Normally Tuesday is a great day to consolidate links to centralize some of the ISU-related news. Big reason for that is because the coaches have held their media conference calls the day previous and lots of info hits the web by Tuesday. Also, by Tuesday, everyone has the previous game out of their system, and start looking ahead to the next one.
What do you think happens when you get blown out by an instate Rival, and have an upcoming road game against a MAC team expected to win 2-3 games on the season who just lost their best player due to injury??
That's right! No one wants to talk to you!
Instead of trying to interview a Kent State insider and get their takes, and instead of posting links, I'm just going to go on a rant instead about what I heard on the radio today this evening:
I listed to Paul Rhoads' conference call on the radio, and it was short with 2 members of the media (one of them ESPN's Tim Griffin).
In summary: the team is focused, Austen Arnaud's confidence is a little down, and Tiller will likely get some snaps on Saturday.
Rhoads on playing 2 QBs:
We went into our first game, and I had every intention of putting Jerome in during the second quarter of the football game. Tom O’Brien always did that when I was at Pitt and he was at Boston College with his backup quarterback about every game. I just thought it was smart. He’d get him in there, get him a series regardless of score and that way you’d always have a guy who had taken snaps and wasn’t surprised if he did have to go in for an injury situation. The series in the North Dakota State game, we were backed up twice with our backs against the goal line and I just didn’t think those were the appropriate times to do that so I didn’t get the chance to put Jerome in. He played the fourth quarter last week and did some things well. I’ve already addressed with him, Austen and the team that there is a good chance that Jerome will pop in at some time in the first half against Kent and that doesn’t mean that Austen is not our starting quarterback or that there is a competition. It just means that we have two quarterbacks who we think can help us win. We want to continue to get them both repetitions and experience.
With all due respect to Coach Rhoads, I am not exactly sure how playing 2 QBs regularly is going to help build the program. If Austen struggles for some of the game, but Tiller does well for a handful of series, there's going to be controversy and division on who should QB the team. Arnaud is an emotional leader on that team. I just am concerned when you start toying with your leader's confidence, but it's easier for me to say, as I'm not a coach.
Furthermore what made me absolutely sick was KXnO's Matt Perault and Ken Miller discussing the ISU quarterback situation after playing Coach Rhoads' conference call on air. They just threw out all sorts of scenarios like "What if Arnaud throws a pick right away? How short is the leash?" and stuff like "Arnaud couldn't make the reads on Saturday. Coach Rhoads doesn't owe Arnaud anything. What if they land a QB from Texas to replace Arnaud; give him the keys to the car and say here you go?" I just can't believe it. Arnaud had a bad game, and from reading this story from the Des Moines Register, I feel for the guy. Why can't we root for him, and just be optomistic that he will learn from his mistakes and play well?
I don't necessarily like to single out players, as these guys aren't professional athletes and don't deserve the scrutiny. At the same time, I would get no joy at joking around about a guy's football future after playing one bad game, when his confidence appears to be down. If I'm in my 30s (Perrault) or 50s (Miller), I should know better then this.
I love ISU football, but at the same time these are 18-22 year olds. Sometimes we lose sight of that, and want to treat them like pro athletes, but they are not. I hope in the future guys like Perrault and Miller can lay off. All Arnaud has done is be a standup hometown guy, make himself available to the media, and you discuss his future on air like this?
In the end, I know none of this prognostication by the media will mater come Saturday. I know Arnaud will bounce back, and the Cyclones will take care of business on the road. Look for a more detailed preview of Kent State to come on Thursday.