The Health Report
Iowa State's defense took a big hit in the middle Saturday when explosive defensive tackle Demond Tucker exited midway through the second quarter with what was eventually determined to be a sprained ankle.
Through just six quarters this season, Tucker has proven to be the playmaker Iowa State saw in the recruiting process, and it appears the Cyclones won't be without his services for long. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said Monday the team is confident Tucker's absence will end at two-plus quarters when the team travels to Toledo this weekend.
"Demond, we fully believe, will play [Saturday]," Rhoads said. "He’s made great progress in the first 48 hours."
Two other players won't be as forunate. Iowa State doesn't expect either cornerback Sam E. Richardson or defensive end Gabe Luna to play Saturday after both missed the CyHawk game with injuries. Both are expected to return by Oct. 3 after the team's bye week.
Run Game Search Continues
The running game talking point has become a broken record and has now reached three consecutive seasons, but it nonetheless is continuing into 2015 as Iowa State searches yet again for any evidence of a running game.
The stats tell the story: Through two games, Iowa State has rushed for 140 yards, averaging 2.4 yards per carry. The offense's disappearing act in the second half Saturday was due in large part because of the running game, which tallied five yards on 11 carries.
"The second half, Iowa was able to line up and press our receivers and defend the pass very successfully and when teams know that you’re in that situation [without a running game], they’re going to be able to defend you better," Rhoads said. "We’ve got a very talented quarterback and we’ve got very skilled receivers, but if you don’t have something to complement that, it begins to be a more challenging situation for them as well."
So Iowa State enters another week still searching.
More True Freshmen? Not Quite Yet
Iowa State's latest depth chart lists true freshman Bobby McMillen as the No. 3 weakside linebacker while true freshman Mike Johnson is apparently No. 3 at safety.
So, could more true freshmen join Joshua Thomas and Carson Epps on the field? Paul Rhoads hopes not.
"Both [guys] right now are in the depth chart, two or three guys," Rhoads said, "but they’re guys that we’d like to hold on to their redshirt if at all possible."