Notable Additions: Tim Dobbins, LB, 6-1, 245, Copiah-Lincoln (MS) C.C.; Jerry Gair, S, 6-0, 200, West Hills (Calif.) College; Josh Hargis, CB, 6-2, 170, Palomar (Calif.) College; Terrance Highsmith, WR, 6-1, 175, Fort Scott (KS) C.C.; Webster Patrick, RB, 5-8, 200, Spring (TX) Westfield HS; Jason Scales, RB, 5-9, 200, West Des Moines (IA) Valley HS; Tyease Thompson, RB, 5-10, 180, Lakeland (FL) George Jenkins HS.
Notable Subtractions: K Adam Benike, S JaMaine Billups, DT Jordan Carstens, WR Lane Danielsen, OL Bob Montgomery, OL Casey Shelton.
Notable Returnees: SLB Erik Anderson, OL Aaron Brant, DT Brent Curvey, QB Austin Flynn, NG Nick Leaders, WLB Tyson Smith, OL Luke Vander Sanden, TE James Wright III, OL Seth Zehr.
|2004 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE|
Defensive Overview: Coordinator John Skladany will continue to employ a 4-3 attacking defense, which relies heavily on speed, athleticism, and playmaking linebackers. The Cyclones have liked to blitz in past seasons and drop back into zone defenses. Fans have criticized ISU for being too much of a ‘bend but don't break' defense, but that approach has been to mask weaknesses. Although this unit lost veterans like Jordan Carstens, JaMaine Billups and Marc Timmons, it could actually be even stronger this fall. Skladany is steadily upgrading his defensive speed through recent recruiting classes, and will have Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year Jason Berryman back at rush end. Plus, McCarney has said his defensive line could be the best since 2000 when the Cyclones won nine games. Brandon Brown has been a steady linebacker for Skladany since contributing as a true freshman, but now the coach hopes improved depth at linebacker will keep him healthy throughout an entire season. The return of Tyson Smith from a broken leg will bolster the Cyclone defense. The fifth-year senior has been moved from defensive end to linebacker. In the back end, coaches enter fall camp with some uncertainty. Although JUCO transfers Josh Hargis, Jerry Gair and LaMarcus Hicks come to Ames with impressive credentials, they also have yet to play Big 12 football and will be needed to step into the fray immediately. ISU will be successful on defense if it can… Do two things: Get all of its questions answered in the secondary, and, unlike last fall when impact players dropped like flies, remain healthy all season.
Special Teams Overview: Senior Tony Yelk will attempt to handle the duties of punter, place-kicker, and kickoff man this season. He originally signed with the Cyclones as a kicker, but has found most of his success punting the ball in Ames. But the loss of kicker Adam Benike has given Yelk one more chance at kicking. ISU must upgrade its overall special teams play this fall. A pool of redshirt freshmen and first-year running backs should bolster ISU's punt and kick return game. Coaches Terry Allen and DeMontie Cross are now co-special teams coordinators, and the two have already made some adjustments in how the Cyclones coach the unit.
The Cyclones will return to their winning ways if... the offensive line can make huge strides under Cotton, which will pave the way for Hicks to rush for 1,000 yards; ISU can settle on either Meyer or Flynn as its quarterback for the entire season; and three JUCO newcomers to the secondary pan out and play big roles in what will be an inexperienced secondary.
|TheInsiders.com 2005 College Football Preview|
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