By Rob Gray
AMES — Message sternly delivered, digested and spotlighted.
To recap, Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads chose not to rekindle the fire created by his post-game comments in the Cyclones’ controversy-tinged 31-30 home loss Thursday to Texas.
He also demurred Monday when asked about his public reprimand from Big 12 officials that stemmed from his largely publicly-supported description of a non-fumble call — and subsequent replay review — with 1:08 left that essentially sealed the debilitating defeat.
“I’m sure the Big 12 office has followed a long history of protocol in cases just like this, with both players and coaches, and doing what they feel is the right thing to do in this situation as far as discipline and I fully accept it,” said Rhoads, who lobbied for more accountability from officials on Friday’s nationally-syndicated Dan Patrick Show, but now is focused on his team’s (1-3, 0-1) also-steep climb at 11 a.m. Saturday at No. 20 Texas Tech (5-0, 2-0).
Rhoads wasn’t the only one involved in Thursday’s game that faced a reprimand.
Texas wide receiver Mike Davis — who was coming off an ankle injury — also was scolded for a penalized cut block executed against ISU safety Deon Broomfield well after a touchdown had been scored.
Davis, however, didn’t take a step back Monday when asked about the block, which had prompted near-unanimous condemnation from the national media and fans alike.
“If we have another run-pass situation, I’d do the same thing,” Davis was quoted as saying by The Dallas Morning News.” If the DB’s loafing, he deserves to be cut.”
The newspaper also noted that Davis “showed some remorse.”
Enough for Broomfield, who could have been seriously hurt?
“I don’t know how you ‘loaf’ after a play is done, but it is what it is,” the senior safety and self-professed believer in karma said.
Rhoads’ reaction to Davis’ comments were concise.
“It has no effect on our preparation for Texas Tech,” he said.
No, it doesn’t — and both he, Broomfield and every other player who has spoken in the aftermath of Thursday’s loss said the reasons for it stem from more than one play, one non-call, and one questionable tactic.
“You’ve got to execute well,” said Rhoads, whose team, as of Monday afternoon, was a 14.5-point Vegas underdog to the resurgent Red Raiders. “We didn’t execute well Thursday night to finish the game and get a victory.”
To have a chance do that Saturday in Lubbock required letting go.
But plenty of other things are also needed from a growing, struggling team — including more interceptions, more red-zone touchdown finishes and less sacks on banged-up quarterback Sam Richardson.
“We knew we were a young team coming into this (season),” mending center Tom Farniok said. “You don’t want to say that, but it’s the truth. You can’t hide from the truth. … I think you’re going to keep seeing that improvement and that jelling as we go forward.”
So consider the rewind officially over.
And it’s been long over for linebacker Jeremiah George, who stripped away the would-be fumble that ignited Thursday’s controversy.
“This team,” George said less than 30 minutes after the game, “we’re going to be able to respond well to adversity.”
LALK BACK, BOESEN OUT: Guard Jamison Lalk has returned to the depth chart (No. 2 at “quick” guard) after missing two games because of an MCL strain. Backup tight end Ben Boesen (knee) is likely out this week.
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