It's coming from the corps of hit-men in the middle of the Cyclone defense. The linebackers are having a tremendous spring and people are starting to notice.
Losing Tim Dobbins and Jamarr Buchanan was supposed to set the defense back. They were two seasoned seniors
who played a lot of snaps and did everything asked of them. Going into the
spring there were several unknowns on defense--especially at linebacker. Matt
Robertson and Adam Carper started most of the games in 2005 but there still was
some unpredictability with the group. We knew
With that thought in mind, let's take a look at some of the previous groups in McCarney's tenure.
2005- Matt Robertson, Tim Dobbins, Carper/Buchanan
They were the corps on the best defense statistically in 60 years. The Cyclone D never gave up more than 27 points for the first time since the 1930's. Dobbins made several huge plays and Robertson led the Cyclones in tackles. Carper and Buchanan combined to have a decent year at SAM. Buchanan, a former walk-on, is currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and was a leader on the defense.
Seniors Word and Loyd were first and third on the team in tackles. The sophomore Brown was second. Brown had a huge year with 137 tackles and six sacks. Unfortunately, injuries never allowed him to reach that same level in his last two years at ISU. Tyson Smith also had an admirable year rotating between the SAM and RUSH spots.
2000- Ab Turner, Matt Word, Derrick Walker, Justin Eilers
They were the linebackers on the first bowl team since 1978. Derrick Walker was a converted quarterback after losing the battle to Sage Rosenfels the previous fall. They weren't the flashiest group, but Turner and Walker provided the power and the young Word provided the speed. Eilers was just crazy. Every team needs a crazy person.
1998- Dave Brcka, Kip King, Jesse Beckom
This group gave up over 200 yards
a game rushing and allowed a 330 yard game to Rickey Williams. However, they
will forever go down as the group that beat
1996- Dave Brcka, James Elmore, Derrick Clark
Brcka led the team in tackles as a
freshman with 127. That was probably not a good sign. Derrick Clark was a
consistent player for
1995- Angelo Provenza, Michael Cooper, Tim Sanders, Rudy Rofollo
Provenza was the lone senior in
this group. Safeties Matt Straight and Mike Lincavage led ISU in tackles, often
because teams were galloping into the secondary.
Linebackers have always provided ISU with some colorful personalities and some solid players in the McCarney era. The way the coaches are talking this spring, if these guys can reach the high ceiling constructed for them, they could become the best group in McCarney's years at ISU. They are already the most athletic.
After Bowen and Robertson combined for a huge hit in a practice this week, they let out a primal yell and did the Canseco/McGwire "Bash Brothers" clash of the forearms. Now they just have to translate the effort from the practice field to the game field.
I can't wait to see it happen.