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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

Defense Has Advantage in Saturday Scrimmage

Release: 04/02/2011
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AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State’s first spring six football practices before Saturday have been back-and-forth affairs. Some days, including Friday, the offense has had the edge. Saturday was it the defense’s turn on a beautiful day in Jack Trice Stadium.

“Things in the spring are often cyclical,” Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads said. “It was the first day outside. Today the offense had a down day and the defense had an up day. We’re not satisfied with the way things went today but I appreciated the way that the defense flew around today.”

The defense features veteran players at many positions would Rhoads says aids their progress.

“When you are in a live situation of actual scrimmage and not in a scripted type of drill, experience is a factor,” Rhoads said. “Our new guys have to dive into the playbook and watch a lot of film in order to slow the game down. Today, we had trouble on the center snap, which slowed us a down for a while. I expect both offense and defense to pick it up and have good performances on both sides of the ball Tuesday.”

Defensive coordinator Wally Burham said the defense demonstrated improvement.

“I think we took a step forward,” Burnham said. “You start coming together after several practices. The kids enjoy a scrimmage practice and I think that brings something out in them.  I will look at the tape and see just how big a step we took today.  We need to build on that next week."

Burnham is encouraged by his younger linebackers, working behind Jake Knott and A.J. Klein.

“I think we have some ability there,” Burnham said. “For several of them it is their first spring practice and it will be a gradual process.”

The safety position, where the Cyclones must replace David Sims and Mike O’Connell, is a work in progress.

“That position is probably the position where we are the most behind,” Burnham said. “We have a general idea where we are going there but we are going to continue to milk the situation and bring everybody along.”

Offensive coordinator Tom Herman was asked how the offense has performed through Saturday’s scrimmage.

“If you had asked me yesterday I would have said that we were coming off our two best back-to-back practices in the three years we have been here,” Herman said. “Today the defense played light years harder than the offense. We need to find some leaders who are not going to allow that to happen. We were playing at an up tempo through six practices but we did not do that today.”

Herman says little was held back Saturday.

“I think you do your kids a disservice if you are just calling plays to call plays,” Herman.  We call what we do to be successful.  On Saturday’s we are going to open up the offense to playing winning football.”

Iowa State will practice again Tuesday.

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