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Summer Preview: Iowa State

Team: Iowa State Cyclones

Conference: Big 12 - North Division

Location: Ames, Iowa

2006 Record: 1-7 (4-8)

Coach: Gene Chizik

2007 Schedule:

Date Opponent
8.30 Kent State
9.8 Northern Iowa
9.15 Iowa
9.22 @ Toledo
9.29 @ Nebraska
10.6 @ Texas Tech
10.13 Texas
10.20 Oklahoma
10.27 @ Missouri
11.3 Kansas State
11.10 Colorado
11.17 @ Kansas

In no particular order, 5 players of interest from Iowa State:

  1. Bret Meyer, QB, Sr.: Much of the success of ISU will depend on the play of Meyer. The biggest problem for the Iowa State quarterback is making plays as he only had 12 passing touchdowns last year, although he did have 6 rushing scores. It's the 12 interceptions that a killer. Meyer's biggest target is Todd Blythe who has shown the ability to be a difference maker (the year before last), the problem of course is that there's little else returning from the receiving corps. With Chizik ushering in a new system and with Chizik's familiarity with Vince Young, I wonder if Chizik will try to open up the offense a little to allow Meyer to create a little more on the offensive end. Meyer would have to improve on his 177 yards rushing, but there isn't any question he has the skills to be an effective runner. Without a doubt, Meyer has got to be good in order for ISU to have any sort of success, especially with little to no running game and an offensive line that struggled last year.
  2. Alvin Bowen, LB, Sr.: The guy can flat out play. As Meyer is to the offense, Bowen is to the Cyclone defense. The problem of course is that there's little talent surrounding Bowen to help. A ridiculous 155 tackles last year, I would love to see Bowen be a little more aggressive (only 1 sack) and create a little more havoc. The Cyclones seem like they have little to lose, especially considering only one player on the defensive line returns and the secondary returns only 2 starters. Bowen will be asked to do a ton for the Cyclones and Chizik might be best served by getting Bowen in a position to make plays all over the field.
  3. Todd Blythe, WR, Sr.: Blythe was good last year, but not great. He had a much better sophomore season: 51 receptions for 1,000 yards and 9 TD's versus 34 receptions for 484 yards and 8 TD's. Meye did spread the ball around last year as departing WR's Austin Flynn and Jon Davis each had 41 and 36 receptions respectively, but Blythe needs to be the playmaker for the Cyclones. Blythe's biggest advantage is his 6'5" height which is a huge mismatch for most corners in the league and it is obvious that he's effective in and around the endzone, but his problem is that he needs to be a difference maker on the field. Last year against Texas Tech Blythe only had 23 receiving yards and was completely shut out against UNLV.
  4. J.J. Bass, RB, Jr.: Iowa State was woeful running the ball last year, but the Cyclones hope that Bass will be a savior of sorts. Bass rushed for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns for El Camino Junior College. For comparison purposes, Stevie Hicks led the team in rushing with 523 yards and Ryan Kock had 332. Bass has an opportunity to improve the overall rushing attack, especially if Chizik lets Meyer open up the offense by taking what opposing defenses give him. I think it's safe to say that Iowa State, with or without Bass, has to establish some semblance of a running attack and my guess is that Bass should be the man to step up to the job.
  5. Jon Banks, LB, Sr.: Along with Bowen, Banks is a pretty good linebacker for the Cyclones. Banks had 99 tackles last year (does anyone else find it amazing that linebackers on other teams actually make tackles?) and to go with Bowen, was an effective linebacking duo. This is the strength of the Cyclone defense and with Chizik being a defensive coordinator at heart, it would not surprise me to see Chizik try to get Banks and Bowen make more and more plays.

In no particular order, key Iowa State Cyclones statistics:

  1. 216.08: Not bad, ISU ranked 44th in the nation in passing offense last year, but . . .
  2. 18.83: The Cyclones ranked 92nd in the nation in scoring offense.
  3. 153.75: ISU ranked 89th in the nation in rushing defense and they lost their front 4 defenders. This could be trouble.
  4. 226.92: Meyer was 32nd in the nation in total offense, he should improve that number this year.
  5. 156.51: 115th out of 119 Division I schools in passing efficiency defense, Harrell should have a banner day.

Previous Summer Previews:

Date Opponent
9.3 @ SMU Mustangs
9.8 UTEP Miners
9.15 @ Rice Owls
9.22 @ Oklahoma State Cowboys
9.29 Northwestern State Demons
10.6 Iowa State Cyclones
10.13 Texas A&M Aggies
10.20 @ Missouri Tigers
10.27 Colorado Buffaloes
11.3 @ Baylor Bears
11.10 @ Texas Longhorns
11.17 Oklahoma Sooners