Douglas Saw it Coming
AMES, Iowa - With former Iowa State strong safety Ter'Ran Benton gone and former corner Leonard Johnson playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, the Iowa State secondary was a big question mark at the start of the 2012 season. Three games into the campaign, the Cyclones are 3-0 and ranked eighth nationally for pass efficiency defense. The new lineup in the Cyclone defense has become a source of strength.
"We want to be the best secondary in the nation," Iowa State's new starting corner back, Jansen Watson, explained. "If all of us have one goal, it puts us in the position to accomplish that."
Joining Watson as a first year starter, Durrell Givens has proven he is a big time play-maker at strong safety. Accompanying Watson and Givens, Iowa State returns Jacques Washington at free safety and Jeremy Reeves at corner back to create a powerful quartet that is exceeding expectations.
Iowa State's Troy Douglas takes the reins in his first year as the secondary coach.
"I think I brought them a little bit of moxy," Douglas said.
When asked about his own preseason expectations for the new backfield, Douglas said he thought they had a chance to be great.
"We were able to workout a lot of the younger guys and see what we had. A couple guys really surprised me in the spring, especially Givens," Douglas said.
Well on their way to surpass last season's numbers, after three games, the Cyclone secondary has four interceptions, 20 pass break ups, and held both Tulsa and Iowa under 50 percent through the air.
Third year Iowa State free safety, Jacques Washington, believes in the unit's potential.
"We are trying to prove a point," Washington said, "We want to show that we can be the best in the nation. I think we are all hungry back there. One of us will make a play and then the other one will want to make a play even more."
Both Washington and Watson agreed that a large contributor to the secondary's success has been the play at linebacker of Jake Knott, A.J. Klein, Jeremiah George and Deon Broomfield.
"They can defend the run and the pass, so that definitely makes our lives easier and it is a huge reason we are eighth in the nation in pass efficiency defense," Washington said.
Klein and Knott are the face of the Cyclone defense and have both played major roles in the first two victories.
"A.J. and Jake are two good guys to play with, two veterans," Watson said. "I just feel like God blessed me with a lot of great teammates."
The next test of Iowa State's defense will be a severe one. Texas Tech boasts quarterback Seth Doege who has led a Red Raider offense ranked sixth nationally at 597.67 yards per game. The two teams will tangle Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. CDT in Jack Trice Stadium. The game will be televised by Fox College Sports.