This year's spring practice starts with many questions on the defensive line. With many positions open, and 15+ practices, men can earn their spot on the defensive line. The most notable positions in question are the nose guard position and the defensive end and rush end positions.
Nick Leaders was an absolute animal at the nose position in 2005. The defense definitely takes a hit graduating Leaders. Leaders was a phenomenal run stopper as well as a incredible leader. We look for Bryce Braaksma to really get a great look at this position. I (Luke) had the opportunity to practice against Bryce while at Iowa State. I think highly of this young man as a player, and he is an even better representative of Cyclone Football. Braaksma may be the most physical guy to fill the void left by Leaders. Jason McGinty is also a guy that will challenge for the nose guard opening. Whoever decides to step up and earn the job at nose guard will have some big shoes to fill. They will have to live up to the Cyclone defense standard of stuffing the run. Stephon Dale looks like the early leader at this position, but depth is important on the D-line.
Coach John Skladany has to be excited with the return of Brent Curvey. Curvey is an all-league player and will need to carry a portion of the defense on his shoulders. He will definitely be the anchor of the defensive line unit for 2006. McGinty will also provide depth at the defensive tackle position as he did a year ago. Look for Coach McCarney to really challenge the young bucks in the Cyclone football program to develop some depth at the nose guard and defensive tackle positions. It is time for guys to step up and contribute to the football team on game days.
We look for Shawn Moorehead to really have an outstanding year. This is definitely his position to lose, and we don't foresee that happening going into his senior campaign. Moorehead proved to all of Cyclone Nation that he could play winning football for Coach McCarney and the Cyclones in 2004, when Jason Berryman was confronted with legal issues. With Berryman back in the mix last season (2005), Moorehead provided winning snaps. Berryman is history from the Cyclone football program, and Moorehead will solidify the spot at defensive end.
This is a huge question mark
during spring practices, and more importantly, going into the 2006 season. Travis Ferguson will get many reps at
one of the containment positions (rush end/defensive end). Coach McCarney is calling his number,
and it is time for this young man to step in and earn his scholarship check for
game day production.