MARION - As the prep volleyball season nears the midway point, Cedar Rapids Xavier identified a vital ingredient if the Saints are to retain their No. 1 ranking in Class 4A.
Now is the time to turn up the defense.
The top-ranked Saints s ... »
AMES — Because of attrition around him, Iowa State nose guard Devlyn Cousin has faced what amounts to a triple team almost exclusively this spring.
The 6-1, 295-pound sophomore hadn’t won such a battle — until Wednesday.
“(Tom) Farniok, (Daniel) Burton and Oni (Omoile),” Cousin said, reciting the name’s of the Cyclone offensive linemen he finally pushed through. “I just picked one of them to bull rush. I just had to choose one and then the others just jumped on my back and tried to take me for a ride.”
Cousin ranks as a key to ISU’s success at the point of attack.
With senior David Irving’s future clouded by offseason shoulder surgery and senior Brandon Jensen leaving the team this winter, the Georgia native stands alone as one defensive interior lineman with experience.
Cousin played in seven games last season and saw his snaps increase as the season wound down.
Cyclone Coach Paul Rhoads lost more experienced depth early this spring when Rodney Coe was dismissed from the team.
“You’ve got two freshman in (Robby) Garcia and (Vernell) Trent. You’ve got Devlyn, who’s been a 10-12 snap guy and he’s being counted on to move up and still just in his second spring here. So it’s a group that’s behind and Devlyn is a guy that we’re going to count on. He’s going to have to be out there and we’re going to need to see the improvement take place.”
That goes for Cousin as well as Garcia, Trent, and eventually Irving and Pierre Aka, who’s been out with a concussion but could return for Saturday’s 2 p.m. spring game.
“Hopefully a full-go Saturday,” ISU defensive tackles coach Shane Burnham said. “Needs to be.”
There’s plenty to improve, too — from health to experience to execution.
“We’re not playing with great pad level, we’re not shooting our hand where we’re supposed to, we’re not taking steps off the ball, we’re not rolling our hips. We’ve just got to get better.”
Cousin is doing that, but giant leaps rarely come in the face of triple teams. Toughness flows from it, though — and that’s a quality he’s hardened this spring.
Rhoads said “there’s an opportunity” transfer safety Devron Moore could rejoin the team. He left this spring because of homesickness.
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