RB Stevie Hicks

2003 Statistics

Coach: Dan McCarney
38-67, 9 years
2003 Record: 2-10
OHIO WON 48-20
at Northern Illinois LOST 16-24
at Texas Tech LOST 21-52
at Nebraska LOST 0-28
at Kansas LOST 7-36
at Missouri LOST 7-45

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

What went wrong with Iowa State last year? Here's the telling stat: they got outscored (on average) 36-14! They finished 109th in total offense as they were held to seven points or less in five of their 12 games. Not exactly the best of times in Ames. Turn the page to 2004.

The offensive numbers will get better, particularly running the ball. Hicks will raise more eyebrows this season, especially behind such a strong offensive line and with a new, highly-touted OC. Where ISU will run into problems is their lack of a 'finisher'. With no real threats at receiver, the run game will be neutralized against the mid to top defenses of the Big 12. QB play will improve, but not to the point where ISU fans should get enthusiastically optimistic.

The defense will surprise some folks and give the offense a chance to steal some games down the stretch. The help from the JUCO ranks will coalesce and allow the front seven to be aggressive and present offenses with some challenges moving the ball. Still they're a relatively undersized crew, which lacks the speed to compensate for any blown assignments. They will live and die as a unit, not individually.

The Cyclones put themselves out of games early last season, being outscored 238-72 in the second and third quarters combined. This means proper adjustments were not made and that is a direct reflection of the coaching staff. The cliché says that games are won and lost in the fourth quarter, but if you get killed in the 2nd and 3rd, the 4th quarter really becomes irrelevant. The youth of this team will be served eventually, but, for now, ISU's foes likely will outplay them in a 60-minute tilt.

ISU opens with a challenging, but beatable Northern Iowa team. It's all uphill after that. There's a three game stretch where they play at Colorado and Baylor, then get Kansas in Ames. We expect them to take one of those games. If they are for real, they win two or all three. This three-game stretch will define just how far these Cyclones go. It will be another tough one for ISU, giving McCarney his first back-to-back losing season in three years.

Projected 2004 record: 3-8
DE Jason Berryman
QB - 2 DL - 3
RB - 2.5 LB - 2.5
WR - 1.5 DB - 2
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Austin Flynn, 212-99-10, 1238 yds., 5 TD

Rushing: Stevie Hicks, 123 att., 471 yds., 0 TD

Receiving: Stevie Hicks, 14 rec., 40 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Austin Flynn, 2 TD, 2 two-pt. conv., 16 pts.

Punting: Tony Yelk, 73 punts, 41.4 avg.

Kicking: Tony Yelk, 2-4 FG, 0-0 PAT, 6 pts.

Tackles: Jason Berryman, 110 tot., 61 solo

Sacks: Jason Berryman, Brandon Brown - 3 each

Interceptions: Ellis Hobbs, Jason Berryman, Steve Paris - 1 each

Kickoff returns: Ellis Hobbs, 6 ret., 18.5 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Todd Miller, 24 ret., 7.0 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Hiawatha Rutland-TB, Mike Wagner-TB, Lane Danielsen-WR, Jack Whitver-WR, Lance Young-WR, Jamaul Montgomery-WR, Casey Shelton-OT, Bob Montgomery-OL, Waye Terry-QB, Adam Benike-K
DEFENSE: Jordan Carstens-DT, Joe Woodley-WLB, JaMaine Billups-SS, Marc Timmons-FS, Harold Clewis-CB

Austin Flynn started seven games a year ago, but failed to etch himself as "the man". Now he and Bret Meyer will battle into the fall to see who'll emerge as the guy McCarney and new offensive coordinator Barney Cotton want to start in this ambiguous offense. Both have the mobility McCarney has favors, but neither have a firm grip on their role. Meyer saw more time with the first group than Flynn, but his performance in the spring game did little to keep him in the driver's seat. A wildcard to look out for if nothing improves is JUCO transfer, Terrance Highsmith. Someone has to take control, or ISU risks another bland campaign.

