Paul Rhoads Talks Off-Week Cyclone Football
Paul Rhoads Talks Off-Week Cyclone Football
Expanding confidence on defense - Going two games without allowing a touchdown:
"We do have expanded confidence and that hasn't been done here at ISU since the 1960s. That's a long time and that should expand your confidence a little bit. I think Jake Knott and some of the other veterans are saying it best, the level of comfort they have with our system, the knowledge they have of that system, we're primarily playing 7 seniors a lot of the time, with that maturity you should be playing faster. A big credit to our strength staff and coaching staff for bringing these guys along the last couple of years and putting a product on the field that's finally a defense worth talking about."
The challenge once that defense starts playing conference ball:
"I think I saw a stat that well over half of the Big 12 teams are averaging over 38 points. Our guys know that, our staff knows that, our kids know that, they know how explosive that the Big 12 Conference is. We are all looking forward to the challenge to see if we are improved like we believe we are, and to see if we can keep points to a minimum and play great defense which is what you have to have if you want to end up in the upper half of this league."
How much of an impact has your punter Kirby Van Der Kamp had on the team improving?
"Kirby is somewhere in the middle of the Big 12 if you just look at his numbers. But you can't do that. He's punted the ball 19 times in 3 games, 14 of the 19 have been inside the 20. He has put balls on the 2, the 9, the 8, the 1, in those three games. That's impressive when you are talking about field position that's necessary to win games. He's also hit a 59 yarder this year, he has 36 career punts that are more than 50 and 7 more than 60. Kirby Van Der Camp is a weapon on our football team and the coverage unit has not given up a yard of return yardage on the season in 3 games. Keeping that up will really help us and give us an opportunity to win."
Does the great punting have a psychological effect on the defense knowing that the offense they're facing has more field to cover as well as being pinned back in their own territory?
"It does, internally we voted Kirby as the special teams MVP for three straight weeks and that isn't lost on our defensive guys, they know his value, they're the guys out there on the coverage unit. Kirby punted one time from inside our 15 and ended up pinning them on their 9. When the defense knows they have a guy that can do that on a consistent basis, that uplifts what you can accomplish as a defensive team."
Outlook on RB Jeff Woody:
"Unfortunately he suffered a different injury on our final PAT attempt and he'll need the off time to get that cleared up. The off time is crucial for our guys to heal up and get healthy. I spoke a week ago that at the end of this week we'll be halfway through the season if you are talking about practice snaps and time spent on the practice field compared to whats left. Its really an ideal time, we're trying to be smart going into game 4, other than potentially Jeff we should have everyone good to go."
Specific injury with Woody:
"Knee. No ACL and he should have a chance to be on the field against Texas Tech but we'll have to wait and see."
Jerome Tiller looks like he has become a bigger part of your receiving corps:
"Accountability, he showed us that he could be accountable at the position, probably was looked upon coming out of spring camp that he would be a role guy, but he has shown us in fall camp that he is more than that, with that accountability came playing time. He's really pleased with what he's done going from QB to WR and helping this football team win."
Offensive conversion on 3rd downs:
"I think having Steele, a guy that's now been in the system for two years, has that comfort has that knowledge, I think we also have more playmakers. You don't have to just go to one guy. A year ago, Reynolds was our go to guy on 3rd down. People got a feel for that and they were able to shut it down. Now we have numerous positions we can go to for 3rd down and that's exciting for us. I also think we have done a good job at getting into manageable 3rd downs. If you go back to the Tulsa game we didn't convert any 3rd and longs. We have improved there and we have done a better job of staying out of those situations."
Balance of the offense:
"We were glad the ground game got unchained a little bit. We didn't run the ball as well as we would've liked to against Iowa. We thought we ran the ball pretty well against Tulsa and being able to consistently run well and keep our passing numbers high is a situation we would like to keep up."