Last night’s 42-3 loss to Iowa was uglier than the weekday shift at The Lumberyard. Nothing went right for the Cyclones. However, while the game wasn’t pretty, there is always stuff we can learn from a beatdown like this.
1. The Offensive Line Is Extremely Offensive
There’s nothing else to say, really. After two games, neither the penalty yards nor the rushing yards (or lack thereof) are a fluke. This O-line simply isn’t going to be competent. While the pass protection hasn’t been too bad, there is no rushing threat whatsoever and, at this point, I doubt we’ll see too much improvement in the run game this year.
This is a problem that only gets solved with time and talent. There are some young guys on this team that certainly have the potential to help out down the road such as Julian Good-Jones, Sean Foster, and Bryce Meeker. The problem is, these guys are playing as redshirt freshmen (or in the case of Foster, possibly as a true freshman). Ideally we wouldn’t be seeing those three for another year or two. The cycle needs to end somewhere.
2. Joel Lanning Probably Isn’t The Guy
After last year I was very optimistic about Joel Lanning. He looked good against Baylor and Texas and he kept us in games with Kansas State and Oklahoma State. After two games, it’s clear he’s not where he should be as a starting QB. His poor accuracy, bad decisions, and lack of awareness have been fatal for Iowa State drives and they’re some of the main reasons this offense is averaging a miserable 11.5 points per game so far.
Jacob Park looked promising in his first action as a Cyclone. He made smart throws, hit his targets, and clearly liked throwing to Allen Lazard. Whether Park starts against TCU next week or not, this won’t be the last time we see him on the field for Iowa State this year. He earned more playing time with his effort against Iowa.
3. Mike Warren Needs The Ball
Through two games last year as the backup RB, Warren had nine carries for 28 yards. Through two games this year as a member of the preseason all-Big 12 team, Warren has 19 carries for 58 yards. Yes, the offensive line is a trainwreck. That’s not an excuse to give Mike Warren only eight touches against Iowa. Warren actually gained 4.0 yards per carry last night, which is solid.
The biggest problem I have with Iowa State’s run game is this: Joel Lanning had 13 carries last night for 27 yards. On the season, Lanning now has 24 carries for 37 yards. Iowa State’s three running backs -- Warren, Kene Nwangwu, and David Montgomery -- have combined for 31 carries and 107 yards. Lanning should not have nearly as many carries as he does, especially compared to the lack of carries for Iowa State’s RB corps.
One of the things the new coaching staff emphasized when they arrived was the focus on getting the ball to their star players. So far they’re doing that with Allen Lazard, who has 240 receiving yards and a TD through two games. They’re not doing the same with Mike Warren, however. Warren has 23 touches so far this season. He should be getting at least that many per game.
There’s still 10 more games ahead of us this season, but without some drastic changes, this team isn’t going anywhere.