The Iowa State Cyclones have dropped games to Iowa and Texas this season, but they’re still a dangerous team with talent on both sides of the ball. Levi Stevenson of Wide Right & Natty Lite answered a few questions about ISU before they take on the Oklahoma Sooners this Saturday.
1. Jacob Park is a talented quarterback, but Texas caused him to make some costly mistakes (3 INT) by applying pressure. Is there any kind of pattern there? Has he handled things that way in similar situations in the past?
Jacob Park actually has had really good pocket presence since day one as a starter. However, Texas' defensive line was often getting in the backfield so quickly that he was running for his life before his receivers made their primary breaks. That said, the offensive playcalling didn't do him any favors. OC Tom Manning is ordinarily very good at making adjustments throughout a game, but failed to do so last week. Given the pressure Texas was able to apply, I would have liked to see more screens and short routes to counter the blitz.
2. Iowa State has a pair of backs in David Montgomery and Mike Warren. What makes these two players so special? What are their strengths?
A good play-style comparison for David Montgomery is Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's patient, quick, and elusive. However, if you try to tackle him one-on-one, expect to take a shoulder pad to the facemask and probably end up on your butt, with Montgomery still trucking downfield.
Here's the elusiveness:
Let's kick this NFL Sunday off right... by going back to 12pm yesterday and watching David Montgomery lay waste to Iowa's D. (Thread) pic.twitter.com/W1G0zYS9gs— Ben Stockwell (@PFF_Ben) September 10, 2017
Here's the power:
Another multi-MT reception for Montgomery here, just refused to go down all game. pic.twitter.com/0rjuPQXhMJ— Ben Stockwell (@PFF_Ben) September 10, 2017
An option pitch in space turns into Montgomery slicing between two tacklers twice over for a 1st down. pic.twitter.com/yha9WB7lJ1— Ben Stockwell (@PFF_Ben) September 10, 2017
Iowa State might not have finished for the win but Montgomery certainly finished this TD run. Rides a facemask and drives over an LB. pic.twitter.com/kbdUQL2lQ7— Ben Stockwell (@PFF_Ben) September 10, 2017
Take a guess at who the poor soul is that got run over at the goal line in the third clip. That would be 1st Team All-American linebacker Josey Jewell.
Don't get in David Montgomery's way.
Mike Warren is a one-cut type back that thrives in a zone run scheme. In his freshman season under Paul Rhoads, the offensive run scheme was tailored to his running style, allowing him to be a freshman all-american. Since Matt Campbell took over and David Montgomery burst onto the scene, the offense has been primarily tailored to Montgomery's style, which doesn't allow for when Montgomery needs a spell (or heaven forbid he get hurt).
3. On the offensive side of the ball, Allen Lazard has been one of the best receivers in the Big 12 for a few years. Who are Jacob Park's other primary targets?
Hakeem Butler has actually been arguably the best Cyclone receiver this season, consistently getting behind the defense on seam routes. He's 6'6" and runs somewhere between a 4.4-4.5 40 yard dash. That's tough to guard. Senior Marchie Murdock has been a very good Golden Tate impersonator this season, and Trever Ryen and Deshaunte Jones are dangerous in the slot (though have both been fairly underutilized this season).
4. With the exception of some late lapses against Iowa, the Cyclone defense has been pretty solid. Who are some guys on that side of the ball that OU fans should be aware of?
Ray Lima and Vernell Trent have led the resurgence of the defensive line, giving the Cyclones their best group in the trenches in the last decade. They have been able to consistently get push into the backfield on passing schemes, and completely shut down the inside run, forcing teams to run outside at the Cyclone corners, which are all good open field tacklers.
The other to watch out for is Joel Lanning. The progress he's made on his transformation from QB to linebacker has been nothing short of remarkable. In just 4 games, he's gone from being okay against UNI with some flashes of promise, to racking up 20 tackles, including 8 solo, against Texas. He's managed an extremely reliable tackler in the open field, and is seemingly getting better in coverage with each snap of the ball. If his progression continues at the same pace, Lanning could very well play his way into draft pick consideration by the end of the season. Given that he hadn't played the position since junior high, that would be an absolutely incredible feat.
5. What's the early-ish verdict on Matt Campbell? How's the outlook for the future of Iowa State football?
The early verdict is good. He's easily the best recruiter we've ever had, which has been the biggest challenge Iowa State football consistently faces. He's got a staff around him that is one of the tightest knit coaching staffs I've ever seen, and they treat everyone like family. It's impossible to deny the progress the program has made in his sort time here. As an overall history, Cyclone fans generally get to see about 5 competitive games per year from the football team. It's the sad truth. Even though the win totals don't show it, the Cyclones have been extremely competitive in nearly every game Campbell has coached. Even in last week's debacle, the game was still winnable deep into the 4th quarter. That's notable growth given the talent gap between Iowa State and Texas, and just how bad our offense was playing.
Given all that, the future looks brighter than it's been in a long time.
6. Will we ever see the Cyclone bird on the helmet again? I really miss that...
I really hope so. Last week's debut of the "Bugle" logo was pretty divisive, but most fans would like to see a modern redesign of another fantastic logo the school has used in the past. Kagavi recently wrote a really good piece about the new logo and the redesigned one.
7. Better NFL backup -- Seneca Wallace or Sage Rosenfels? Also, which one would win in a fight?
I'm going to give the nod to Seneca. The two had almost identical passer ratings (around 80), but the run threat Seneca brought with his legs made him a legitimate spark off the bench. Seneca started eight games for Seattle in 2008 and had a pretty good season with an 11-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
In a fight, I'm still taking Seneca. Too quick for Sage, and actually had a sneaky-strong arm (which I'm going to say with absolutely no scientific reasoning would result in a good right hook).
8. Will Iowa State win the Big 12 Basketball Tournament again, or will Trae Young and the Sooners prevail? (Other option: Kansas)
If Iowa State won the Big 12 tournament again this year, that would represent some very serious growth from a talented, but very young team. I really hate Kansas and West Virginia, so I'm going to predict TCU to win the tournament.
9. Who is the greatest Iowan of all time?
Buffalo Bill Cody
President Herbert Hoover
Winner: JOHN F***ING WAYNE
John Wayne (Marion Morrison) is both a legendary person and actor. As the lead actor in over 170 films in his career, most notably in Westerns, The Duke made a name for himself as the most badass human being to ever grace a movie screen. John was also awarded both the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Adding to his legendary aura, his tombstone in California reads "Feo, Fuerte y Formal", a Spanish epitaph meaning "ugly, strong, and dignified," and survived multiple assassination attempts ordered by Soviet Russia leader Joseph Stalin.
"Yakima told me that the FBI had discovered there were agents sent to Hollywood to kill John Wayne,' said Mr Munn. 'He said the FBI had come to tell John about the plot. John told the FBI to to let the men show up and he would deal with them.”
This was no contest.
10. What's your prediction for this Saturday? Will Iowa State keep it close? Will they cover?
Cover? Yes. Win? No.