AMES ó When Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott says heís taking it one day at a time, he means it.
Itís not a mere platitude gleaned from media training 101.
Itís point-blank truth from a man whoís formed an intimate relationships with pain ó and wrestles it to the ground after each encounter.
So the shoulder discomfort he faced entering Saturdayís 35-21 win over Baylor?
The injury that was rumored to preclude him from playing?
"I went into the game saying I wasnít going to think about it," said Knott, who forced a goal-line fumble on the first drive and also notched 11 tackles ó the 19th double-digit effort of his celebrated career. "And I didnít. I can deal with it (later). Iím used to that. Weíll just see how it is and take everything day by day."
And down by down.
Breaks were few and far between for Knott, who overcame a myriad of injuries last season to stay on the field and earn all-Big 12 honors.
Itís a personal tradition dating back to his Pop Warner days.
He doesnít complain.
He wonít sit down.
He works and works and works.
"Iím not surprised by anything heís done," Knottís high school coach at Waukee, Scott Carlson, said before the season. "Sometimes you have kids that have tremendous God-given skill and sometimes you have kids that have this ridiculous work ethic and belief in themselves. Itís pretty rare when you have a kid who has both of those things. And I think Jakeís one of those kids."
Knott ó whose team (5-3, 2-3) faces Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1) at 11 a.m. on Saturday ó said he wasnít sure if heíd be able to play against the Bears.
"Being out there with those guys is really special for me," he said. "Not having planned on it and being lucky enough to have that opportunity really meant a lot."
What will it mean for the future as Knott and the Cyclones seek a Big 12 winning streak and another bowl berth?
That will be determined ... on an incremental basis.
"Thereís a few options," said Knott, who wore a brace on his left shoulder. "But right now, once again, Iím going to take everything day by day and see where that takes me."
Usually, thatís a sublime, if painful place.
The football field.
Where doubters lurk and goals reign supreme.