Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads' players began trickling in for Day 7 of preseason camp before 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
By 6:30, they were hard at work -- the ones who could make it, anyway.
But instead of hitting the practice field, they worked to sandbag the Jacobson Athletic Building, which unlike their practice fields, basketball arena and soccer complex, hadn't been seriously damaged by flood waters from three consecutive nights of heavy rains.
"This is not an ISU athletics situation, this is a Central Iowa situation," said Tom Kroeschell, the school's associate athletics director for communications.
Roads were closed throughout Central Iowa, leaving the players who didn't make it in to practice early stranded at home. The sports administrative staff was sent home early Wednesday morning, but the players could be stranded on campus until flood waters are expected to crest on Wednesday afternoon. Kroeschell estimated that over 50 percent of the team's 105-man squad was on campus helping slow the flood waters.
"We're surrounded by water," Kroeschell said. "Where you are is where you are. ... You can't get in or out."
Jack Trice Stadium hasn't suffered any damage from the floods, but the practice fields were already under knee-deep water earlier this week.
"We were stretched to our capacity to keep things viable," Kroeschell said.
For now, practicing for the season opener against Northern Illinois has lost its importance while Iowa State tries to prevent further damage from Tuesday night's 90-minute downpour.
Rhoads and his players were unavailable for comment on Wednesday morning for obvious reasons: They're pretty busy -- and not with football.
"[Rhoads] knows that people can get on the Internet right now and take a look at all the challenges that a lot of different people are facing right now. That’s constantly on their minds," Kroeschell said. "We’re just a small part of a much bigger picture."
Getting preseason camp back on track will have to happen eventually. But for now, the Cyclones are busy with more important matters.
"What are we going to do about practice and so forth, that’s a good question once we’ve seen what happens with the water, but there’s really no way we could go somewhere else on campus here [because of the flood damage and road closings]," Kroeschell said. "We’re just waiting to see. We’re watching. We’re standing there watching the water. We’re sandbagging and just kind of watching."
UPDATE 12:30 p.m: Cyclones.com has some photos and video of the damage in Ames, Iowa.