116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES - Iowa State football coaches know the key to offensive consistency. It is, and will likely always be, the running game.
But as Coach Paul Rhoads and his offensive staff found out against Iowa, knowing the keys to consistency doesn't diminish the challenge they are up against. And fresh off a Top 25 win, this weekend's opponent, Toledo, won't allow Iowa State any time to relax.
'I continue to talk about the running game because it's not going away and it's something you still have to do. You can't abandon it,” Rhoads said. 'We talked about it at length on Sunday about some of the things we potentially can do to get it on track and help the rest of the offense.”
Sixty-six yards of total offense in the second half against Iowa on Saturday, including five rushing yards, kept Iowa State out of the end zone and forced the Cyclones (1-1) to be one-dimensional offensively. Rhoads said the responsibility to get the running game going falls on 'all 11” offensive players, but guard Wendell Taiese hypothesized what happened Saturday.
When the Hawkeyes began pressing the ISU receivers in the second half, Taiese said each offensive lineman started trying to help the player next to them and became overextended.
'I was too worried about getting beat on a twist,” Taiese said. 'I was hanging on the tackle too long and let the d-end come under because I was trying to help out our left tackle too much. Instead of just doing my job and handling my business I allowed the sack.”
Toledo, which was named the AutoNation National Team of the Week by FWAA, allowed just 103 rushing yards in its win against then-No. 18 Arkansas in Little Rock.
The Rockets (1-0) surrendered 515 total yards to the Razorbacks and forced one turnover, but held Arkansas to just 12 points. With Toledo's four-man defensive front, Rhoads said he anticipates more changes occurring with the ISU scheme rather than the personnel.
'When people block, you need to move them wider or move them more downfield to allow a ball carrier more space to run in,” Rhoads said. 'There's a lot of different methods whether it be formations or splits or the use of your quarterback. That's what, as a coaching staff, we're challenged to find out and put in place.”
Shuffling the chart
Iowa State implemented a 3-4 defensive scheme in the off-season, and in Week 3, the most recent depth chart reflects that base defense.
The depth chart lists four linebacker spots, with regular starters Jay Jones, Jordan Harris and Levi Peters at three of them. Red-shirt freshman Willie Harvey, who started at weakside linebacker in the season opener, is listed as the fourth starter.
Backup middle linebacker Kane Seeley is now behind Harvey on the weak side while true freshman Bobby McMillen cracked the three deep. Although Rhoads intends to keep a red-shirt for McMillen intact, red-shirt freshman Sam Seonbuchner is backing up Harris and will be available against Toledo.
'It was fun to see him coming back off his knee injury in training camp and show the signs we saw recruiting him from a two-time state champion program,” Rhoads said of Seonbuchner. 'Right now he's better inside than he is outside, but he's coming along and doing a nice job in his role.”
Nose guard Demond Tucker went down with a sprained ankle against Iowa. Rhoads said he has 'made great progress in the first 48 hours” since his injury and is expected to play Saturday. Defensive end Gable Luna and cornerback Sam E. Richardson will not play Saturday due to injury, but could return against Kansas.
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