Wally Burnham has dialed up more pressure this season than he has in the past, but the results haven't been indicative of that, with the Cyclones last in the conference in sacks. They got two last week against Kansas State, though, with well-timed and disguised blitzes.
The first of two sacks was the result of the Cyclones bringing seven pass-rushers to Kansas State's six in protection. Pretty simple. The Cyclones clog the interior of the line, Jeremiah George occupies the right tackle and Willie Scott takes the fullback Glenn Gronkowski, and Jacques Washington has a straight shot at Jake Waters.
In the second, it was straight-up six-v-six, with George's craftiness making the play work. I have him circled in red throughout this play art. At the line of scrimmage, the Wildcats are tipped off to the blitz, and they get everything protected correctly, assuming the left tackle, No. 78, is going to handle George, who appears to be coming right off the edge and through the C gap.
Nope. George ducks inside and finds a hole in the A gap. The bottom play-art actually comes in the middle of the sequence, but I put it at the bottom just because of its birds-eye view. You can see No. 78 lunge at George, who simply buzzes parallel the yard marker and rips back up the field. Jevohn Miller does a nice job occupying John Hubert there.
The blitz is the ultimate risk-reward play in football, as it puts Iowa State's coverage guys on an island. Each of them was beat against the Wildcats.
The guess here is the Cyclones will bring more pressure against TCU and quarterback Casey Pachall, whose completion percentage is 57.4 after two seasons of being in the mid- to high-60s. The Horned Frogs have also given up the second-most sacks in the conference, behind Iowa State.
"He was running a little before he got his arm broken — he doesn't run it now," Iowa State coordinator Wally Burnham said of Pachall's mobility. "If he scrambles he's [doing it] to throw the ball, where the [Trevone Boykin] will scramble to run. It makes for a different game, there's no doubt."
Said defensive tackle David Irving, whose front four could use the help: "You gotta get the quarterback off his spot, hopefully have him making some bad decisions."
I snapped a shot of TCU's blitz pickup against West Virginia, which was excellent:
I also took one that, like the above, shows what kind of damage Pachall can do with time, buoyed by a good play-fake. Heading into the season, before his injury and before Baylor's Bryce Petty skyrocketed, Pachall was considered the best quarterback in the Big 12.
The Cyclones would be wise to keep the pressure on, and to attack from angles that can undo even sound pass protection, as we saw with Jeremiah George's plunge.