Forcing TO's should be a strength of the secondary

"Our defensive backs lose a great leader, player and student but the team can survive the loss of one person."


This was stated from secondary coach Chris Ash who I was able to pull aside and ask a few questions on ISU Media Day.


He was confident that this years core of players are the mainstay of a program and not just one outstanding players departure will bring them down a notch.


Turnovers were a key to last year's success and the secondary made the biggest impact for Iowa State to rebound from the dreadful 2003 season. Iowa State was second in the nation in non-offensive scoring touchdowns and they still failed to convert on Steve Paris's interception vs. Missouri and Ellis Hobbs' pick against Miami of Ohio in the Independence Bowl victory.


They scored four times on interceptions returned for touchdowns and it was many of Coach Ash's secondary players that got blocked kicks and recovered them for touchdowns.


Ash said that they still have room for improvement in the instant scoring plays. With returning players like LaMarcus Hicks, Nik Moser, Steve Paris and DeAndre Jackson, there should be many more touchdowns and interceptions in this years team.


Ash said that Moser has grown up a lot since he's been with the program and found himself while taking on the strong safety position. One player that I was interested in was Caleb Berg who Ash said has made tremendous strides and will be a much needed backup to Moser at the strong safety position as well as special teams.


Ash also was very excited about the addition of Jon Banks, a sophomore from Iowa Central Community College, who was able to work hard in the classroom this summer to get what he needed to transfer to Iowa State.


He should help out immediately with this team. He is 6-foot, 200 pounds, but he appears much stronger and thicker than that. From what was told to me, he can hit.


Another incoming DB was Reggie Rock, who is 5-foot-11, 190 pounds from Minneapolis. Coach Mac stated in the press conference that not only is he working at corner but he is an athlete and may see time on special teams.


Ash didn't want to comment much about the rest of the incoming freshman and newcomers until he was able to see what they were like in practice. He was overall excited and confident that they will have a strong group to continue to make strides for the ISU program and develop into becoming a force to be respected.

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