Archive for the ‘Iowa State’ Category

Iowa State Players Liking Paul Rhoads; Gene Chizek Not So Much

July 29, 2009

As if Gene Chizek wasn’t already on shaky ground with Auburn Tigers’ fans, then along comes ISU Qb Austen Arnaud and DL Nate Frere at Big 12 Media Days.

(Paul Rhoads)

It sounds as if the Iowa State football team had a chance for a few last words with former coach Gene Chizek that it would have been something along the lines of ‘don’t let the door hit you in the ass.’

Said Arnaud:

  • “You hear about guys walking around like they were on egg shells (last year), but right now, coach Rhoads will be in the locker room, hanging out, sitting on the couch, just chillin’. That’s the cool thing about him. He’s down for us, and we’re down for him.”

Said Frere:

  • “I’ve played for three different coaches since I’ve been at Iowa State. Coach Rhoads is a people person, just like coach McCarney was. You can tell he cares – he puts the effort forward to get to know you and your family.”
  • “We kind of got burned on the last deal,” Frere said of Chizik’s surprising December departure. “When (Chizik) says that he’s staying for sure, and then you find out through the media that he took a trip to see another school about another job, and then having to hear about it through the media that he accepted it … and then he calls a team meeting after the fact …
  • “There was a lot of emotion in that room. There was a lot of anger.”

And when asked how Rhoads compares to Chizik, Frere said:

  • “No comment. Between workouts, coach Rhoads will come into the locker room and hang out with us, watch TV and sometimes talk about things other than football. This is the first time I can remember a coach doing that since coach McCarney left.”

And if there’s one thing that I like about Paul Rhoads’ attitude about taking on a team with 10 consecutive conference losses (17 on the road), it’s that he knows exactly what he’s gotten himself into:

  • “We’ve attacked those numbers from Day One. We don’t brush them under the carpet. We talk about them openly.”
  • “It’s a new era of Iowa State football. I think the challenges are you inherit a program that has no tradition, so to speak, in collegiate football and in the Big 12 since its inception back in ’96, I believe. We have one Big 12 North shared title, something that we’re very proud of, and need to build upon. But the lack of recent success is the first hurdle that you must overcome.”

If there’s a bright side for Iowa State and Paul Rhoads this season, then I guess you could point out the 15 returning starters, which includes Arnaud.

If I was an Iowa State fan, there are four games I’d have circled on my schedule: Kansas State in K.C., vs. Colorado, vs. Baylor, and @ Texas A&M. If there’s a conference win for this team in 2009, then it’s coming from there.

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The Gene Chizek Equation

December 16, 2008

Trying to figure out exactly what Auburn AD Jay Jacobs was thinking when hiring a coach on an impressive run of 10 straight losses is a little puzzling to say the least. The algebra problem from Good Will Hunting seems easier to solve than this mind boggling move. Not to say Gene Chizek couldn’t become a good head coach someday, but after two regressive seasons in Ames, there is no reason to believe this will ever happen. Winning 5 games in two full seasons isn’t the kind of track record that typically gets you a better job. In fact it’s a lot like coming to the office an hour late everyday, looking up porn on the Internet, taking double your allowed vacation and still getting promoted.

Were there better candidates for the job? A certain Auburn alum certainly thinks so. Anyone who has seen Charles Barkley swing a golf club realizes this guy has bigger problems than critiquing a hire in a sport he never played, but he makes some sense here. Like Barkley, I was pulling for Turner Gill to get the job and apparently so was the majority of Auburn fans on the Rivals message board. Barkley made a good point saying, “you can’t compare the two resumes and say (Chizek) deserved the job. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizek probably had the worst resume.”

Probably had the worst resume? George O’Leary couldn’t lie his way out of the brutal two seasons Chizek had in Ames. Not that Iowa State is an easy place to win, but since 2000 the Cyclones had 7 wins or more in 5 seasons, making a bowl game each time. Chizek somehow managed to never win a road game while losing to powerhouses Kent State, Northern Iowa, and Toledo. Showing zero signs of progress after bombing 10 straight, Chizek demoted BOTH his offensive and defensive coordinators this year.

That’s exactly the type of coaching prowess most ADs look for in a new head coach. All Turner Gill has done in 3 seasons at once lowly Buffalo is take a team that was an underdog in EVERY game for 7 straight seasons and turn them into conference champs while winning 8 games, the same amount of wins the school had in its first 5 seasons in division I-A.

If I were a Cyclones’ fan, I wouldn’t feel too bad. Chizek leaving is kind of like a California homeowner finding their house engulfed in flames after buying in 2004 and finding themselves $200k in the hole. A big problem is off their hands and now they can move on without another highly touted coordinator who couldn’t live up to the hype.

Chizek has more than his fair share of detractors. I think Auburn could have done better, and its football fans deserve to get the most qualified candidate for the job. Barring a major turnaround, these fans could find themselves at the Redstone, Alabama Rehab Center.

Turner Gill to Iowa State? The All-Too-Real Possibility

December 15, 2008

I’ll be honest. I (along with Husker Mike) am a tad frightened at what could be the outcome of what is more than likely about to begin this week.

It’s not going to surprise anyone that follows college football when Iowa State officially starts pursuing the hottest coaching commodity available. Gill’s coaching stock has soared since taking lowly Buffalo to heights never imagined. And for all different reasons, rationales, and circumstances, Gill and several BCS conference schools (namely Auburn and Syracuse) have decided to pass on each other.

BCS conference schools with openings for the 2009 season at one time: Tennessee, Auburn, Washington, Syracuse, Mississippi State, Clemson, Purdue, and Kansas State.

All gone.

The newly vacated head coaching job at Iowa State now happens to be the one and only BCS conference job left on the table. Simply put, it is the only job available where Gill wouldn’t be making a lateral move if he was to take another head coaching job for next season. His time is now. It would not be hard to be excited for Gill if this scenario was to happen. On the other hand, it would be hard to watch him succeed. Hypothetically speaking, if he was to pull off a Buffaloesque success story at Iowa State, it would be at Nebraska’s expense.

On a related sidenote, Gene Chizek autographed portraits are not selling very well down in Alabama. Read here for the backlash he is taking from the not so enthused Auburn fans.

You’re not in Iowa anymore, coach.