John Zamberlin talked at length on our coach's show Monday night about the steps he and his staff are taking to address the football team's issues. Here are some highlights:
Zamberlin is going to get personally involved in coaching the offensive line. The Bengal front has struggled mightily this year, with ISU averaging less than a yard per carry in the running game. Coach Z is going to try to "light a fire" under the O-line.
Freshman defensive lineman Mihn Williams is moving over to offensive guard to compete for playing time. Fellow true freshman Mark Clampitt will likely see some playing time at guard this week against Eastern Washington, as well as the H-back position he played last week against Central Washington.
The Bengals are going to simplify their punt protection schemes in order to try to break the four-game streak of having a punt blocked. Personal protector Clint Knickhrem is also expected back this week.
True freshman wide receiver Shaquille Senegal has been cleared to play for the first time this year after suffering a pre-season injury. He will likely see playing time on Saturday. Fellow freshman WR Rod Rumble is going to take some practice reps at safety and freshman RB Darrius Coleman will see practice time at the "nickle back" position in an effort to build some depth in the defensive backfield. Senior Amir Owens is still hobbled considerably by pre-season knee surgery and is only available in an emergency situation.
The Bengals will get more information on their "walking wounded" in the next couple of days, including Lance Cartwright, Isaiah Burel, Sean Rutten and Russell Hill.
A large contingent from the ISU Athletic Department showed up for the broadcast tonight in a show of support for Zamberlin. Among those attending was Bengal basketball Coach Joe O'Brien. He gave me some updates on the basketball team, including:
Bengal wing player Austin Kilpatrick (above) reinjured his surgically repaired shoulder when he fell in the shower a couple of weeks ago and grabbed the bar in an attempt to hold himself up. He'd been shooting in personal drills up to that point. O'Brien said doctors are hopeful he merely tore some scar tissue rather than reinjuring connective tissue. O'Brien will make a decision in mid-November about whether to redshirt A-K.
Forward Rolando Little is still waiting for his final transcript in order to get eligible for the season.--Brad B.
And thanks for being a Bengal fan -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.