By Rob Gray
AMES — As the painful images flickered, Jeremiah George’s eyes didn’t wander.
The Iowa State senior linebacker and captain scrutinized each missed tackle, misstep and indecisive moment he exhibited in the season-opening loss to Northern Iowa.
He shook his head as the tape spooled out, then eventually started nodding.
“I still look at it and it was like I was frozen,” said the typically fierce and fast George, who seeks what he call a chance for redemption in Saturday’s 5 p.m. matchup with Iowa at Jack Trice Stadium. “I wasn’t what I call pulling the trigger. I wasn’t being explosive and just playing, man. But now I feel good and I’m really excited for (Saturday).”
George tied a career-low with two tackles against the Panthers.
None were solo stops.
He felt so bad after the game he lingered in the locker room long after it had ended, not to wallow in self-pity, but to re-connect to his true, powerful self.
“It really bothered me because I know what I’m capable of,” George said. “And that performance, it was embarrassing, man.”
It goes without seeing a repeat won’t cut it against the Hawkeyes, who feature bruising runner Mark Weisman.
Iowa’s rushed for an average of 250 yards while going 1-1 against Northern Illinois and Missouri State.
“(Weisman is) a very well-taught downhill running back,” said George, who notched coulde digit tackles in three of the last four 2012 regular season games. “He gets his pads down and he’s going to go at you for four quarters. That’s a challenge that I welcome. It’s perfect for what I’m trying to bring back to the table to prove myself.”
The Cyclones allowed 228 yards on the ground to UNI, and didn’t drop running David Johnson behind the line of scrimmage once.
“By all means, fly to the ball, but we were getting out of our gaps too fast and creating creases for their players,” ISU free safety and captain Jacques Washington said of the defense’s play in general.
George — a sturdy, but athletic 5-11, 219 pounds — most definitely flies.
And it usually leads to hard-hitting results.
Thus the Northern Iowa performance comes with the tagline of aberration.
“He missed a good number of reps in training camp because of a hamstring and probably was tentative mainly because of that,” ISU coach Paul Rhoads said of George, who did not mention the injury himself. “He’s a fast football player that needs to play fast. He didn’t do that in the first game.”
No argument from George on that.
He offered an honest and harsh one-game self-assessment.
Now, he’s moved on — and fast.
“A lot of people expect a lot of things from me, but more importantly, my teammates expect me to go out there and do what I’m capable of doing,” George said. “Just doing my job. So I’m relaxed, man. And you know what? The Hawkeyes are coming to town. I couldn’t ask for nothing better for a chance of redemption.”
Comments are closed.