Extra Points: The zone-read, Tom Herman & more

By Chris Williams, PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

Some Iowa State football leftovers from Monday’s press conference…

THE ZONE-READ: Just a guess, but I bet we’ll see more zone-read out of Iowa State’s offense in the coming weeks compared to what we’ve seen so far this season. The play is one of new starting quarterback Jared Barnett’s strengths. Fans who attended Iowa State’s 33-17 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday saw the Cyclones have success with the play.

“It is something that I’ve been doing since high school," said Barnett. "I’ve run the zone-read a lot. I got a lot of work at it then and we do it a lot now in practice. A lot or work, being able to read your keys and making quick decisions with the ball.”

Keeping Texas Tech’s fifth-ranked offense off of the field on Saturday night will be important for the Cyclones. Offensive production and most importantly, an improved rushing attack will be critical against a Red Raider defense that ranks 105th nationally against the run.

“You have to read the defense, the backside end," explained Barnett. "If he triggers on the runner then you keep it and you run downhill. If he comes straight at you, you give it to your running back and let him make the play.”

Barnett ran for 73 yards in last weeks loss to Texas A&M.

RHOADS DEFENDS HERMAN: There’s no need for me to write too much about this because the Des Moines Register’sAndrew Logue published a fine piece regarding Iowa State’s offensive coordinator Tom Herman earlier this week.

But I thought I’d go ahead and post Rhoads’ entire response to the question about Herman’s performance so far this season.

“He had an outstanding resume coming in here and still does. That hasn’t changed. Pieces have to work together. When I say pieces, protection, assignments, catching, throwing, breaking tackles and so forth. As you talk about the offensive firepower in this league, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t good defensive players in this league. If you don’t put those things together, you’re not going to have the success that you so desire. In watching game film and watching games on TV, I see I see receivers who are covered as closely from one microphone to the other but that receiver makes a catch. It is the difference between seven points and not and getting on a roll and not getting on a role. Tom is just one of those pieces in that.”

I loved Rhoads’ quote. It’s what I talked about so much on Saturday night’s Cyclone Reaction postgame show.

Is the fact that Iowa State’s wide receivers can’t seem to catch a pass Herman’s fault? A number of first downs and as Rhoads pointed out, big plays, were left on the field against Texas A&M. This has been the case all season long. Bad throws. Poor protection. Dropped passes. Fumbles. Interceptions. Penalties. It all adds up.

Of course the coaches should not go without blame. But to point at one man and say, "It’s all your fault" is crazy talk.

BRUTAL BIG 12: You’ve seen the numbers. This year’s edition of the Big 12 is arguably as good of an offensive football league as college football has ever seen. Four of America’s top five (Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma & Texas Tech) hail from the Big 12. Texas A&M and Missouri are also notably ranked seventh and 11th.

“This type of league is so much focused on offense. That’s what it is all about," said Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott. "In defense, you really just have to try to slow down the offenses. They are so powerful and so explosive. You know that teams are probably going to put up points. You just have to limit it to field goals, try to get turnovers and try to get three and outs as much as possible.”

It feels like Iowa State should have already run the gauntlet but what’s sad is that things don’t get any easier from here on out. As mentioned above, Tech’s offense is ranked fifth. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are ranked third and fourth. Then there’s Kansas and Kansas State. The Jayhawks are a joke on defense but are decent offensively. Somehow, Kansas State is averaging 33.57 points per game with the nation’s 110th ranked passing attack.