It all starts up front in the trenches

Hicks_hayworth-niu10

So many times when comparing football teams, the talk is about speed, size and execution. The intangible is physical play.

Coaches love to preach about playing physical. Paul Rhoads addressed that aspect of the game several times in discussing this week’s match-up with Iowa.

“We’ve gotten manhandled at the line of scrimmage the last two years and if we’re going to change the outcome that is where it’s going to start,” Rhoads said.

After the opener vs. UNI, many experts criticized a sub-par performance by the ISU line. But, Rhoads is hopeful his blockers perform more adequately against Iowa and he’s counting on the return of Hayworth Hicks as part of the solution.

“Having Hayworth back is important to our team,” Rhoads said of his senior, who missed the opener. “He’s a great leader. With Hayworth back and Kelechi Osemele (he hurt his ankle vs. UNI) moving forward, we’ll play better on the offensive line.”

Iowa’s stout defensive line will provide a great challenge in week two. So, measuring progress from the opener will be easy.

“It’s a game we’ve been whipped in the last two years,” Rhoads said. “No one likes to get whipped and we look forward to playing better.”

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

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