Rhoads wants pressure on the (opposing team’s) QB

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Most of the preseason football chatter at Iowa State has revolved around the quarterback position. That’s fair. Everyone likes to project how the offense will perform.

Coaches like to preach, however, that defense wins games. Coach Paul Rhoads is a former defensive coordinator and he enters his third season knowing the Cyclones need to get more of a pass rush to improve as a defense.

“We hope to pressure more and we’d like to start with a four-man rush,” Rhoads said at media day. “We have not done that (gotten a pass rush with four men) the past two years.”

Iowa State has ranked last in the Big 12 (conference games only) with six sacks in both 2009 and 2010. Four players (Brandon Sharpe, Texas Tech; Aldon Smith, MU; Von Miller, A&M; and Jared Crick, NU) had more sacks than ISU in 2009 and Miller repeated that feat last season.

But, Rhoads, warned, you bring pressure cautiously.

“You make a decision (to rush) based upon the ability to hold up in man coverage,” Rhoads said. “I think we have a couple of corners that can do that. We’ve got to figure out if our safeties can as well.”

So, although most of the talk has been about the QB competition this year it’s likely that Rhoads has also been watching the safeties a lot, too. He wants to rush the passer and that option is dependent on the play in the deep secondary.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

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