Iowa State had arguably its best offensive line in the Matt Campbell era in 2020. Even with three seniors that had experience having to be replaced up front prior to the 2020 season, this group went from one of the most glaring weak spots to a team strength all in the matter of one summer.
They pushed Breece Hall to become a consensus All-American, and kept their quarterback upright, making Brock Purdy the least-sacked quarterback in the Big 12. They were also named semi-finalists for the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the nation’s best offensive line over the course of a season.
Top Offensive Lines - Pass Protection— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) January 24, 2021
• Sack Rate
2% Texas A&M
4% Iowa State
4% Texas Tech
maybe more impressively, all of this success was with their plan B offensive line configuration. Iowa State was forced to shuffle around the offensive line after Trevor Downing went down with a leg injury. Then, Joey Ramos went down as well and Iowa State was using Darrell Simmons and Jake Remsburg to fill the gaps, and both played well beyond what anyone could have asked for. Darrell Simmons was even named Second-Team Freshman All American by the Athletic and Honorable Mention All Big-12.
If you look at the 2020 season as whole, Iowa State’s offensive line really only had two bad games. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. The Cyclones struggled to move anyone in Stillwater and for 3⁄4 of the game against Oklahoma in Dallas Iowa State’s offensive line was horrendous. Most of the issues came inside with both guards and center Collin Newell struggling. I stated earlier in the year that the success of the offensive line starts with Newell getting push upfront right away. This is also something that will need to built upon going into 2021.
2021 Season Outlook
Iowa State will return plenty of experience in 2021. Every single start from the 2020 season will be back. That includes Trevor Downing and Joey Ramos coming back from time off from injury. Downing most certainly will be a lock to start at guard, but what remains to be seen is whether Darrell Simmons or Derek Schweiger will be the other starter. Then who will be the guy at right tackle? Ramos would have the upper hand, but Jake Remsburg shouldn’t be counted out either. These are really good problems to have as depth is off the charts on the offensive line for Iowa State. Should be a fun group to have in 2021.