10 May 2012
As we continue our series of looking ahead, and getting know our new Big 12 conference mates a bit more, it's now time to focus in on Iowa State. The Cyclones are coming off a 6-7 (3-6 Big 12) season, including a loss to Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
For a deeper look into the Cyclones, we reached out to Andrew Coppens, editor of Wisconsin blog, madtownbadgers.com . And although he covers the Badgers, he's an Iowa State he offers great insight into the program.
As mentioned, the Cyclones managed an overall record of 6-7, and 3-6 in the Big 12. A season that has its ups and downs, arguably the college football seasons greatest upset involved the team from Ames, Iowa. In late November, the Cyclones defeated then ranked No. 2 Oklahoma State in double-overtime, 37-31. That loss, contributed greatly the the Cyclones making a bowl and the Cowboys being left out of the national title picture.
Here are our six burning questions - Iowa State Cyclones.
EI: ISU won an emotional game last season against a very talented Oklahoma State team on national TV. What did that win do for the program, and moral of the team heading into this year?
AC: I'm not sure what it did for the team heading into the 2012 season, but as a fan that was a win that won't ever be forgotten. Every year under Paul Rhoads they've pulled off a major victory for the program. In year one it was Nebraska (see video link below), then it was the programs first ever win at Texas (who was ranked at the time) in 2010. But those pale in comparison to what happened on that fateful Friday night. It showed that this was a team capable of playing with any team, anytime, anywhere. However, that momentum didn't carry over to the next two games as they lost to rival Kansas State in "Farmeggedon" and to Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.
What I think it does do for 2012 is it gives the younger players on the roster that were able to be a part of that atmosphere a sense of it doesn't matter who we are playing, if we play as a team we can and do overcome any odds against us. If they carry that feeling over this team could be pretty good.
EI: Paul Rhoads is known as a defensive mind and has made stops in Pittsburgh and Auburn. What can you tell us about Coach Rhoads and his style of coaching?
AC: All you need to know about Coach Paul Rhoads can be summed up by the video linked here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAcKiMy0Gp4 He's a players coach, but a hard nosed S.O.B. Fans from WVU will have fun watching the sometimes crazy faces and gestures he makes, but it's because he's so passionate on the sidelines. Cyclone fans and more importantly his team will follow him the ends of the earth and that's huge.
EI: Iowa State is coming off a successful spring campaign. They have to replaced six starters from last season. They seem to have the depth to make it work, but can you talk about the defense, scheme, and what fans can look forward to in 2012?
AC: Defense is a touchy subject in the Big 12. The one thing you'll really have to get used to in the transition to the conference is how offensive orientated the conference is. With that said the Cyclones defense should be pretty solid. Thanks to the efforts in the recruiting and coaching area the Cyclones are in a lot deeper of a position with their roster than they've been in quite some time. They play a 4-3 scheme that uses speed and strength. The biggest area of concern has to be up front where they have to replace both of the starting defensive ends.
EI: On paper, this team is deep on the defensive said of the ball. You have 2 of the best linebackers in the nation. Will the defense be called upon to win games this year?
AC: What many people overlook is how explosive this defense is at Iowa State and by explosive I mean making big plays and forcing turnovers. They give up a lot of points, but that's every defense in the Big 12. What they lack in points they make up for in giving the ball back to their offense in key situations. Just look at how they came back against Iowa and Oklahoma State last year. The Cyclones were left for dead at times in both games, but because of timely forced turnovers the comebacks were on. That's the real secret behind the Cyclone success on the defensive side of the ball.
EI: Iowa State has 9 starters returning on offense. The biggest question heading into the fall... who is the quarterback?
AC: Oh boy, the million dollar question, huh? Right now if I had to pick one I'd say that Jarred Barnett wins the battle in the fall. He had the moxie needed to win the big games, but so did Steele Jantz (see Iowa OT win). However the upside for Barnett, who was just a redshirt freshman last year is much more than Jantz. He will need to show that he has put some of the jitters and bad decisions behind him though and for me he needs to become a better pocket passer.
After the spring Coach Rhoads, who's got a new offensive coordinator this season, wasn't ready to name a starter and even threw Sam Richardson in the mix as well, but is clearly the third man in the race.
EI: Will ISU improve from last season and make a bowl game?
AC: Cyclone fans are notorious for playing the game of "Bowl Game math" meaning they take a look at the schedule when it's out and look to see if there is a way to logically come up with enough wins for a bowl game. In order to make a bowl game again this year I think they almost need to go undefeated in their non-conference schedule, which only Iowa should be a big time test for this team. The Big 12 schedule isn't all that kind to the Cyclones so they also will need to find a way to pull an upset or two, possibly beating either Texas or TCU to gain bowl eligibility. One thing is for sure, this team will never quite and will be competitive in every game, something that hasn't always been the case in Ames.
|< Prev||Next >|