Iowa State football: Final grades for Cyclone coaches and offensive unit

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Oct 6, 2012; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones defensive coordinator Wally Burnham yells from the sidelines during the game against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Wally Burnham: C

Burnham was on the same chopping block as Messingham, but the defense really improved in the second half the season. Jeremiah George and Jacques Washington aren’t as hot as A.J. Klein and Jake Knott became, but they were certainly the leading duo defensively.

Limiting yards after contact improved despite opponents’ running attack still having a ton of success against them. That’s the result of assignments being blown or not being in position, but the defense forced many more punts against teams like TCU, Kansas, and West Virginia than they ever did during most of the year.

It helped that the offenses Iowa State faced were lackluster compared to the front of the Big 12 schedule, but with the improvement in fundamentals and the ability to complete a 60-minute game with the offense staying on the field longer, it’s hard to argue that the blowouts against Kansas State and Oklahoma would have been the same if they played again.