NOTEBOOK: Heacock updates position battles

Sep 16, 2017; Akron, OH, USA; Iowa State Cyclones defensive coordinator Jon Heacock walks in the first quarter in a game assign the Akron Zips at InfoCision Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State defensive coordinator Jon Heacock met with the media on Thursday to give updates on the Cyclones’ first few days of their 2023 spring practices.

The veteran coach gave updates on position battles at defensive end, linebacker and more. Here are some excerpts of that conversation lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Who stands out at edge?

Joey Petersen obviously from last year. You know, Ike (Ezeogu) is in there doing a good job. Samuel Same is in there getting some reps. Moving some other guys around, Trent Jones, just trying to figure out who that’s going to be. Just kind of by committee, but, Joey Peterson’s running with the ones. Ike’s running with the twos.”

How about Tyler Onyedim?

“He’s at the boundary, where he really kind of played a year ago, playing at the boundary. He’s with the first group over there. Trying, again, is over there a little bit back and forth. Just kind of by committee a little bit there. It’s been really good. I like what I see. Getting the reps and learning and some guys that haven’t played a lot, obviously, behind a couple of those guys, but it’s been good. I’ve been pleased with what I see.”

How have young early enrollees stood out?

“They’ve been an impressive group, just from the standpoint of some maturity. I think that’s been impressive. Going to class, being on time eating meals, checking in with nutrition, going to the training room. I think those guys have done a lot of the off the field little things very well. That’s the first part and that usually is a great example of guys playing good football. Those guys have gotten along well, but it’s a great group. They’re very close. I’m gonna leave some guys out, Cam Smith done a good job, JJ Jones has done a good job. A lot of those young kids have done really good work off the field. They’ve just continued to learn on the field. Impressive group as people and as taking care of business.”

How are the linebackers shaking out?

Zach Lovett, Carson Willich‘s been working in at some of the SAM and Carston Marshall‘s been at Sam. Cole Pederson at Sam. MIKE linebacker has been Will McLaughlin and Zach Lovett. Back at WILL side has been Jacob Ellis and, obviously, Gerry Vaughn, Jacob Imming, so a lot of depth there, a lot of bodies. I think that group has done a good job. A couple of those guys were moving into some different spots, role playing them as we go along. It’s been a good group, very competitive as well.”

How does T.J. Tampa go from good to great?

“I think the key for a guy like that is, again, breaking down his craft, becoming a real craftsman at playing the position. I think you can always improve that. I think there’s guys playing for years and years in the NFL. I think that’s the whole key to becoming an elite player. I think it’s just all the finer points and I think Coach Hank (Poteat)’s done a good job with them. I just think that becomes the key, breaking your craft down enough and your eyes are right all the time. Your feet are right all the time. Your leverage on on wideouts is right all the time. I think just the little things, and I think guys that that play that position, having coached corners, like that’s how they live, that’s the world they live in. An inch or six inches is six points. That’s how you live on that corner and in the back end, so I think he’s really done a great job, and I think he’ll continue to improve.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.