Optimism rising for “no name” defense


Back in 1972, defensive coordinator Wally Burnham was just starting his coaching career.

That was the same year the Miami Dolphins registered an undefeated season on the way to winning Super Bowl VII. The headliners on that team were Griese, Morris, Warfield and Csonka. Miami also had an under-publicized defense – nicknamed the “No Name” Defense – that produced consistently without fanfare.

Burnham looks at his 2015 Cyclone defense and, perhaps, sees some similarities.

“We do not have a superstar on defense,” Burnham said after the team’s final scrimmage Saturday. “We have 18-19 kids we feel real good about.”

Injuries and other issues wiped out the defense’s front seven a year ago. The Cyclones of last season had a “no name” defense by year’s end but it was because of attrition.

Paul Rhoads and his staff hit the recruiting trail in the off-season to find some junior college defenders ready to make an impact. You likely don’t know their names yet, but Tucker, Jones, Thomas and several others will have prominent roles this fall.

“Here is what I’m excited about,” Burnham said. “They love to play. It’s got to be a team thing (on defense) and that’s what they have bought into.”

The chance for these defenders—largely unknown to fans right now—to make name for themselves is just around the corner with the season opener just 13 days away.


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