CSR Insider: One-On-One With Coach Burnham

Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham provides Cyclone Sports Report with his view of where the Cyclone defense stands at this point.

Cyclone Sports Report: How would you break down the defensive line at this point?

Coach Burnham: We have a bunch of guys who real hard workers but no one stands out at the moment and I think depth could be a concern. I think Nate Frere is a steady guy who probably made the most plays inside during the spring. More guys need to stand out at defensive end also but they have worked hard and they just need to keep learning. Chris Lyle was probably our strongest at that position but overall there is work to do there. I think that Roosevelt Maggitt also showed some signs that he can rush the quarterback and that he can really get off the ball.

CSR: Is the experience at linebacker showing up in your opinion?

CB:Yeah, it helps that Jesse (Smith) and Freddy (Garrin) have played a lot of football because they are smart and bring a lot of knowledge to the table. They picked up our scheme right away. Derec Schmidgall also knows what to do and should be valuable to us. Josh Raven can play two positions and should really help build depth at the position. We also are hoping that the JC kid (Matt Taufoou) can come in and help us this year with his experience. The key is that we need to try and get faster at this position which will be tough because a lot of them are seniors. They also just have to keep working on learning the terminology to the point where it a play becomes habit instead of a reaction.

CSR: How is the secondary coming along so far?

CB: I think our strength is our corners because they are our best athletes which is the way it should be. Nobody stood out above the rest but they are very capable of making plays. Some of the younger guys have got the ability to be real good football players for us. At safety, nobody stood out too much but they are working very hard and we're just keeping it simple and trying to work a lot more on the fundamentals with them. I think we are going to get better if our safeties tackle better and if we are consistently where we need to be in regards to the passing game.

CSR: Have certain players stepped as leaders on defense?

CB: Nate (Frere) comes to mind along with Chris Lyle on the defensive line. I think Jesse (Smith) and Freddy (Garrin) are more leaders by example at linebacker. They're not big vocal guys but they lead by working really hard. It's hard to say right now in the secondary but I think that will change during the fall.

CSR: Coach Rhoads comes to Iowa State as defensive coordinator. Has he allowed you the freedom so far to run the defense the way that you want?

CB: Paul has done everything he told me he would do in regards to supporting us as coaches. He told me that he wouldn't interfere with me running the defense and he has stood by that. A lot of our ideas are the same anyway but they just have different terminology. We're definitely together on the same page and there have not been any problems in that regard.


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