WR Todd Blythe

2005 Statistics

Coach: Dan McCarney
52-77,11 years
2005 Record: 7-5
at Army WON 28-21
at Nebraska LOST 20-27 (2OT)
at Missouri LOST 24-27 (OT)
at Texas A&M WON 42-14
at Kansas LOST 21-24 (OT)
vs. TCU LOST 24-27

2005 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2006 Outlook

The ball began rolling last year for this upcoming campaign. After shocking Iowa, four losses (three of which happened in their next three games) – by a total of 19 points – kept Iowa State from being a serious player in the national race. Then the Houston Bowl loss to TCU left a horrible off-season aftertaste for fans heading into this campaign. Though they never rose very high in the rankings, the groundwork by McCarney & Co. was laid.

QB Meyer was one of the country’s biggest surprises, but “dual-threat Bret” won’t sneak up on any foes after raising his game to the next level (29th in efficiency, 33rd in total offense). Still, with 10 starters returning, they will turn up the offensive volume another notch in ’06. The worries are on defense. A new-look secondary could cost ISU, but DB coach Chris Ash has done more with less in his tenure here, so expect any revampings to hold water quickly. The front seven was set to carry the defense until the dismissal of two big timers (Berryman and Robertson) threw a major wrench into the equation. With the offense ready to go ballistic, the defense needed only to contain the opponent to a certain degree. This formula may have gone out the window with the dismissals and will likely cost Iowa State a chance at cracking many preseason Top 25s.

Trips to Kinnick (stadium) and Austin come in the third and fourth weeks, respectively; then Nebraska, and (at) Oklahoma and Texas Tech consecutively will define whether ISU makes any national statement. It would be another big surprise if they can garner even two wins out of those five tilts, though all should see State in these tilts til late into the second halves. But the season is easily salvaged as the Cyclones close with four Big XII North foes, and a later surge for their half’s crown has been a trend in Ames. Though loaded with talent, this squad just doesn’t have the depth to push this envelope. Still, keep an eye on this team, for they will be extremely competitive, regardless, week in and week out. Heck, just watch Meyer to see one of the nation’s most exciting players further develop into a probable/viable NFL prospect.

Projected 2006 record: 7-5
QB Bret Meyer
QB - 4 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 2.5
WR - 5 DB - 2
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Bret Meyer, 368-227-10, 2876 yds., 19 TD

Rushing: Stevie Hicks, 149 att., 545 yds., 4 TD

Receiving: Todd Blythe, 51 rec., 1000 yds., 9 TD

Scoring: Ryan Kock, 13 TD, 78 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Bret Culbertson, 12-16 FG, 34-34 PAT, 70 pts.

Tackles: Brent Curvey, 61 tot., 32 solo

Sacks: Brent Curvey, 6.5 sacks

Interceptions: DeAndre Jackson, 5 for 18 yds.

Kickoff returns: DeAndre Jackson, 24 ret., 24.6 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: R.J. Sumrall, 15 ret., 7.7 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Kory Pence-OG, Johannes Egbers-OT
DEFENSE: Cephus Johnson-DE, Nick Leaders-NG, Jamarr Buchanan-SLB, Tim Dobbins-MLB, LaMarcus Hicks-CB, Nik Moser-SS, Steve Paris-FS, Troy Blankenship-P, Matt Robertson-WLB (dismissed), DE Jason Berryman-DE (dismissed)

One of last years biggest surprise, though with hindsight we now realize he was just fulfilling his destiny, was Bret Meyer. Now a junior, Meyer took off as the dual threat he is to quietly rank 29th in passing efficiency. At 6’4 (he grew an inch since coming in), he runs a 4.5-40, so the Atlantic-native towers over onrushing defenders to deliver, or he just decides to and then runs by them (averages about 10 carries a game over last two seasons). His decision making was what has taken him to this next level. “He was just so much better as a sophomore than he was as a freshman,” beams head coach Dan McCarney, “I know that he can get even better and I believe that he will because of his pride, work ethic and accountability as a leader.” Houston Jones and this year’s No.5 dual-threat QB Austen Arnaud are the closest thing ISU has to quality backups, though a few other fleet-footed hurlers dot the roster. Any of them would constitute a huge step back for the potential of the offense. But since no other QB saw any action last year, the backup QB situation needs attention and is wide open until further notice. The Cyclones have nothing developed past Meyer if he goes down to injury. As long as he is healthy, the sky is the limit for State.

