Iowa State’s improvement on defense during the Paul Rhoads era has been a process.“(Building) a defense takes time,” Rhoads said. “Defense has to be built, stably built.” That’s not so on offense. Sometimes there can be a quick fix with special talent. “You can be a flash-in-the-pan offensively with a couple of guys,” Rhoads said. Iowa State surrendered 41.8 points per Big 12 game the year before Rhoads was named coach. That average ranked 10th (of 12) in the league. The Cyclones’ defensive rank in the conference has moved from sixth to seventh to fifth to fourth (currently). Iowa State is allowing 25.2 ppg in the strongest offensive conference in America. Five years ago, that average was more than two touchdowns plus two two-point PATs higher. “Our success is a by-product of having guys in the system, who have been taught well by our coaches and (then) playing at a high level,” Rhoads said. Rhoads has all juniors and seniors on his starting defense. “That’s why when you look out on the field and see 11 juniors and seniors you can say ‘I can see what they’ve accomplished’”, Rhoads said. “I just want to keep playing that way.” It’s been a continual process on defense and that is just standard for that side of the ball.
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