Cyclone secondary showing signs of growth at fall camp


Collin Maguire/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers warms up on the sideline during the Cyclones’ 27-17 loss to Iowa in the Iowa Corn CyHawk Series on Sept. 11, 2021.

With the first game of the 2022-2023 season only two weeks away, fall camp is beginning to intensify for the Iowa State football team.

The Cyclones began fall camp with media day on Aug. 2 followed by multiple practices and sessions throughout the weeks to talk with the media.

On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, select coaches and players discussed their fall camp progress and what to expect for the upcoming season.

Tuesday began with interviews with quarterbacks coach Joel Gordon, and safeties coach Dean Broomfield. Starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers and defensive back Beau Freyler were then brought in to talk about their headway for the season.

Quarterback situation

Although the starting quarterback is set, Gordon stated the current backup quarterback status is “unsettled” and “day to day.” Potential players in line for the spot are freshman Rocco Becht, redshirt freshman Ashton Cook and junior Nate Glantz.

According to Gordon, there is great competition in the quarterback room.

“I’m excited about that group…they work at it every single day,” Gordon said.

Gordon said that Becht’s been working hard and that he has shown growth from the spring to the fall.

“There were so many little things he was uncomfortable with…the beginning of fall camp it was like man there’s been a big growth,” Gordon said.

Both Becht and Cook have shown more confidence throughout fall camp with getting in more reps being a large factor. The two grew up in a football family as their fathers were coaches along with playing in the NFL.

“You learn how a quarterback is supposed to lead,” Gordon said when discussing the importance of growing up in that type of environment.

Gordon said Becht has a similar skill set to former starting quarterback Brock Purdy but will need to improve the running game in order to reach the level of Purdy.

Glantz brings a strong arm and run to the field.

“He’s capable of extending plays and turning a broken play into something big,” Gordon said.

Dekkers is in his third training camp and continues to learn and improve daily.

“You have to give him a ton of credit for what he’s put into it and learned in his time that he hasn’t been the starting quarterback,” Gordon said.

Additionally, Gordon says they have put a lot onto Dekkers plate in order to see how much he can handle. “He has the ability to be the total package,” Gordon said.

Having not been on the field much previously, Dekkers feels that there are certain parts of his game that are underrated and that will be “on display” this season.

Additionally, Dekkers is focusing on the transformation of his body. Nutrition and being in the weight room will help Dekkers to be quicker and faster on the field.

“There are some big dudes on that field,” Dekkers said.

With that, Dekkers has taken on a leadership role which he learned from former teammate Brock Purdy.

“He taught me to take every single day one day at a time. That’s something that I’ll carry with me forever.”

New look secondary

Broomfield discussed his defensive group having “a lot of new faces.”

“There’s been a lot of growth so far, but we have to continue to push through…I expect nothing but excellence [on the field],” Broomfield said.

Freyler and redshirt senior Anthony Johnson Jr. are expected to be the starting defensive backs this season.

Malik Verdon, Trevon Howard and Treyveon McGee are potential players for the third spot of safeties. Broomfield said he’s been trying to see if they can “hang with those guys.”

Nonetheless, Broomfield said everybody still has to be ready to play.

Verdon has had a mindset shift according to Broomfield and has grown a lot in places that take “no talent” such as being in the film room and figuring out his approach to the game.

Johnson Jr. has been learning different techniques as he changed positions from corner to safety.

“He looks really comfortable in the position,” Broomfield said.

Along with Broomfield, Freyler referred to the group of safeties as a “completely new room” but that it is a “great blend.” Competition between both young and new guys is another large aspect in the safety room.

Freyler has focused on getting more reps and getting to feel the speed of the game. Additionally, he describes himself as a player who gives 100 percent effort and continuously does his job.

When asked what Freyler’s biggest adjustment has been since coming to Iowa State, the sophomore’s response was being by himself and not having family nearby.

Remsburg hopes to return for the opener

On Thursday, offensive line coach Jeff Myers and cornerbacks coach Matt Caponi discussed their thoughts about fall camp so far. Offensive lineman Darrell Simmons and defensive back Darien Porter also talked with the media.

Through the first half of fall camp, Myers says he’s happy with how the offensive line is looking. “Day to day you see improvement,” Myers said.

The offensive line group is close to being injury free. Offensive lineman Jake Remsburg is day to day with an injury that Myers did not comment on. Myers says his goal for Remsburg right now is to get him ready for week one of the season.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Maro is a player Myers is excited about particularly related to the growth that he has made.

Trevor Downing also impresses Myers. Myers said Downing leads by example and knows when the room needs a spark.

“He doesn’t say a whole lot, but he doesn’t have to,” Myers said.

Defensive lineman Isaiah Lee and Downing have been going against each other during fall camp.

“It’s been a dog fight every day,” Myers said.

Offensive lineman Darrell Simmons Jr. said other than having some younger guys, things have felt the same and that the younger players have impressed him.

Cornerbacks are “hungry”

Caponi said he has been pleased with the progress he’s seen in the room over the last two weeks. “They’re hungry and they’re coachable, ” Caponi said.

Caponi said his group is always coaching and correcting one another and that each guy has taken on a leadership role.

“We’re going to need everybody in that room,” Caponi said.

More than any group Caponi has had in the past, his cornerback group gets into the film room and cares for one another. Porter has moved from the offensive to the defensive side of the field, switching from wide receiver to defensive back.

“It’s been a fun transition,” Porter said.

Being a six-foot corner is not something you see very often. However, Porter says that is an advantage along with the speed that he has.

Although new to him, Porter has been enjoying being a corner and enjoys the challenge.

“It’s a new chance to help the team out,” Porter said.