Running Back
Injuries really hampered the developments here in ’05, but a healthy spring will lead to much better production, especially with Meyer as a distraction. Stevie Hicks will both bowl defenders over and run right by them with his deceptive speed. He has had the mantle since his first eligible game (red shirted), and there is no reason to think he can not be all-Big XII again (2004 Honorable Mention). Junior Greg Coleman has the same type of power and speed but has not realized his huge upside yet. The task will become more difficult now that he has been suspended from the team for violating team rules. Somewhat shorter but just as tough, Jason Scales was out all of 2005, but this Dean’s-List-er is expected to have impact here, too, and be a leader (2000+ as a prep senior). Then there is the real meat of the group, Ryan Kock. This true FB lost no yards on his 54 tries, and scored 13 TDs as McCarney will continue to bank on him again in goal-line spots. This unit should soar above the 2.7 yards it tallied per carry and rank much higher than 96th, getting the offense back to playing “traditional” Cyclone ball.

Seniors Austin Flynn and Jon Davis will lead a veteran group that is deep as well as full of role players. Ex-QB Flynn seems to be the underneath guy who gets the most action with his 4.6 speed. Since he has played behind center as a Cyclone, foes shouldn’t rule that out as his role in any trick(y) plays. Davis, at 6’4” the team’s biggest target, also is used on shorter routes, but has the potential to stretch the field if given the chance. Todd Blythe sees the rock come his way nearly as much as Flynn, but coaches like for him to be sent deep and win “jump balls” for maximum yardage (19.6 per catch). This all-American (Honorable Mention, NC.net) is their best receiver and is also the leader he needs to be to make this entire unit better. R.J. Sumrall brings the most athleticism. He is going to see many more balls come his way, and the Winter Park, FL-native will get YAC all day (39.97 300m hurdles and 22ft. long jump in prep) until stopped. Ryan Baum is another senior leader who will see more time, but the depth chart still needs more second- and third-teamers to prove that injuries will not decimate this top-heavy three-WR corps. With Meyer making sure the ball is distributed rather evenly, this group can only get better.

Tight End
State is proficient at sending their TEs down field for optimal effects. Junior Ben Barkema and senior (HB) JUCO-transfer Walter Nickel both make safeties nervous with such great hands and speed, but, according to McCarney, both have to become the blockers needed so the running game can excel. “They need to continue to get bigger and stronger and to get more weight on them. I don't care about being pretty out there. This is about getting stronger and more physical and more dominant as blocker.”

Offensive Line
The biggest dividend of last year’s learning curve will be paid off via (at least) four seniors back to start up front. This is why many have ISU ranked in their top 25’s, but also why they aren’t garnering placement(s) much higher than around 20th. This unit gave up 39 sacks and only forged their paltry (2.7) average per rush. Still, the talent exists in those returning starters to live up to their collective potentials and make this a formidable crew of Cyclone power. RG Seth Zehr, a Big XII all-academic, has the pedigree to lead a resurgence and seems to be the quickest of this beefy bunch. Center Scott Stephenson is another smarty who needs to learn from mistakes and his time at Minnesota. Twins Paul and Scott Fisher also have to take lessons from past tenures (both were in JUCO, then at BYU) to heed, and success at the lower level gives them promise at their shared outside LT spot. Scott has played better and will most likely get the starting slot to protect Meyer’s blind side, though Paul was rated higher coming in. Aaron Brant has started every game but two since coming here and will solidify the outside. What we note is that each is 300+lbs., and the mobility/speed of Meyer may be too much so that they cannot protect him properly when the offense is (in) spread (mode). Play calls have to be designed to maximize this Iowa State size advantage, so in their version of the spread, making more of two-back and/or two-TE sets and therefore more out of fundamental running plays that play to this line’s strength (literally) will go a long way toward having such ground work set up the pass.

