LB Alvin Bowen

2006 Statistics

Coach: Gene Chizik
1st year
2006 Record: 4-8
TOLEDO WON 45-43 (3OT)
UNLV WON 16-10
at Iowa LOST 17-27
at Texas LOST 14-37
at Oklahoma LOST 9-34
at Kansas State LOST 10-31
at Colorado LOST 16-33

2006 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2007 Outlook

Changes in Ames were desperately needed – even though the Cyclones under now-departed Dan McCarney won their first two bowl games ever, they also went 55-84 overall (26-67 in Big 12) in his school-record 12 year tenure. Not even ISU’s 21-16 upset over resurgent Mizzu to end ‘06 was enough to salvage their 4-8 season that endured a six-game skid before the finale. The nine-game span that saw each foe score at least 27 points seems glaringly why Gene Chizik was hired from his post as Texas’ DC and given his first head coaching opportunity. Also marginal (at best) on their offensive front, new OC Robert McFarland’s hire is to ostensibly affect that dimension most in retooling how State’s scoring attack will work. Progress in spring camp reflected how much further, so far, the offense has come than the defense. But with a guy like Chizik knowing just what it takes to succeed defensively in this tough conference (while the Longhorn’s DC/asst. head coach, he won the Frank Broyles Award as nation’s top assistant), we expect it is just a matter of time before a turnaround occurs. And, yes, how long that turnaround takes will define this version of Iowa State football. See, under solid senior Bret Meyer and McFarland, the offensive dimensions should stay steady and even improve, so it is the Cyclone’s stopping ability that will be most pivotal toward results. To be more precise, the secondary’s continued struggles this spring will keep the Cardinal-and-Gold faithful tentative until they prove they are playing at a competitive (BCS) level. Luckily, Chizik’s specialty is DBs - what could prove his prowess more this way than his coaching of the last three Thorpe Award winners? The first four games offer a nice, workable mix of foes that will be perfect for easing State along with their developing talent(s). But the next five after that constitute just about the toughest span any team might see at the I-A level this season. Fans who want results right away should realize that by slowly building the fundamentals that were so lacking last year, their Cyclones will soon be back challenging for their conference half on an annual basis. Like most teams that reformulate themselves, progress probably won’t be seen immediately via their win total, but wins won’t accurately measure what is being accomplished and what is needed most here in 2007.

Projected 2007 record: 4-8
QB Bret Meyer
QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 3 LB - 3.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 2
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Bret Meyer, 211-374-12, 2546 yds., 12 TD

Rushing: Bret Meyer, 137 att., 177 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Todd Blythe, 34 rec., 484 yds., 8 TD

Scoring: Bret Culbertson, 8-11 FG, 24-24 PAT, 48 pts.

Punting: Mike Brandtner, 56 punts, 41.2 avg.

Kicking: Bret Culbertson, 8-11 FG, 24-24 PAT, 48 pts.

Tackles: Alvin Bowen, 155 tot., 92 solo

Sacks: Rashawn Parker, 3 sacks

Interceptions: Chris Singleton, 2 for 5 yds.

Kickoff returns: Milan Moses, 15 ret., 21.7 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: R.J. Sumrall, 6 ret., 3.7 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Ryan Kock-RB, Stevie Hicks-RB, Jon Davis-WR, Austin Flynn-WR, Walter Nickel-TE, Scott Fisher-OT, Seth Zehr-OG, Scott Stephenson-C, Aaron Brant-OT, Ryan Baum-PR
DEFENSE: Shawn Moorehead-DE, Brent Curvey-DT, DeAndre Jackson-CB, Tyrone McKenzie-MLB (transferred)

