Dec 31, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Iowa State Cyclones linebacker A.J. Klein (47) approaches the line during the game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the Liberty Bowl at Liberty Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Spruce DerdenUSA TODAY Sports
One problem that painfully plagued the Iowa State football team last season was not being able to stop opponents on third down conversion. It’s a tough pill to swallow as this team itself can’t seem to hold onto the ball for very long.
The Cyclones rank 115th in the nation at time of possession, totaling 27 minutes and 16 seconds. That’s not good enough, especially with this year’s team that won’t be so reliant on passing the ball.
Iowa State doesn’t have the size to match up for a physical game against a conference foe, so the plan will be to grind games out and take longer in their possessions. The key will be to get the running game going.
"[T]he running backs — they’re another important figure in the ball-consumption equation.“The more success we have running the football, the more success we have with play action, and the more opportunities we have for open receivers,” Rhoads said."
Last season when the starting quarterback was in question with all these running backs ready to play, it was a surprise to see the team come out with such a passing attack. But it’s a style that fit Steele Jantz even when he let the other team catch it multiple times.
Perhaps easing a younger player like Sam Richardson will help. There’s no question that Iowa State will suffer some quick 3-and-outs, but having some patience and limiting the amount of snaps the opponent has can help Richardson down the road.