Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Big 12 Spring Review: Iowa State

Ten starters return on offense for Iowa State, led by record-setting quarterback Bret Meyer and All-America candidate Todd Blythe at wide receiver, which means there are no real position battles going on in Ames this spirng. The Cyclone offensive line returns four of its five starters this fall and its starting tight end. A healthy Stevie Hicks battling a healthy Jason Scales this spring should put the Cyclone running game back on track from last season’s 96th ranked attack.

Despite not having a consistent rushing game, Bret Meyer exceeded the expectations of many with the No. 2 passing season in Iowa State history. Meyer will start his 25th straight game in the season opener against Toledo on Aug. 31. Last season Meyer threw for 2,876 yards and 19 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions. Nine of those TD passes went to wide receiver Todd Blythe, who tied the school record for touchdown receptions he had set as a freshman.

Iowa State forced a conference-best 35 turnovers last season, leading the Big 12 in turnover margin and placing seventh in that category nationally. But the ultimate stat, scoring defense, at 19.2 points per game, was the best by a Cyclone defense since 1980.

The 2006 Cyclone defense isn’t as fortunate as the offense. Gone is Nick Leaders who was a first-team all-Big 12 nose guard and started all but the first game of his Iowa State career. Also gone are LaMarcus Hicks who was a part of the Cyclone secondary that made a Big 12 best 22 interceptions, and first team All-Big 12 middle linebacker Tim Dobbins.

When it comes to replacing the departed talent on the defensive side of the ball head coach Dan McCarney doesn’t seem too concerned.

“I would be really surprised if Collins Eboh is not in the mix right away. Because he played as a true freshman on a good football team and he is bigger and stronger now and we hope he has more maturity. But I would be really surprised if Collins can't come in and fight for some playing time. Beyond that, there are a lot of good, young athletes. A number of high school defensive linemen and a number of high school DBs and linebackers, so it should be a fun group to evaluate and to see what happens in August and who and how many guys might be ready to help our team out in 2006."

2006 Cyclone Football Schedule
Day Date Opponent Location
Thu 08/31/06 Toledo Ames, Iowa
Sat 09/09/06 UNLV Ames, Iowa
Sat 09/16/06 Iowa Iowa City, Iowa
Sat 09/23/06 Texas Austin, Texas
Sat 09/30/06 Northern Iowa Ames, Iowa
Sat 10/07/06 Nebraska Ames, Iowa
Sat 10/14/06 Oklahoma Norman, Okla.
Sat 10/21/06 Texas Tech Ames, Iowa
Sat 10/28/06 Kansas State Manhattan, Kan.
Sat 11/04/06 Kansas Ames, Iowa
Sat 11/11/06 Colorado Boulder, Colo.
Sat 11/18/06 Missouri Ames, Iowa