116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — First-year Iowa State safeties coach Deon Broomfield hasn’t been coaching long, but he’s had stops at almost every level.
Broomfield graduated from Iowa State in 2013 after a successful playing career. He had an internship with the Iowa Central Community College football team before he went to the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent. After a year on the Bills’ practice squad, Broomfield got into coaching full time.
He started at Division III Carthage in Wisconsin, then he made two stops within the Missouri Valley Football Conference — the first at Western Illinois and the second at Indiana State before becoming a Houston Texans defensive assistant.
After a year in Houston, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell hired Broomfield to replace D.K. McDonald, who took a job with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I definitely kept track of how things were going in the program,” Broomfield said. “Any time you’re a former player, the program means a lot to you. Coach Campbell has always had open arms for any former players, so I’ve been able to be around, sit in meetings and hear some of his messages. I knew what was taking place here in Ames.
“Being in this profession, you always want to come back to your alma mater, but it really became enticing when I could see first hand what was going on and hearing the messages and feeling the culture that was taking place here. It was a goal of mine to get back here, especially with Coach Campbell at the helm.”
If there’s one thing Broomfield has learned during his stops at all levels from junior college and Division III all the way through the NFL, it’s that the fundamentals stay the same.
“Each level has its unique challenges,” Broomfield said. “From a coaching perspective, what doesn’t change are the fundamentals and the techniques. You still have to be able to tackle, cover and have eye discipline. The caliber of athlete is different but those fundamentals will never change when you’re coaching football.
“From the Division III level to the NFL, you better be able to tackle, get off blocks, you better understand angles and you better create turnovers. If you can do those things, you’ll be a great defense.”
Broomfield walked into Iowa State’s safeties room with a player who has embraced those fundamentals throughout his career in Greg Eisworth.
Eisworth is a three-time All-Big 12 selection and elected to come back for one more season thanks to the blanket waiver that came about because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Greg brings a maturity and leadership presence to the room, and he understands that,” Broomfield said. “That was part of the reason he came back, so he could help the younger players. He sets the standard for everyone in the room and I don’t shy away from holding him to a high standard and letting everyone else know that you should be looking at the way Greg goes through his drill work, the way he communicates and the way he does the things that take no talent.”
The Cyclones had three freshman safeties step into important roles last season in Isheem Young, Mason Chambers and Virdel Edwards, with Young being in the most prominent.
Last season, Young showed why he was a four-star recruit, as he was named the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He recorded 50 tackles and forced three fumbles in his freshman campaign. Broomfield is excited to help Young hone his craft using Eisworth as the example.
“He’s a very talented player,” Broomfield said of Young. “In terms of raw athleticism, some of the things he does are very impressive. He’s a physical player. What I’ve challenged him to do is take on a stronger leadership role. You want your better players to be your stronger leaders, so I want him to take on that role.
“For his game, I want him to get really good at the things that take no talent because he is really talented. I want him to develop in terms of communication, alignment, angles to the ball — things that anybody can do. That’s where I think he can make his biggest jump as a player.”
Essentially, Broomfield wants Young to develop into an Eisworth-type player, who was also a four-star recruit.
“As a coach, I have to make sure the younger guys in the room understand that (Eisworth) is the standard and we want to keep building his standard so everyone can see that even though he’s as good as he is, he knows there are things he can still improve on, as well.
“He brings a leadership maturity in how he goes about his work. He embraces being the standard-bearer. When you’re an older guy — I thought he’s been here since 2015, he’s an old guy — but when you reach that level he’s at, he’s vocal about it and demands it from the younger guys.”