Iowa State football: With the defense outmatched, fans have to be patient


EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a post from Carmon Wilson, an Iowa State women’s basketball reporter. His work has been featured at and we are excited to announce that he will be a contributor to Clones Confidential. Follow him on Twitter.

Much of Iowa State’s struggles this year have been caused by youth — specifically on the defensive side. You cannot fully blame the defense for both losses this season, especially since the offense has scored just as many times in the second half as McLovin. But defense wins championships. Wally Burnham’s “bend but don’t break” style of play is a great scheme, but that style is bound to snap and break more often than not as the players get used to their role on the field.

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According to the latest depth chart released this week, the Cyclones have 12 underclassmen expected to play in the two deeps. If you add JUCO transfer Trent Taylor, who just enrolled this summer, the defensive line alone has anywhere between 5-6 new faces this year playing key minutes. Of those Cyclones in the two-deep, the average weight between them is only 271 pounds.

This weekend’s opponent, the Iowa Hawkeyes, average 289 pounds on the offensive line. Even without All-American LT Brandon Scherff who is doubtful due to injury, the Hawks average 286 pounds per player. That means the inexperienced Cyclones are giving up 15 pounds per player.

Last season, the Hawks ran for over 218 yards on 60 attempts and controlled the time of possession by more than 17 minutes (38:03 to 21:57), including two scoring drives of over seven minutes apiece. Iowa State only had the ball three times in the second quarter which ended in a punt, on downs, and an interception. All totalling 3:32 of game clock.

The Cyclones return four starters on defense from that game (Brandon Jensen, Cory Morrissey, Jake Knott & Sam E. Richardson). The good news is that the defense had improved immensely from the first week to the second week. Let’s hope they can continue to improve from week three and throughout the season.

This year may be rough, it might be a growing experience, but it might just prove to be the building blocks for a very promising future.