Tackling issues prevalent at pro level, too, but Rhoads is determined to shore it up at ISU.


Paul Rhoads was talking football – specifically tackling – with former Cyclone and NFL defensive coordinator Larry Coyer on Saturday.

  “I told him (Coyer) that I can’t stomach poor run defense and atrocious tackling,” Rhoads said. “(Coyer’s) simple reply was ‘don’t coach pro football.”

 Apparently, poor tackling technique bothered Coyer while he was working at the pro level.

 Slowing the run game has been problematic for the Cyclones in its last three games. Not coincidentally, ISU’s best run defense came in its top two performances (Tulsa and Texas).

 “We’re not doing the right things to be a good tackling team the last couple of games,” Rhoads said.  “You’ve got to make it a priority as a player. It’s hitting the gap instead of lingering and seeing if the ball cuts back. It’s taking care of your responsibility.”

 K-State will bring a strong ground game on Saturday. The Wildcats’ two-quarterback offense includes the league’s top running QB. That will be a different challenge for the Cyclones. To combat that approach, Rhoads is looking for strong fundamentals.

 “I can’t stand poor fundamentals related to anything defensively and tackling is right at the top,” Rhoads said.

 From what Coyer suggested, tackling is suffering at the highest levels of football these days, too. It is a malady that the Cyclones are working to correct every single day on the practice field.