Playing “smart” football pleased Rhoads at recent scrimmage

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Coach Paul Rhoads put his team through its final scrimmage of fall camp Saturday night and he came away pleased.

 “Effort and physical play (stood out),” Rhoads said. “It was a much cleaner scrimmage than the first one.”

 When Rhoads talks about the “cleanliness” of a scrimmage, he’s invoking coach-speak for playing intelligent football.

 “In the last 48 hours, we’ve become a smarter football team,” Rhoads said afterwards. “And, it’s been dramatic.”

 How does the fifth-year Cyclone coach define playing “smart” football?

 “Stay deeper as a defensive back than the offensive player,” Rhoads said. “Stay outside the block as a defensive player or take the appropriate steps and look the ball into your hands (as a receiver).”

 Rhoads is looking for simple gains.

 “When a game that is played as physical and violent and fast as football – and you’re younger – it’s hard to (play smart),” Rhoads said. “I think we’ve really improved in that regard and it is very encouraging.”

 Play fast… play hard… play physical… and play smart.

 That’s a recipe that any coach would like.

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