The new sheriff is Robert McFarland, and as both coordinator and offensive line coach, we can see vast improvements and just how effective this offense will soon be. Success has occurred at all of his stops, though he has never really coached much for any BCS-aligned schools. Luckily, he gets senior Bret Meyer to lead his charge. This guy is the only reason ISU didn’t go 0-12. Also their main ball carrier in ‘06, the senior will still be seen on the run, but not quite as often. McFarland will capitalize on his throwing ability from the pocket more now. Local product Austen Arnaud (Gatorade Player of the Year) is still a bit too raw to excel if he was forced to start, but as Meyer’s understudy, their relationship will pay huge dividends down the road. The passing game should hold its own and even thrive with improvements to the running game soon to come. That promise is due to J.J. Bass’ imminent impact. As the top available junior college RB, his size-strength-speed combination is their best hope for the most improvement to their 99th ranked running unit. The junior Jason’s - Scales and Harris – aren’t bad by any stretch. But besides Harris’ big run in the spring game, neither has shown the full arsenal needed to take the team to any next levels. FB/HB Derrick Catlett, when inserted this spring, really made things click on the ground, so we expect he will be seen in two-back sets. Senior TE Ben Barkema will see his role expand under McFarland – he was used poignantly before and has the wares to make this spot really shine (though it could go way of the FB/HB as the offense reveals itself come September). 6’5 playmaker and all-conference receiver Todd Blythe, the lone returning starter, can expect more double-teams, which will make room for fellow starters Sumrall, Moses and (yes) backup Messiah to capitalize on Meyer’s abilities. As stated, questions along their much maligned line represent the biggest area of concern for this offense. Even with Meyer’s speed, he was sacked 38 times for 244 lost yards, and along with the Cyclone’s three yards per carry average, we see why McFarland was Chizik’s choice. Junior Tom Schmeling (descendent of boxer Max) and soph Reggie Stephens are the only lettermen amongst the two-deep, which could be a good thing as a somewhat cleaned house means starting fresh. The new tackles should hold up OK, and the OL depth is promising, too. But the one area still needing major developments is at center – Brandon Johnson has struggled here but holds the starting slot, for now. Both he and Anthony Walker have yet to see a I-A snap, so shaky is a good way to describe the coaches’ attitude(s) about this position. The line will have a better showing, and just how much better could be one of the differences between finishing above or below .500.


WR Todd Blythe


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Bret Meyer-Sr (6-3, 205) Austen Arnaud-Fr (6-3, 225)
RB Jason Scales-Jr (5-9, 220) Jason Harris-Jr (5-11, 210)
WR Todd Blythe-Sr (6-5, 210) Marquis Hamilton-So (6-3, 220)
WR R.J. Sumrall-Jr (6-1, 200) Euseph Messiah-Jr (5-10, 175)
WR Milan Moses-Sr (6-1, 205) Houston Jones-So (6-1, 185)
TE/HB Ben Barkema-Sr (6-3, 255) Derrick Catlett-So (6-4, 251)
OT Doug Dedrick-So (6-4, 275) Matt Hulbert-Fr (6-7, 280)
OG Reggie Stephens-So (6-3, 325) Joe Blaes-Jr (6-2, 300)
C Brandon Johnson-Jr (6-3, 310) Anthony Walker-Sr (6-2, 290)
OG Tom Schmeling-Jr (6-3, 295) Alex Alvarez-So (6-2, 290)
OT Lee Tibbs-Sr (6-4, 315) Ben Lamaak-Fr (6-4, 295)
K Bret Culbertson-Sr (6-6, 180) Josh Griebahn-Sr (5-8, 207)



