So the football season ends like this:
Two wins that could have been losses.
Five losses that could have been wins.
Five losses that were over at the opening kick.
Few Cyclone fans expect to go 10-2, but having a puncher's chance in most games will keep the crowd happy. Winning a majority of the close ones will, too. Close out a couple of the games where you had leads in the fourth quarter and the grumbling isn't as loud.
Is the program that critically broken? 5-19 over two years says that something needs to change, and given the long-term results of ISU football, the cure is probably something radical.
Would a beefed up walk-on program help plug the gaps when injuries set in? Would bringing in more projects and putting them on partial schollies get anywhere? Would a tweener choose a quarter ride at Iowa State over a full-ride at Illinois State or Northern Illinois?
I suspect that given the choice, a DC would take a senior who was a two-star recruit over a freshman who was a three-star. Just understanding where to be can make all the difference, and that's something that only comes through experience and reps.
Just throw numbers at the problem- having 40 Quarters on your squad should yield you the 4 senior injury replacements you need to hold things together. Let the Quarters (and former Quarters, once they earn full-rides) wear the experience like a badge of honor. K State has 55 players in their two-deeps who were once walk-ons. When you can't get 5 star talent, filling the gaps can make the difference.