This piece is a continuation of our series previewing and reviewing Iowa State’s fall camp media availabilities. You can read the preview of conversations with Jeff Myers and Tyson Veidt here.
Jeff Myers, Offensive Line
1 – HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO SOLIDIFY A ROTATION?
It sounds like it is just as tough as you’d expect when you return as much talent and experience as Myers does at his position. There are more guys at this position who have played good football for Iowa State than there are spots.
Somebody is going to be left out. That’s just the unfortunate reality.
But, as I wrote before, it is a good problem to have at the end of the day.
“I think our two-deep is really, really strong,” Myers said. “There’s a lot of guys that have played football in that two-deep for us, whether they’re going to be in the group that starts walking out in the first game or not. We have guys that not only are ready to play but have played. Through two weeks of camp, I’m really happy with where we’re at. Our guys are rolling. We’re playing really physical, we’re doing a great job communicating, we’re getting people moved up off the ball and opening some holes for our running backs.”
2 – WHO HAS MADE THE BIGGEST LEAP FROM LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR?
This is a position where it is probably hard to really pinpoint one guy as having made a massive leap, but I continue to only hear good things about redshirt sophomores Darrell Simmons and Jake Remsburg.
Both guys played a ton of snaps for Iowa State last season and had a lot of success when they were on the field as redshirt freshmen. If I was going to pinpoint two guys along the offensive front that seemed primed to get considerably more attention and praise, I’d single out those two.
Myers went out of his way to shout out a few others who have impressed, as well.
“Darrell and Jake were really young guys. They still are young. They’re gonna be redshirt sophomores but those guys continue to be really consistent and had a good offseason,” Myers said. “Grant Treiber had a great offseason and is doing a nice job running at right tackle for us. Rob Hudson‘s doing a really nice job. Our young guys that just got here to campus, really pleased with where they’re at. You talk about in-state blue-collar guys with Tyler Mauro, Jim Bonifas and Dodge Sauser, the future’s solid, we’re gonna be bright. But I think collectively, they’ve all follow the leader. The young guys in the ranks have followed the guys ahead of them. Because there is a blueprint for how to do things.”
3 – WHAT DOES TREVOR DOWNING’S RETURN MEAN?
The Creston native’s return to the field after missing all but one half of one game last season flew a little bit under the radar, but that can be expected with the sheer number of guys there were to talk about at this position.
I’ll stand by what I said in my preview, though — Iowa State’s offensive line only gets better by adding Trevor Downing back into the fold. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t re-stake his claim as the best offensive lineman in the program and prove it on the field this fall.
Tyson Veidt, Linebackers
1 – HOW HAVE THE YOUNGSTERS PROGRESSED?
This room might run right alongside the offensive line in having the most quality depth of any in the program right now. The top-three is elite, and I’d wager as good as any in college football.
The next group up is really solid though with Gerry Vaughn, Aric Horne and Dae’Shawn Davis all drawing great reviews through the first few weeks of fall camp.
Another guy to watch is walk-on Kendall Jackson. The redshirt junior out of Des Moines, Roosevelt was brought up by Veidt unprompted.
“Gerry has played a large amount on special teams, and really played in every game for us at Mike linebacker along the way a year ago,” Veidt said. “So that’s been really good for us. Aric Horne has been a tremendous special teams player for us, has made some big plays on Saturdays on the defensive side as well, and is having a really good camp right now. Dae’Shawn Davis has had tremendous special teams reps for us, has played on Saturdays for us. Geez, Kendall Jackson has taken special teams reps for us. We’d like for a couple of these other guys along the way that have been in the program a year, maybe a year and a half to start to push the envelope on special teams as well to help get their first experience on the field.”
All four of those guys will be crucial pieces of Iowa State’s special teams units in 2021 and how much they can progress as the season moves along will dictate how big of an impact they make on the defense.
They’ll be the clubhouse leaders to take over the top-three spots in 2022, too.
2 – CAN MIKE ROSE GET EVEN BETTER?
The answer here is yes just like it is for everyone on Iowa State’s roster. While he wasn’t talking specifically about Rose, Veidt stressed how much the staff has discussed internal expectations for the defense and how those expectations should dictate the way guys attack each day.
We know Mike Rose has high expectations for himself. We know the guys inside the program have high expectations for the defense. So, yes, I would imagine Mike Rose has found some areas he’s focused on improving in order to become the best college linebacker he can be in 2021.
“We talked to our guys a bunch about what their expectations are for our defense and our team,” Veidt said. “That should certainly reflect our work ethic and how we’re operating every day in the meeting rooms and in the weight room and what we’re doing on the football field. So I think that goes really, individually of each guy and what they want to accomplish within the structure of our defense.”
3 – HOW BIG IS THE EXTRA YEAR FOR JAKE HUMMEL?
Didn’t get to this one either, but I know people inside the program are excited to see what Hummel will be able to do in his second full season as a starter. He probably won’t draw as many headlines as Rose, or maybe even O’Rien Vance, but I would be pretty surprised if Hummel doesn’t end up spending multiple years at the professional level — whether on a roster or on someone’s practice squad.
This extra year will be huge for him in showcasing what he can do in order to make that path to the next level a little easier than it might have been with only one year of full-time starting under his belt.