Post Spring Breakdown: Defensive Line

With the loss of Athyba Rubin and Bryce Braaksma at defensive tackle, which Cyclones will step up to replace them?

Assistant Coach Wayne Bolt is very excited for his second season as Iowa State's defensive coordinator to begin. "There's no doubt the kids are more familiar with the defense. We did lose some good players like Rubin and Bowen but we've just got to step up and replace them," he said. "Overall, the knowledge of the defense throughout all three phases is a lot higher than last year and we feel really good about that."

As Cyclone Sports Report breaks down the Iowa State off-season changes on defense this week, we will first begin with the defensive line. According to Bolt, this is an area where depth will be huge. "We really like our situation at defensive end," he said. "Rashawn (Parker) and Kurtis Taylor are presently the starters but I really like the other guys that are in the mix."

Those other guys according to Bolt are Chris Lyle and Nick Frere. "We hope to play a lot of guys on the defensive line and Chris is a guy who had a great spring and we feel that Nick can give us a lot."

Frere's brother Nate and Bailey Johnson currently have the inside track on becoming the new starters at defensive tackle but once again, Bolt likes the depth. "There's a lot of guys that will help us but I really think Nate could be a force next year," he said. "He was probably the most consistent during the spring."

While Jerrod Black and Chris Weir are currently the back-ups at defensive tackle, two other players showed they are ready to compete for a job during the spring. "Austin Alburtis was probably the surprise of the spring," he said. "He was the defensive tackle that really came on strong and I would also say that Mike Tate, a JC kid that took a redshirt last year had a really good spring and could jump into the mix during the fall."

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