AMES — Iowa State’s defensive depth chart leading up to Saturday’s spring game is a bit of a mess. The combination of injuries and attrition are the cause of this but after Wednesday’s practice, head coach Paul Rhoads did clarify a couple of spots on the two-deep, specifically at linebacker.
In a post-practice interview, Rhoads noted that redshirt freshman Alton Meeks has been “primarily running with the ones” at MIKE linebacker.
“He is starting to play like a linebacker,” Rhoads said. “He was a quarterback until he got here in January a year ago. He is starting to act like he understands linebacker now.”
Meeks nearly played last year as a true freshman but was held out to redshirt at the last minute.
Rhoads also appeared to be happy with the progress of Meeks’ competitors for the job, those men being sophomore Kane Seeley and junior college transfer Jordan Harris.
“Kane Seeley is right on as far as his steady progression from high school to college,” Rhoads said. “Jordan Harris is starting to learn the defense. He did some things today that I hadn’t seen him do yet which is really, really encouraging.”
Moving over to WILL linebacker, one would think that sophomore Luke Knott is the odds on favorite to win this job when he comes back from a groin injury in the fall. However, senior Jevohn Miller could ultimately be a factor.
“Jevohn Miller is finally playing like he has been here for three years,” Rhoads said.
With Knott being held out of spring drills due to offseason surgery, Miller now not only has years and size on his side, but spring drills too. Two other men are competing for this job as well.
“Brian Mills shows his talent and he is back on the practice field after a hamstring,” Rhoads said. “You’ve got Levi Peters who is playing well as a walk-on.”
Lastly, walk-on Drake Ferch is currently heading up the ones at nickel/SAM llinebacker but that shouldn’t be the case for long. Senior Jared Brackens was initially suspended for the first two spring practices and will be the likely starter there in the fall.
“It’s a talented and high numbers group,” Rhoads said of his linebackers. “I didn’t say it was deep and I didn’t say that we are ready with all of those players. But there are talented players there. There are nine guys right there at the three positions that I think are capable of being on the field. We will figure out their special teams and rotations and all of that and figure out a way to take advantage of those guys.”
Devron Moore update
On Saturday, Rhoads announced that junior Devron Moore had returned home to Oklahoma due to homesickness. When asked about Moore on Wednesday evening, Rhoads simply said, “There is an opportunity that he may be back.”
Spring game format
Due to so much shuffling between lineups, Rhoads said that he will not keep score during Saturday’s spring game.
“We are going to go ones vs. twos,” Rhoads said. “We will go back and forth. There will be no special teams. If we score we will start from the 30. If we get a stop, I will move the ball 35 yards down the field and we will go both directions. Everybody on the roster will get snaps and play and hopefully have a physical and healthy scrimmage.”
The spring game will begin at 2 p.m. at Jack Trice Stadium. Admission is free to the public.