One Big Request

One Big Request

The lack of regularity along the front has kept the Cyclones from achieving consistency in other facets of the offense

Iowa State's offensive line, in a period of tumult, will be without tackle Jacob Gannon this weekend. Gannon suffered a knee injury against Texas Tech. In steps Kyle Licthenberg, who began the season as a starter but was benched by Brock Dagel after the first game.

Thanks to a rash of injuries and new line coach Chris Klenakis' s insistence on finding the best match of five, the Cyclones have yet to trot out the same starting offensive line this season. Saturday against Baylor will be No. 6. Here's how things have changed from the season-opener until now:

OT Jacob Gannon

OG Daniel Burton

C Tom Farniok

SG Jamison Lalk

ST Kyle Lichtenberg

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OT Jacob Gannon

OG Daniel Burton

C Jamison Lalk

SG Ethan Tuftee

ST Brock Dagel

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OT Jacob Gannon

OG Daniel Burton

C Ben Loth

SG Ethan Tuftee

ST Brock Dagel

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OT Jacob Gannon

OG Daniel Burton

C Ben Loth

SG Oni Omoile

ST Brock Dagel

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OT Jacob Gannon

OG Daniel Burton

C Tom Farniok

SG Oni Omoile

ST Brock Dagel

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That most recent line is probably the staff's preferred bunch, with Lalk, who suffered an MCL in the Iowa game, sliding in for either Burton or Omoile. The lack of regularity along the front has kept the Cyclones from achieving consistency in other facets of the offense.

"The more continuity we have the much better we become," offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham said. "Tommy [Farniok] being back made it so much easier for all those calls to really be made and made with authority and confidence. The problem with it is is all of the sudden this alignment's out or that alignment's out. Unfortunately haven't had the opportunity to start the same starting five yet and it won't happen this week either."

Here's a look at how the Cyclones have varied by the game in passing, rushing and total yards. The inconsistency is there in living, breathing technicolor.

Quarterback Sam Richardson, waiting for his turn with the media Tuesday night, stood watching the replay of the Cyclones' game against Texas Tech on the mounted TV at the Jacobson Athletic Building.

"It's the hardest I've been hit," Richardson said.

Texas Tech blitzed occasionally, but Richardson was under duress even on three-man stunts, as tackle Kerry Hyder whirled around the edge and manufactured mayhem as the Cyclones struggled to adjust accordingly.

"The very first drive (third-and-long) and Sam gets sacked and it was a communication bust between an offensive lineman," Messingham said. "Those are the things you can't do. You can't have errors where you're not talking to the guy next to you."

If Cyclones fans will allow for a silver lining, it's that the unit's collective growing pains should allow it to grow into a team strength in the coming years.

"All those young kids that are getting those snaps, it'll be valuable as the future moves along," head coach Paul Rhoads said.

Right now, though, it is considered a weakness. Richardson was sacked twice against Tech, a drastic improvement over the Texas game, when he was taken down five times. On pass plays that didn't end in a sack against the Red Raiders, Richardson was hurried eight times and hit twice, per film review performed by AllCyclones.

"[Lack of continuity] makes it hard," Messingham said. "If you go back and you look at most teams that have a great run in general, they have a continuity in their starting lineup. Doesn't matter what sport it is. Very seldom do you see where you're starting new guys every week and you really have that success. We've got to get it where it doesn't matter who's in there, we have success in running and throwing the football."

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