The running game is the primary dimension being focused upon as they enter the fall, and rightfully so after such a dismal effort – mostly due to the best RBs being injured – from ’05 (ranked 96th). The sizeable line has its work cut out for them, but teams will not be able to pin their ears back (so to speak) and just pass rush due to no quality backs being available and things here will definitely improve. Like the line, the RBs we will see are big, abundant and worthy of foes respect, or else. Balance is the key for any spread to work, and Meyer has the mind and body to make both offensive facets work just by making the right decisions as he touches every snap. Meyer and nine other returning starters on this side of the ball are why we see ISU so highly regarded, and as he goes, so will go the team’s destiny. A deep corps of receivers (Blythe especially) and a pair of soft-handed TEs means the passing game will do damage, making it up to the line to live up to its potential so all can click simultaneously. Oh, by the way, note to foes – if they are in third/fourth-and-short or on the goal line, Kock is getting the ball (13 TDs, no yards lost on his 54 tries in ‘05), and if you can make him lose any yards this season while stopping Meyer, you have truly stopped ISU’s offense.


C Scott Stephenson


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Bret Meyer-Jr (6-3, 208) Kyle Van Winkle-Sr (6-6, 217)
FB Ryan Kock-Sr (6-1, 239) Steven Ebner-Jr (5-10, 229)
IB Stevie Hicks-Sr (6-1, 212) Jason Harris-So (5-11, 201)
Jason Scales-So (5-9, 209)
WR Todd Blythe-Jr (6-5, 210) R.J. Sumrall-So (6-1, 200)
WR Jon Davis-Sr (6-4, 200) Milan Moses-Jr (6-1, 190)
Ryan Baum-Jr (5-10, 190)
WR Austin Flynn-Sr (6-1, 200) Marquis Hamilton-Fr (6-3, 215)
TE Ben Barkema-Jr (6-3, 245) Walter Nickel-Sr (6-3, 235)
OT Scott Fisher-Sr (6-7, 335) Landon Streit-Fr (6-5, 305)
OG Seth Zehr-Sr (6-6, 300) Tom Schmeling-So (6-3, 290)
C Scott Stephenson-Sr (6-4, 305) Bastian Schober-Jr (6-2, 305)
OG Paul Fisher-Sr (6-7, 325) Reggie Stephens-Fr (6-4, 315)
OT Aaron Brant-Sr (6-7, 320) John Tjaden-Jr (6-7, 305)
K Bret Culbertson-Jr (6-6, 179) Chris Mahoski-Fr (5-11, 172)
Steven King-Fr (5-11, 208)



Defensive Line
DE Shawn Moorehead has to spearhead this pass rush since Jason Berryman was dismissed from the team for a second and final time. Ouch, Berryman was set to make this front unit one of the best in the conference. Inside, senior Brent Curvey had 6.5 sacks himself, a testament to how this line works together – if one (or more) guy gets double-teamed, the others produce, no matter what the play call. Unfortunately, the team has little depth, though Kurtis Taylor and Bryce Braaksma have the athleticism to make an impact. If no one steps up from the unknowns, Moorehead and Curvey will not be able to make 60 minutes worth of superior effort(s), and (what was in ’05) the nation’s 12th rated run stopping unit will drop enough to make team results suffer, too.

The defense took a second major hit when senior Matt Robertson was also dismissed from the team this spring. Double Ouch! Another smarty (Dean’s List) has made a name for himself after one year – ex-DB Adam Carper. The Calindra-native worked his way into the starting MLB role given the loss of Robertson, and he only has to prove himself in the box before he finds his huge potential. Alvin Bowen is also smallish at WILL, but plays the run instinctually well. There is more quality depth and speed here with ex-DE Josh Raven (though also small, which is why he has been converted) and ex-DB Brandon Hunley. Michigan State-transfer and sophomore Tyrone McKenzie (has) looked great in winter/spring workouts, as well as ripping the ISU offense a new one as a standout on scout team throughout ‘05. “Those are our top five right now,” says McCarney, “and even though we lack [some] experience [at specific assignments/positions], there is some real athleticism that (defensive coordinator) John Skladany is real excited about.” We only worry that the unit’s impact with its overall smallish stature will affect results against those quality in-conference foes, of which they will see plenty this season.