Running Back
Cotton comes over directly from Nebraska, where the Huskers finished seventh in the country in rushing offense (84 spots higher than the Cyclones). He has just the right guy to revolve around in Stevie Hicks. A poor man's Ricky Williams, Hicks has impressed the coaching staff ever since his arrival three years ago. Cotton's entrance will give Hicks more of a role so as to take advantage of the type of back he is. When healthy, he poses as big a threat running the ball as any back in the Big 12. As good as he is, though, he might still be looking over his shoulder at some impressive freshmen, headed by Jason Scales, who enrolled early to partake in spring drills. Improvement is destined in this area and Cotton is the right man to bring Iowa State back to the status they had in the nineties as one of the country's premier running teams.

Thin. Raw. Unproven. Throw in any marginally qualitative synonyms you want and they'll likely be accurate in describing the receivers for ISU. Put it this way, the team's leading returning receiver is Todd Miller, who had ONE catch last season. RSF Todd Blythe has good size and deceptive speed that will test opposing defenses. Though playing in just his first season for the Cyclones, he'll quickly become the go-to-guy for whichever QB arises. Miller also returns, but his scrappy abilities are more suited for an offense that throws the ball more. McCarney also feels that if the aforementioned Highsmith doesn't crack #1 at QB, Miller could be an all-conference WR. This unit is destined to be what most opposing defenses will clamp down on as their focus, so these guys will likely be out on islands and in two-deeps until they prove they can beat more-experienced secondaries.

Tight End and Offensive Line
Tight Ends are abundant and the Cyclones will regularly throw three in the mix. James Wright is the better receiver, but all three possess blocking abilities that will come in handy in helping revive the run-game.

The O-line is the security of this offense, bringing back four starters. Brant and Zehr played well as freshmen last year and return to anchor their veteran comrades. Injuries have plagued center Luke Vander Sanden the last two seasons, and the shuffling has consequently affected the QB play. Responsibility will weigh heavy on this group as the effort to improve the run game increases. A healthy, consistent season will mean positive results all-around. Anything otherwise will spell out the lack of quality depth here.

The run game will improve, but the passing dimensions are still iffy. The offensive line is one of the Big 12's best. So why doesn't this offense fill us with assurance(s)? Because (almost) anyone can stop the run if there's no substantial threat of the pass. One of the QBs in the mix needs to make a point to his teammates about leadership. If that doesn't happen, this offense will struggle to break 2003's 21 TDs and 173 points scored. We think the new coordinator will bring ISU back to respectability on this side of the ball, but how long this takes is directly proportionate to the QB position's development. Injuries on the line would quickly negate any expectations.


C Luke Vander Sanden


Returning Starters in bold
QB Bret Meyer-Fr (6-3, 205) Austin Flynn-So (6-1, 185)
Chris Love-Sr (6-5, 225)
FB Ryan Kock-So (6-0, 245) Kyle Smith-So (6-2, 235)
TB Stevie Hicks-So (6-2, 215) Jason Scales-Fr (5-9, 200)
Brian Thompson-Jr (5-7, 195)
WR Todd Miller-Sr (5-8, 175) Ryan Baum-So (5-10, 190)
WR Todd Blythe-Fr (6-5, 205) Terrance Highsmith-Jr (6-1, 175)
Milan Moses-Fr (6-1, 190)
WR Andy Kohler-Sr (6-5, 220) Jon Davis-So (6-4, 200)
TE James Wright-Sr (6-3, 240) Brett Kellogg-Sr (6-3, 250)
OT Cale Stubbe-Sr (6-4, 300) John Tjaden-Fr (6-7, 290)
OG Kory Pence-Jr (6-4, 310) Trent Claussen-So (6-4, 300)
C Luke Vander Sanden-Sr (6-2, 305) Brian Lutter-Sr (6-0, 270)
OG Seth Zehr-So (6-5, 290) Johannes Egbers-Jr (6-3, 290)
OT Aaron Brant-So (6-7, 315) Chris O'Hollearn-Jr (6-6, 285)
K Tony Yelk-Sr (6-1, 200) Josh Griebahn-Fr (5-8, 195)



Defensive Line
ISU displays one of the scariest fronts in the Big 12. They're led by last year's freshman sensation, Jason Berryman, who finished with 110 tackles (61 solo) from his rush end spot! He runs like a safety, hits like a linebacker, and has the strength of a DT. You're likely to see two or even three bodies responsible for keeping him away from the ball, so the adjunct presence of his line mates, Curvey, Leaders, and Johnson will be paramount. As a unit, these guys totaled 313 tackles and 21 TFLs- a very active bunch. But in 2003, 5.0 yards per try for opponent's rushing average, 14 total sacks, and 34 rushing TDs allowed mean these guys have much to prove before their 109th-ranked run-stopping efforts are meaningful.

