It’s naive to say that sacking the opponent’s quarterback a lot is the most important indicator for season win totals, but there appears to be a correlation for Iowa State football.
In the last decade, the Cyclones have won half of their Big 12 games twice. Not surprisingly, ISU ranked sixth (2004) and seventh (2005) among league schools in QB sacks those years.
In the other eight seasons (2006-12), Iowa State has placed eighth or lower in sacks by. None of those teams had a .500 record in conference play.
That probably explains some of the excitement that the coaches shared after the team’s final scrimmage last week. The defense got pressure.
“I don’t know who all was in there on the front, but we continued to make tackles for loss,” coordinator Wally Burnham told the Ames Tribune.
When asked who impressed, Rhoads blurted out, “David Irving, without a doubt.”
Irving just moved from end to tackle recently and Rhoads cited his team’s depth at end as the reason for Irving’s move.
“Rodney Coe showed up more (too),” Rhoads said of his JC transfer. “He’s still learning the position, but he was in the backfield. Coe and Irving give us a nice 1-2 punch there.”
Rhoads knows what he’ll get from his current listed starters (Brandon Jensen and Walter Woods).
“The wildcards are (Delvin) Cousins and (Pierre) Aka and how much we get out of them as redshirt freshmen,” Rhoads said.
Rhoads’ first two ISU teams finished 12th in the league in sacks but his defense has improved the last two seasons.
History indicates that a little more improvement will show up positively in the league standings and he is getting good signs regarding that potential this fall.