Defensive Back
Senior DeAndre Jackson is the lone piece of this section’s puzzle that will be built around to give ISU a rather new look. The well-sized ex-QB has really taken to his post at corner, and is as good at tackling and making big plays to prevent YAC and/or the run (four forced fumbles) as he is in coverage(s). The other DB slots are wide open and spring will tell all. Caleb Berg, all-Academic Big XII, has a huge upside and has seen the field on gameday. He could play anywhere in the secondary. Safety Jon Banks (also on State’s track team) has proven enough as a hard-hitter so that he will likely get the early nod, and CB Chris Singleton, a Ft. Myers (FL) product (2A all-state), saw time as a true frosh. Most of the DB talent, including what we have just listed, has seen the most time on special teams, so this ungelled area will dictate how well the entire D holds up. The ability for them to continue the trend of keeping the play(s) in front of them will be the key (82nd in pass defense, but 20th in the all-important efficiency category). With realistic expectations, this crew should do better than most think they will, and the early non-cons will allow them to settle in.

Defense is a huge part of why the Cyclones have garnered such respect heading into this campaign. However, the defense is now left reeling after having two of their best three playmakers (Berryman and Robertson) get dismissed from the team. Had these two been able to stick around, the overall team outlook could have put them in a Top 25 position. But now the defense is left with nothing but question marks when combined with the large array of graduation losses. It will all come down to how well secondary coach Chris Ash does with his unit’s new look. Ash has done well making annual turnover work, so we feel confident his unit can excel. The talent on the line is confirmed with Curvey and Moorehead, so the pass rush, should allow the DBs to gain an upper hand without needing to play over their heads. Another major variable, as with so many teams, will be the health of the starters. Injuries on the line to those proven bigmen would devastate results. The last variable is TOs, and ISU tied for fourth in the nation in 2005 with 35 (T-3rd with 22 INTs) after ranking 12th in 2004. You can see the trend that needs to be kept alive this way, but their INT numbers seem destined to go down, huh. In the Big XII North, ISU could start slow here, but with OU, Texas, Texas Tech and Iowa all lined up early, the Cyclones have their work cut out for them. Effectiveness here will go a long way toward making the offense relax – if the O is forced to win shootouts, the season will not play out like State fans wish.


DT Brent Curvey


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Kurtis Taylor-Jr (6-3, 250) Nick Frere-So (6-2, 240)
NG Stephon Dale-Fr (6-3, 255) Jason McGinty-So (6-0, 300)
DT Brent Curvey-Sr (6-0, 305) Bryce Braaksma-Jr (6-4, 260)
DE Shawn Moorehead-Sr (6-3, 250) Travis Ferguson-So (6-5, 245)
SLB Tyrone McKenzie-So (6-2, 230) ..
MLB Adam Carper-So (6-3, 225) Jesse Smith-Fr (6-0, 230)
WLB Alvin Bowen-Jr (6-4, 220) Josh Raven-Fr (5-11, 205)
CB DeAndre Jackson-Sr (6-0, 192) Chris Brown-So (5-11, 180)
CB Chris Singleton-So (5-10, 191) Steve Johnson-Fr (6-2, 197)
SS James Smith-Fr (5-8, 191) Caleb Berg-Jr (6-1, 203)
FS Jon Banks-Jr (6-3, 217) Brandon Hunley-So (5-11, 195)
P Michael Brandtner-Fr (6-1, 198) Scott Krava-Jr (6-0, 202)




Bret Culberson will enter his junior year as a scholarship player for the first time, which says alot. His long of 45 just doesn’t sit well. His 12-for-16 performance in ’05, though respected by coaches enough to get him a free education, still means he has to defend his starting nod every day of spring ball with so many other power kickers wanting his job. “I would like to see him develop on the strength of his leg, not only on kick-offs, but also the length of his field goals,” says McCarney. The kickoff job should land with one of the other wanna-be’s. Coverage here will again be strong with so many hungry DBs/LBs needing to prove worth.

Mike Brandtner has the team’s strongest leg and the job based on both fall (’05) and bowl practices. But he has yet to see the field on gameday, so the job remains “officially” open until Toledo shows up, and possibly beyond that. Net results, though ISU had the nation’s 25th-ranked punter in ’05, were not nearly as good, but that should turn around.

Return Game
Sumrall (punts) and DeAndre Jackson (KOs) will be back, and each has the potential to make this a huge year on special teams for ISU’s return game. Ryan Baum should figure into either facet, so State seems well equipped to make even more impact here, too.