, Jantz is learning to play QB at this level.

“Remember now, he’s been playing Division 1(A) football for only a year-and-a-half,” Rhoads said. “It takes time.”

Even though Jantz is a senior, only Trevone Boykin (TCU), Wes Lunt (Okie State) and Michael Cummings (Kansas) are current Big 12 starters with less major college experience than Jantz. All three of them are FRESHMEN.

After last week’s open competition to win the starting spot at ISU (his third full-scale trial in the last two years), Jantz emerged the starter and registered a record-breaking performance against Baylor.

Jantz tied school records for TD passes (five) and completions (36) while setting a personal-best for passing (381) and second-best for rushing (54) yards.

While many people seemed to be scratching their heads about Jantz’ performance Saturday evening, the head coach didn’t seem surprised.

“There is a reason he’s been our starting quarterback for the last two years,” Rhoads said. “He’s a physically gifted player.”

Now, he enters the stretch run of his final college season as a talented player with a big shot of confidence.

“Will we see it again next week,” Rhoads pondered. “I don’t know, but we sure saw it tonight (Saturday).”

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Most discussion has focused on passing offenses but will run games be more important vs. Baylor?

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Much of the pre-game analysis for the Iowa State vs. Baylor game has focused on the teams’ passing games.

How will Baylor’s nation-best throwing offense perform in what is expected to be a cool, nighttime atmosphere in Jack Trice Stadium? Can Iowa State’s passing attack get untracked against the Bears’ defense?

In the film room, however, I’ll suggest that each coaching staff was dissecting the run game as much.

Paul Rhoads was asked this week how much more effective the Cyclone offense would be if it was rushing for an additional 50-60 yards per game.

“Lots of things would be different,” Rhoads said. “Fact is we’re not (rushing for an additional 50-60) and we’ve got to work and improve that as it affects everything else with the offense.”

When quizzed about slowing Baylor’s powerful offense, Rhoads offered that limiting its ground attack would be a top priority.

“We got bludgeoned last year (vs. Baylor with the run game),” Rhoads admitted. “You better stop one thing and that takes people to do that. Then, you try to rally and control other things.”

At game’s end, check the rushing totals. It could summarize the results of the game more accurately than the passing yardages.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Knott & Klein miss Butkus Award cut list; heavy pro presence on voting panel.

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Twelve semi-finalists for the 2012 Butkus Award were announced this week and it’s an impressive group. The award is presented each year to the best linebacker in high school, college and professional football.

Four of the college semi-finalists are from the Big Ten, three from the SEC and two from the Pac-12. Kansas State’s Arthur Brown is the lone representative from the Big 12.

Neither of Iowa State’s outstanding duo of Jake Knott and A.J. Klein made the cut.

Knott has 68 tackles (which would rank second among the semi-finalists, one behind Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o), six tackles for loss, five pass break-ups (more than any semi-finalist) and two interceptions this season. Knott’s picks were game-clinching plays in Cyclone road wins (Iowa and TCU). Klein, the reigning Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year, also has sporty numbers and tied the NCAA career record for “pick sixes” by a linebacker earlier this season.

Roughly 50 people vote annually for the Butkus Award.

The list of 2012 voters include six people, who are aligned with college football: head coaches from Alabama, Iowa and Northwestern along with media representatives Pete Fiutak (College Football News), Tom Dienhart (Rivals) and Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN).

Roughly 40-plus voters have NFL affiliations – including head coaches Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Leslie Frazier, John Harbaugh and Ron Rivera – and one is a prep talent evaluator.

It’s too bad the Cyclones didn’t get the recognition they’ve earned as the stalwarts on an outstanding ISU defense. Their resumes certainly stack up favorably with those who were honored.

Perhaps, the voting process could be improved. Adding more representation from college football would be a start.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Cyclones looking to solidify their identity on offense and be consistently productive.

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On the Big 12 media teleconference Monday, Coach Paul Rhoads said one of his concerns is a lack of an identity for his offense.

In the season opener against Tulsa, the Cyclones completed a slew of horizontal passes. Rhoads felt the short passing attack was “who we thought we were.”

Although ISU has not been as effective in recent weeks with that attack, a successful short throwing game has side benefits.

“The more frequently we can do that (successful bubble and hitch routes), the more you can spread teams out east and west,” he said. “(Then) the north / south game opens up, whether it be run or pass.”

Rhoads feels the Cyclones’ passing game on the move (roll-outs) has been one of team’s bright spots along with a productive option game. Each of those packages widens the field.

The bottom line for Rhoads and the Cyclones is to become more productive and consistent, no matter the means.