As a defensive specialist, coach Chizik and his new staff have their work cut out after State finished either last or second-to-last in the Big 12 for every major defensive category. Just like on offense, much talent is already here and just needs to be honed. Enter coordinator Wayne Bolt, whose unlikely successes at UAB and Troy have Chizik high for his promise at this BCS level. The centerpiece of the D is All-American LB Alvin Bowen on the weakside, last year’s top tackler for all 119 teams at this level (92 solo tackles without playing in a bowl). Like the entire linebacking corps, “Ace” plays light and fast to fit perfectly into the new “Tampa Two” defense now embraced here. You will know when the defense is back to playing at a higher level when Bowen doesn’t have to play such a crazed, reckless approach to where he can stay in his area and allow others to again handle theirs, though that former style fits into the new scheme well, if/when needed. Unfortunately, his partner in grime (McKenzie) transferred again (came here from Michigan State), taking his 129 tackles, four forced fumbles and promise in the middle with him. Fledging true sophs Fred Garrin and Jesse Smith have shared time there this spring - Garrin has the speed in coverage, but Smith has the toughness/size for stopping Big 12 rushing attacks. Coaches hope JUCO-transfer Mike Bibbs can be the consummate MLB needed since he has both qualities and more experience at the collegiate level. Ex-safety Jon Banks is ready to go out at Category Five after stepping into the SAM role as well as he did last year. Banks’ and Bowen’s leadership will, along with junior Adam Carper’s return from knee troubles, bring this unit to where it needs to be for Chizik’s plans to be effective. Those plans are in question in breaking down ISU’s struggles to make a formidable line to play at this league’s level. One bright spot sees senior Bryce Braaksma able to handle his role at the (three technique) tackle spot – his streamlined look has proven to hold up surprisingly well inside. Depth behind Braaksma is new to this level but plentiful, which is different than at NT where Ahtyba Rubin is a solid No.1. “Tuba” looked visibly stronger in spring ball than he did last November. But behind Rubin, Chizik’s want for healthy and frequent rotations of bigmen may make stopping power suffer. The idea in the Tampa Two scheme is to line the DEs up extra wide so as to make the OTs have to spread out more in lateral space to keep them from getting the corner as they move toward the QB. Ex-roundballer Rashawn Parker’s showing in just his true freshman campaign as a solid DE proves how important his speedy abilities are for the line to meet its/their potential. Just as vital is Kurtis Taylor’s return from the knee injury/surgery that kept him sidelined all of ’06. Taylor was stiff and only at about 90% this spring, and that he is still well ahead of backup and classmate Travis Ferguson could spell trouble. The 260-something linemen behind Braaksma are a’ plenty, and if one of them can prove to hold down that DT spot, Braaksma can bump to help outside. The glass seems half full up front, but still half empty amongst the DBs. The 283 passing yards on just 15 completions given up in the spring game shows their 115th-ranked pass (efficiency) defense remains suspect, though, talent is there to possibly make things somewhat better by fall. Corner Devin McDowell’s legal troubles have him on the outs with Coach, and losing him would genuinely diminish the secondary’s depth. When in, he’s the team’s best prospect at shutting down a side. Junior Chris Singleton is more physical and takes make-or-break chances that cost as often as they pay off. West Des Moines’ Zac Sandvig was the guy who lined up opposite Singleton in the spring game, so depth issues are somewhat murky while the best two and/or three cover guys are sought by fall. Steve Johnson seems better back at safety than he was at corner as just a frosh, and classmate James Smith in front of him represents a strength. The same quality two-deep is in place at strong safety with upperclassmen smackers Berg and Hunley already broken-in. With the Tampa Two allowing safeties to play way back mostly in a two-deep, the recent forfeiture of 26 aerial scores likely will be diminished. It will take more time on this side of scrimmage to adjust to the subtleties of their new system, but the eight returning starters give promise that the revampings can (eventually) equal some meaningful stopping power.


CB Chris Singleton


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Kurtis Taylor-Jr (6-2, 255) Travis Ferguson-Jr (6-5, 250)
NG Ahtyba Rubin-Sr (6-3, 325) Nate Frere-So (6-2, 310)
DT Bryce Braaksma-Sr (6-3, 255) Nick Howe-Sr (6-3, 260)
DE Rashawn Parker-So (6-0, 250) Nick Frere-Jr (6-2, 245)
SLB Jon Banks-Sr (6-2, 220) Adam Carper-Jr (6-3, 216)
Derec Schmidgall-So (6-1, 223)
MLB Fred Garrin-So (6-1, 220) Jesse Smith-So (6-0, 235)
WLB Alvin Bowen-Sr (6-2, 220) Matt Leaders-Fr (6-0, 210)
CB Drenard Williams-So (5-11, 175) Devin McDowell-Fr (5-9, 175)
Zac Sandvig-Fr (5-10, 183)
CB Chris Singleton-Jr (5-10, 195) Chris Brown-Jr (5-10, 175)
SS Caleb Berg-Sr (6-1, 205) Brandon Hunley-Jr (5-11, 205)
FS James Smith-So (5-8, 195) Steve Johnson-So (5-11, 200)
P Mike Brandtner-So (6-1, 210) Connor McMahon-Fr (5-11, 225)




The Cyclone kicking units have proven to be a bright spot – their 49th-ranked net results last year from then-freshman Mike Brandtner’s 44th-ranked efforts mean they have the ability to win tough field position battles. Likewise, senior kicker Bret Culbertson’s perfect collegiate record for PATs and his 76% rate at making field goals gives Chizik a sure upper hand even from outside the 30. The return chores are in R.J. Sumrall’s hands, though, Milan Moses is again ready to pick up the mantle on kickoffs when needed.