Iowa State wary of Panthers

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 12:27 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 7:11 a.m. CDT

AMES, Iowa — On game film, before every snap, the scoreboard is shown to show the basics — down and distance and the time of game.

It also happens to show the score.

As Iowa State senior running back Jeff Woody watched the Cyclones’ film of its 2011 game with Northern Iowa, in preparation for Saturday’s 7 p.m. season opener against the Panthers at Jack Trice Stadium, there was something that stood out.

“It (the film) shows the scoreboard and there are a lot of times where it says the Panthers have a higher number than the Cyclones do and that is something you can’t get around,” Woody said.

ISU rallied to score twice in the final five minutes to edge UNI, 20-19, in that game, but the Cyclones haven’t forgotten how tough it was. Or the time before that against the Panthers. Or the time before that.

“When you play UNI and watch the film on UNI, you know ... there is absolutely nothing easy about it,” added Woody.

Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads is anxious to play Saturday, maybe not so much to play the talented Panthers, but anxious to discover how 11 potential new starters will perform.

Rhoads is 4-0 in season openers as the Cyclones’ head coach, but this will be his most inexperienced team.

ISU returns no starting wide receivers, will have two new starting offensive linemen and just one returning starter among its front seven on defense

Asked what are some of the major differences of his current team and the first team he coached in 2009, Rhoads didn’t have to search for an answer.

“Probably more unknowns, first of all, with this team,” Rhoads said. “More unknowns with this team because we have so many players with a lack of snaps under their belt.

“We didn’t know that ‘09 team as well, but we had a pretty good idea of what we had.

“When this Saturday arrives we will get some questions answered about our football team.”

Despite having nearly 30 practices behind them, Rhoads said the Cyclones aren’t quite ready to face a UNI team featuring Sawyer Kollmorgen and David Johnson on offense, and a Panther defense led by a stout linebacker group and a very talented backfield on defense.

More than 6,000 Cyclone faithful flocked to a fan fest Sunday and the No. 1 question asked of Rhaods is whether he was ready to play UNI.

“I said no I am not,” Rhoads said of his response to the fans. “We still have a number of practices left and we are going to take advantage of every single one of them.

OFFENSIVE LINE CHANGES: Senior strong guard Ethan Tuftee, who has the Cyclones’ second longest streak of starts behind center Tom Farniok’s 26, will have his snapped at 15.

Sophomore Jamison Lalk was listed ahead of Tuftee in a depth chart released by Iowa State Monday.

Rhoads said Tuftee is expected to play against UNI, but he has been slowed by a charlie horse above his knee during fall camp and has missed several practice opportunities

“It’s more that Ethan has missed some days,” Rhoads added.

At quick guard, redshirt freshman Daniel Burton has jumped ahead of Oni Omoile, who was No. 1 coming out of spring.

BATTLE AT KICKER: Incumbent starter Edwin Arceo who was 37 of 40 on PATs and 12 of 18 on field goals is continuing to be pushed by redshirt freshman Cole Netten.

That doesn’t figure to change anytime soon.

“It will extend to game day,” Rhoads said. “Anytime you begin to think you have answers in a situation like that somebody drops off in their performance.

“I want to feel great about who it is I’m putting out there and the reason I made that decision. So, yep, she’s going to keep going, that battle, for the rest of the week.”

SATURDAY NIGHT HEAT: The forecasted high for Saturday is going to be near 100 degrees after an uncharacteristic cool August, but Rhoads doesn’t see that being an issue.

“We got a little burst of it last week so it’s not like this week it is completely new to us,” he said. “The positive of a month like this is our first two opponents, which extends over a three week time period, have been practicing in the same exact weather.”

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©2013 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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