“We’ve got to take care of what Iowa State does (best) and do it more effectively,” Rhoads concluded.


The next opportunity is Saturday night.

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Hoiberg adjusting to his player’s abilities, which means Clyburn and Lucious are front and center.

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Some coaches recruit to their playing style. Others want talented players and find ways to mesh and maximize their talents.

Fred Hoiberg is kind of a mix. He has stated that he wants to play fast and believes his 2012-13 team is his best-equipped to do so.

The addition of super-quick point guard Korie Lucious leading sleek wing players like Will Clyburn, Chris Babb and Tyrus McGee give Hoiberg the option to quicken the pace.

“We were very unconventional last year and played an out of the box (style),” Hoiberg told Big 12 media last week.

He was, of course, referring to 270-pound primary ballhandler Royce White.  Hoiberg feels this year’s Cyclones will play at a pace more similar to his first season.

“It will look a little bit like two years ago when we had Diante Garrett leading our break,” Hoiberg said of the guard, who averaged 6.1 assists. “But, we have more weapons (on the wings) now.”

What’s obvious is that Hoiberg adjusts. At the league media day, he was asked by former college coach Matt Doherty what his preferred style is.

“I’m going to play to the strengths of my players,” Hoiberg said. “I like to exploit mismatches.”

Each year that mismatch is different. This year, his team may have a pace of play advantage. I get the feeling Hoiberg is licking his chops to get started with the speedy roster he has built.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Cyclones return home with a chance to reverse a bizarre Big 12 trend.

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Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Kansas have the chance this week to alter a bizarre trend in Big 12 play. Each has the opportunity to win a conference home football game.

Astonishingly, road teams in the Big 12 have won 13 of 20 (65%) league games this fall. Six schools – Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and Iowa State – have better win percentages on the road in conference action.

In the other major football conferences, there is a pretty even split between home and road records. In the Big Ten, home and road teams have each won 10 times. Home teams in the Pac-12 (13-12 record) and Big East (7-5) have a slight advantage, while SEC road squads enjoy a small (16-14) lead. The largest difference is in the ACC where home schools are 16-9.

“It will be fun to be back (at Jack Trice Stadium) and there’s routine that goes with that,” Coach Paul Rhoads said. “But, we’re on a two-game losing streak at home and it’s up to us as a football team to change that.”

The Cyclones have won three of the last four games in Ames against Baylor. Let’s hope that streak continues while the success of road teams in the Big 12 in ’12 slows for a week.

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Every game in the Big 12 Saturday includes a BCS-ranked school. No other conference can say that.

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When ESPN’s Rece Davis welcomed viewers to the inaugural BCS Rankings Show of the season last Sunday night, there were interested observers all across the Big 12.

When the first slide was unveiled, Iowa State was listed #24. It was the Cyclones’ first-ever appearance in the BCS standings and inclusion meant validity for the program and a nice mental bump for the team.

“We got a nice morale boost at the end of the day (Sunday) discovering we were 24th in the initial BCS rankings,” Coach Paul Rhoads said.

Iowa State was one of seven Big 12 schools included in the ratings. As a result, every conference game this weekend will feature a ranked BCS squad.

The Big 12 is the lone conference that can make that claim.

None of the six Big Ten games this weekend includes a BCS-ranked school. No BCS-rated teams are in four match-ups in the ACC, two in the Big East and one each in the SEC (Auburn-Vanderbilt) and Pac-12 (Washington-Arizona).

That’s simply another show of the top-to-bottom strength in the Big 12.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Every game in the Big 12 Saturday includes a BCS-ranked school. No other conference can say that.

B_big12logo

When ESPN’s Rece Davis welcomed viewers to the inaugural BCS Rankings Show of the season last Sunday night, there were interested observers all across the Big 12.

When the first slide was unveiled, Iowa State was listed #24. It was the Cyclones’ first-ever appearance in the BCS standings and inclusion meant validity for the program and a nice mental bump for the team.

“We got a nice morale boost at the end of the day (Sunday) discovering we were 24th in the initial BCS rankings,” Coach Paul Rhoads said.

Iowa State was one of seven Big 12 schools included in the ratings. As a result, every conference game this weekend will feature a ranked BCS squad.

The Big 12 is the lone conference that can make that claim.

None of the six Big Ten games this weekend includes a BCS-ranked school. No BCS-rated teams are in four match-ups in the ACC, two in the Big East and one each in the SEC (Auburn-Vanderbilt) and Pac-12 (Washington-Arizona).

That’s simply another show of the top-to-bottom strength in the Big 12.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow