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Three Things We Learned: Louisiana Lafayette

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I think we learned a little too much in this game.

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State kicked off the season in the worst way possible. I’m as frustrated as anyone, and I try to make sense of everything by seeing what learned.

We Need to Hire a Freaking Special Teams Coach

I played football from ages 8-13. I wasn’t very good, I was referred to as the kid who was really good at hustling. In case you didn’t know, that’s a key word for sucking. I used to announce Indianola Youth Football League games over the PA, along with Indianola Middle School. I’ve seen a lot of bad football, perhaps some of the worst possible. I mean what I am about to say, I HAVE NEVER SEEN A TEAM PERFORM SO BADLY ON SPECIAL TEAMS.

IOWA STATE ALLOWED A 95-YARD KICK RETURN AND AN 83-YARD PUNT RETURN.

On both of these plays, it looked like Matt Campbell huddled up 11 newborn baby deer, gouged their freaking eyes out, put them on rollerblades, and told them to go tackle the ball carrier. Those 11 newborn deer did the exact opposite, in fact they did exactly what you expect, they all ran exactly where they shouldn’t and allowed the Cyclones to get embarrassed by a Sun Belt team.

Hire a special teams coach, please. Special teams isn’t going to win most games, but it certainly costed Iowa State a very winnable game.

There Was No Structured Play Calling

Brock Purdy averaged 4.1 yards per completion. That seems almost impossible for someone who has averaged double that over the course of his career. Part of that falls on Purdy, but we will get to that later. One of the main reasons that the offense scored a scorching 14 points on Saturday was terrible, inconsistent and conservative play-calling.

Iowa State ran the ball on 19 out of 26 first down opportunities, with all of the passes but three coming in the fourth quarter. When the play calling was aggressive, the ball was moving downfield, resulting in points. The two drives that ended in touchdowns began with passes on the first play of the drive to get momentum moving downfield.

There was no structure to what Tom Manning was doing all day. It seemed that no play complemented another. He was playing Madden and just pressed “A” every time on the coaches suggestion. This resulted in Iowa State not being able to string together any good drives in the second half. The run was established, but RPOs weren’t utilized once.

This is the best offense that Iowa State has ever had, but on Saturday we were shown the affects that a poor game plan can have on talent.

p.s. don’t even get me started on prevent defense (probably another week)

Talent has to Prove It

You can blame coaching quite a bit because the team looked unprepared, but that shouldn’t have mattered. At the end of the day, Iowa State lost because Brock Purdy missed throws that he usually makes, receivers dropped totally catchable balls, and Breece Hall fumbled. None of Iowa State’s top talent on offense played like they are capable of.

Purdy was 16/35 for 145 yards with an interception. He overthrew guys on deep routes that would’ve been touchdowns and he threw behind guys on potential drive extending plays. It was arguably the worst game of his career. If he plays like that again this season, it’s probably a loss. Purdy and the talent around him just has to be better, period.