Iowa State will wrap up spring practice on Saturday. The Cyclones have had three straight losing seasons, going 6-7 the past two years after losing bowl games. ISU will have to answer a lot of questions to have a winning season.
On defense, all-conference linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein have graduated and are likely NFL draft picks. Senior linebacker Jeremiah George will be back in the middle with juniors Jared Brackens and Jevohn Miller on each side of him. But the three backup linebackers are all freshman.
The defense ranked just 94th in the country in yards allowed last year.
"I would really like to see those guys go out and play fundamental football," said ISU head coach Paul Rhoads. "Tackle singly and tackle more aggressively when they have a partner there and not lose containment and things like that. I really want to see a fundamental Saturday by our defensive troops."
"Being in Jack Trice Stadium and playing in front of fans and showing your talents and showing what you can do, that's the rewarding part about it," said George.
The Iowa State offense ranked just 93rd in the country last season, averaging 364 yards per game. Sam Richardson is the likely starter after throwing 8 touchdown passes in the final three games of the season.
ISU will use more of the pistol offense, which uses a shorter shotgun snap.
"I think the pistol has just helped us with our speed and catching defenses off guard," said Richardson.
"I don't know what the comparison is on our explosive plays but they've been out there this spring and it's encouraging to see," said Rhoads.
Iowa State's spring game is Saturday at 2 o'clock at Jack Trice Stadium.
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