The weather in Phoenix is a bit cooler than normal right now, but it is highly unlikely anyone from the Iowa State sidelines will complain about it.
The Cyclones traded inches of snow and subzero temps for inches of sand and tons of sun.
Iowa State arrived in Arizona on Thursday morning, and started practice at Desert Mountain High School on Saturday. Head coach Paul Rhoads greeted the press after team practice yesterday.
About today’s practice: "Coaches are set in their ways and everything is game week. Today is Monday. Tomorrow is Tuesday. Tuesday’s preparation is awfully important to game week.
"We’re ahead that we’ve already practiced against Minnesota. But the players can never believe that you’re done. We’re far from being in that position. You get good exposure back in Ames and then you get back here and it is normal game week."
About the balance between work and fun this week: "One of the things I think you do to balance it is keep you team informed. I think if they are informed about everything that is taking place from the activities to the fun to the curfews to the work, they respond.
"If they know they are going to a dinky locker room, they are ready for it. If they know they are going to be at a fabulous practice facility, they are ready for it. With that in mind, I think our overall preparation will reflect that."
About the difference between Big Ten and Big 12 teams: "I don’t know if there is a set difference by conference that way. Minnesota is multi-dimensional offensively with what they do. We faced other teams that are that way also in our league.
"There are a number of spread teams in that league (Big Ten). The offense wants to score more points than the defense. I think both leagues are physical leagues."
About the geographical rivalry with Minnesota: "I think it is a natural rivalry because the borders connect and the fact that recruiting circles or some of the teams that we play there is carry over. The fact that we don’t play each other year-in and year-out I think separates it a little bit. But I think there is a natural rivalry with the border."
An Insight Bowl win against the Gophers would cap off a great first year as head coach for Rhoads.
Iowa State will square off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Tempe on Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. EST.