Monday, December 02, 2019

Progress Isn't Linear

The hangover from pre-season Kool-Aid can be harsh when your team doesn't live up to pre-season expectations.

Winning close games is more random than anyone wants to admit.

The hard part is being good enough to give yourself a chance against the teams with better talent. By that metric, mission accomplished.

A disappointing 7-5 year is still more fun than any 3-9 year.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Growth

About 24 minutes into this postgame analysis, these two Texas fans state what the rest of the Big12 has thought for a long time:

Every other program seems to develop their talent, while Texas stays static.

In other words, "Nobody does less with more than Texas". (Note to self: That would make a great shirt in all the rival colors.)

Let's compare stats from 2018's 24-10 ISU loss in Austin with this year's 23-21 ISU win in Ames:

Last year, UT was plus 117 yards rushing and 2.1 yards per play over the Cyclones.
This year, ISU was plus 60 rushing and 0.4 YPP, for change of 177 yards on the ground and 2.5 YPP. That's gigantic.

Texas has 46 4 or 5 star athletes on their roster. Iowa State has 4. Yes, 4.

The numbers speak for themselves.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Going For It

For being a conservative guy wanting to play a conservative style, we are watching Coach Campbell grow more aggressive when the moment calls for it. The aggressiveness is calculated, playing the percentages, rather than reckless, and it may pay dividends down the line. As opposing coaches learn that Iowa State is going to press for extra, they will take risks to counter, to add to the lead, and hopefully make mistakes that can be swung in the Cyclones favor.

It is an attitude the football program hasn't had in my memory. It is a pleasant change.

Three winnable games left on the slate, three games that will determine how fans view the season as a whole.

Seize the moment, and go for it.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Run Game

Twitter tells us that Saturday's game in Morgantown was one of Brock Purdy's worst (19-30-1, 1 TD, 6 rushes for -15, 3 sacks) so to see the running game emerge to fill the gap was encouraging. 34 carries for 167 yards was a solid 4.9 YPC, kept the chains moving and got into the end zone when the opportunity arrived. More of that, please.

The second-half stifling of the West Virginia offense was a thing of beauty, backup QB or not. The drive chart for WV in the back half: punt, punt, punt, punt, INT, Fumble. 21 plays for 44 yards. That'll do boys, that'll do.

Our Cyclones can win a lot of football games that way. Forward.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Stunner

Given the offensive struggles the Cyclones had against the two solid defenses they played earlier in the year (Iowa and Baylor), to witness the offensive competency that broke out against TCU was stunning. Six touchdowns on nine possessions in TCU territory is getting it done, and couldn't have come at a better time with more winnable games this month.

The offensive performance was even more surprising after how disruptive the TCU defense had been for ISU recently. The last six games- five losses for ISU- have all been tough sledding for the offense, and one has to go back to the 2012 win in Fort Worth to find another day where the offense did what it wanted against the Horned Frogs.

While having your QB be your leading rusher isn't a good long-term plan, it appears that running threat is what opens up the offense as a whole. So be it.

Onward to Morgantown.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

.500ish

Cyclone football is 7-8 in the last 2.25 seasons in games that ended with a margin of 7 points or less. They win their share of the close ones.

Clearly this offense is going to struggle against decent defenses. When the other team can make you one dimensional, your margin for error goes way down.

ISU had plenty of opportunities to score what would have been the winning points- but they found a way to screw up, which cost them in the end. Slap on the back for taking the lead after a furious comeback. But the offense only got three TDs on eight trips into Baylor territory. That ain't gonna cut it.

The Cyclones could be the underdog in seven of the last 8. Buckle up.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Slumpbuster

Scoring on 11 consecutive possessions counts as a good day.

A step down in competition helped the offense find its stride, and getting the ball in the hands of a mismatch led to several long plays and scores.

The first five B12 games are, on paper, winnable. Hopefully Purdy and crew can keep the scoring momentum going.

On defense, some were grumbling at the yards given up to ULM, be we will not join them. So many snaps were taken by the seconds and thirds that a drop in execution is to be expected. Don't panic, it was actually good news from an experience standpoint.

We've learned a lot in the first three games, but now we will see if the knowledge can be leveraged.