Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads says the defense is making progress. The Cyclones wrap up spring drills on Saturday with an intrasquad game and much of the focus during workouts has been on a defense that yielded nearly 36 points per game during a 2-10 season in 2008.
Rhoads says the tackling has improved weekly and the team is playing together better and is giving up fewer big plays. Rhoads says the defense has stood up well against an offense that Rhoads feels has playmakers and has also limited big plays.
Senior defensive tackle Nate Frere says beyond the x’s and o’s, the coaching staff has earned the trust of the players. Frere says every coach gives you "rah, rah" speeches, but he says coach and his staff Rhoads "speak the truth." Frere says the staff hasn’t lied to him yet and they’ve earned his trust.
Frere says the system is coming together on both sides of the ball as they start to get a handle on the schemes and he says they are a tighter knit group than they were last year.
Frere says after several weeks of practice they are looking forward to Saturday’s game. He says they are tired and beat up heading into the third week and that is a grind, but now they feel with the spring game they are on the downhill slope.