Takeaways from Iowa State’s Spring Game

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State coach Matt Campbell warned that Saturday’s spring football game wouldn’t provide much of a gauge on what his team will look like in the fall.

“It’s going to be 43 degrees and we’re going to keep it pretty simple,” Campbell said Thursday. “Nothing Saturday will tell you if we’ll be good or not, but I think what I’ve seen is I’ve seen is this group really grow in terms of the areas that take no talent to get better.”

Nothing is set in stone, and nothing will be for a while, but there were still some things that stood out.

Hunter Dekkers feels different about this off-season. The quarterback, who will take the field for his second season as a starter this fall, says that there’s been a shift in the mindset of the team.

“I would just say that the whole mindset that everyone has this spring – it’s just completely different,” Dekkers said. “We thought last year that we were working hard, but this year we’ve just taken it to a whole new level.”

The offensive line raised the most eyebrows of any unit Saturday. If there was a group that was given an award for the most consistent day, it’d be that unit.

While keeping in mind that it amounts to just having a solid day of practice, the line was giving its quarterbacks time to throw the ball and getting consistent movement in the run game.

“Honestly, they’ve made huge strides through this off-season,” Dekkers said. “In the run-game and in the pass-game, (they’ve made huge strides) in everything, and even in their bodies, in the weight room. It’s just been incredible to see.”

New offensive line coach Ryan Clanton is making an early impact.

Jayden Higgins is making an impact in the receiving room. The Eastern Kentucky transfer made a trip to the end zone on Saturday, which was ultimately called back by a penalty.

Higgins had a productive day, catching four passes for what would have been 25 yards and a touchdown had a spring game flag not been assessed.

Iowa State wasn’t going to open up the playbook for a practice in 40-degree weather, but from what they did, Higgins performed up to the standard.

Jirehl Brock looked like his pre-injury self. In the waning weeks of the 2022 football season, Brock was trying to return to 100 percent while battling an injury that, at times, kept him out of games.

Getting rest and making sure he was healthy was going to be a big aspect to the first part of the off-season for the program, and it looks like they accomplished that.

Brock rushed the ball 11 times during the game, earning 47 yards along with a 16-yard touchdown run. There was nothing that indicated he was any level of limited, and that’s encouraging for Iowa State fans.