MLB Brandon Brown is a tackling machine, finishing among the top three in that area for the Cyclones the last two years. He's out of the classic LB mold with size and strength, but what stands out is his speed to the play/ball. Questions lie on the outside. Tyson Smith makes the move from DE to LB, where he excelled in high school, but he's better fit against the run than the pass. Teams will look to exploit this, so the line's needed development will directly affect his impact. ISU has some depth that will rotate often until a concrete group materializes. With both weak all-around defensive results from 2003 coupled with how thin this corps will likely be spread, do not expect the LBs to be able to bail out the other units consistently.

Defensive Back
This is the weakest group on defense. Hobbs is the veteran, and Moser has seen the field as a linebacker. Paris has problems with consistency and game maturity, and Poullard is exploited for being undersized - opposing QBs will throw his way early and often until he gives them reason to do otherwise. McCarney brought in some JUCO help to bolster this crowd, namely CBs LaMarcus Hicks and Josh Hargis (as well as FS Jerry Gair). The latter two finished the top two in INTs among the JUCO ranks a year ago. Poor numbers here could have been worse had teams not been able to run all over ISU. But with so many new faces, this unit could easily surprise, too.

Numbers from '03 were dismal, especially when in such a strong conference. 53 total TDs allowed (ranked 109th in scoring defense), foe's 42% third-down conversion rate, allowing (at least) 99 points per quarter as they gave 200-plus yard both on the ground and in the air per game - this all equals only one way to go, up. Defensive coordinator John Skladany has built some pretty impressive defenses, and they all showcased stellar lines. This line has the potential to rank right up there with the best of them. However, their success will depend on how much agony the DBs place on the opposing passing game. If they can mesh, solidify and play stubborn pass defense, that will allow Skladany to put more men near the line of scrimmage and take away the short game.


LB Brandon Brown


Returning Starters in bold
DE Jason Berryman-So (6-2, 225) Shawn Moorehead-So (6-3, 230)
DT Brent Curvey-So (6-0, 295) Tim TeBrink-Sr (6-4, 295)
NG Nick Leaders-Jr (6-2, 290) Matt Scherbring-So (6-4, 325)
DE Cephus Johnson-Jr (6-2, 250) Korey Smith-So (6-4, 240)
Nick Davidson-Fr (6-2, 260)
SLB Erik Anderson-Sr (6-1, 225) Dominique Flower-Fr (6-1, 215)
MLB Brandon Brown-Sr (6-0, 230) Matt Robertson-So (6-1, 230)
WLB Tyson Smith-Sr (6-2, 240) Jamarr Buchanan-Jr (6-1, 230)
CB Henry Poullard-Sr (5-9, 165) DeAndre Jackson-So (6-0, 185)
CB Ellis Hobbs-Sr (5-9, 190) Broc Bebout-Jr (6-0, 190)
SS Nik Moser-Jr (6-0, 195) Caleb Berg-Fr (6-1, 195)
FS Steve Paris-Jr (6-1, 200) Gabe Bakker-Sr (6-2, 205)
P Tony Yelk-Sr (6-1, 200) Troy Blankenship-Jr (6-1, 190)




This entire area is of major concern, as all cogs from last year are gone- kicker, holder, and snapper have all moved on. Tony Yelk has a strong leg, but his accuracy is about as consistent as the wind speed/direction there in Ames. Unreliability in the kicking game puts added pressure on the offense to score and this offense already has enough of that.

Yelk's strong leg serves a better purpose punting the ball. He is one of the better placement-punters in the nation, evidenced by his 19 pins inside the 20. Protection must get better, though- the Cyclones had four punts blocked.

Return Game
Todd Miller is Iowa State's most prolific punt returner of all-time and has that natural burst that make all hold their breath until they see him pinned to the turf. Look for Hobbs and either Milan Moses (J.J.'s brother) and/or Terrance Highsmith to run back kick-offs.