Yesterday marked the first official practice of the 2007 football season. It lasted just a few minutes. Why was that?
"We started our stretch and he didn't think we were doing it to his liking," said Iowa State wide receiver Todd Blythe. "He sent us across the field to start over, which is what he should do. He told us that he wasn't going to coach down to our level; we were going to practice up to his level. He already takes so much pride in being a Cyclone after just seven months here."
One has to really like what they are seeing in Chizik so far. He's not going to "coach down" to their level. That's quite a statement for a coach to make about his new team. He seems to be trying to mold the Cyclones into a top-tier team right away. Perhaps a better sign is that Chizik felt the effort improved in the practice.
Chizik's team worked on special teams and then spent a large portion of the afternoon getting back in gear.
"The tempo picked up as practice went on," Chizik said. "I think they know where they stand after getting back on the field after spring football. It will take us a week of review to get us back to where we were after the spring game. But that is normal."
I was a big Chizik fan from the beginning. I wanted him. One former Chizik player mentioned that he'd "never seen so many veins on a man's neck." It's clear that Gene has brought in a certain amount of badassery that was needed in the program.
A lot was mentioned about why Chizik was brought in, but I really think getting new blood in was part of the reasoning. While what McCarney did was great, the program had indeed begun to stagnate after 12 years. To be sure, the players are in the best shape of their lives at this point, with thanks to Chizik and new strength coach Ken Sheppard. With a new focus on explosiveness and speed - a change from the McCarney/McGettigan leadership, has allowed many members of the team to get themselves closer to the point that they will be less likely to be manhandled in the Big 12.
...err...learn to love the Tampa Two.
Of course, if you check out the picture above, one might think Gene really misses Texas. It was near 90 yesterday in Ames, and Gene's wearing a sweatshirt with cutoff sleeves. WTF? The hat is a really nice touch, but I'm worried that he might be a little nutso with that outfit. Looks pretty badass, though.
There's just 28 days until the game against Kent State. Four short weeks, and Kent State will be coming into Jack Trice Stadium, hopefully in front of 50,000+ fans. I have a feeling that this is a game that will surprise some people, as expectations have been lowered so far that it won't be difficult to impress.
Just 28 days til football. Just 28 days.