Developing its version of “five guys working as a unit” has been impossible for ISU because of injury

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“Five guys working as a unit within the football team to establish the tempo and demeanor of the game. Those who know football know the game is won or lost in the trenches.”Grey Ruegamer, New York Giants lineman

The key element of that quote about the offensive line is the opening phrase… “Five guys working as a unit.”

Beyond technique and physical play, there probably isn’t a bigger factor for offensive line success than the ability to work in concert with one another. That, of course, develops through repetition and familiarity.

Continuity breeds success and the Cyclones are desperate for some continuity. And, the challenge continues this week.

“We’re probably going to have to (play Baylor) without Jacob Gannon,” Coach Paul Rhoads said Monday of his starting tackle. “We were hoping his injury wasn’t as bad as Tom (Farniok) and Jamison (Lalk), but it appears to be that way.”

Thus, Rhoads faces another round of musical chairs along his line this week.

Through five games:

  • Iowa State has started nine different offensive linemen, most in the Big 12.
  • ISU has not had the same line starters in back-to-back weeks this season, fewest in the Big 12.
  • Only two Cyclone linemen (freshman Daniel Burton and Gannon) have started every game, fewest in the Big 12.

Here is the number of offensive linemen at each school who have started every game this fall:  Baylor and K-State (5 each); Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma (4); TCU, Kansas, Oklahoma State and West Virginia (3); and Iowa State (2 and dropping to 1 with Gannon out vs. Baylor).

The good news is that many linemen are getting experience and several of them at multiple positions. But, it sure would be a positive change to have some continuity as the Cyclones try to develop their version of “five guys working as a unit.”