Cyclone offense shows improvement in spring training


Tyler Coe

Hunter Dekkers hands the ball of to Eli Sanders during a 14-10 loss against Texas Tech on Nov. 19, 2022

Hailey Dohnal, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa State football wrapped up its sixth spring practice Tuesday, and media availability consisted of the offensive side of the field.  

Offensive coordinator Nate Scheelhaase, quarterback Hunter Dekkers and running back Jirehl Brock discussed how they have progressed so far throughout the spring season. 

Scheelhaase is in his first season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Iowa State after being more focused on the running backs and wide receiver side of things in previous seasons. 

“He is a very relationship-oriented coach,” Dekkers said. “Building a relationship with each person really makes people build belief and makes everyone play for each other.” 

Something Scheelhaase has enjoyed about his new position is being able to work together as an offense to see what works, what doesn’t and bringing all ideas to the table. 

“It’s been cool to have guys with different experiences come into the fold,” Scheelhaase said. “Just the type of men they are has been inspiring.” 

On the running back side, Brock played in 10 games in the 2022-23 season after battling injuries for a majority of the time. He also missed the last two games of the season due to a broken foot. 

“It’s hard to go through adversity like that,” Scheelhaase said about Brock’s injuries. 

However, Scheelhaase said one of the main changes he has seen not only in Brock but with the running back group in general is their transformations in the weight room. 

According to Scheelhaase, players like Brock and Cartevious Norton have dialed into their nutrition and really focused on being the best player they can be on the field. 

“They have more urgency to get their bodies to get themselves ready for the season,” Scheelhaase said. “They all have a level of physicality that they bring to the table.” 

Furthermore, Brock has been able to be explosive and get reps in. 

“It’s been kind of a slow process,” Brock said. “The past four months it’s just been a bunch of rehab.” 

However, Brock said he feels about 90 percent healed and is focused on getting back into things like running and getting reps in. 

“I really didn’t get the opportunity to get out and help the team,” Brock said about last season. “I can learn lessons from it. It will help me later on in life just knowing how to overcome something like that.” 

As for continuing to stay healthy, Brock knows what comes with the sport of football but will do what he can to stay in good shape. 

When it comes to the quarterback position, Scheelhaase said he has enjoyed being able to watch back the film from last year and being able to see why Dekkers made some of the decisions he made in certain situations. 

“Really just to be able to dial back into what we’re trying to do, how we’re trying to execute…and honestly to get out on the field and get reps,” Scheelhaase said about the importance of spring training. 

Furthermore, interceptions were something that Dekkers struggled with last season, as he ended the season with 14. However, Scheelhaase said there can be a number of reasons for a turnover and each one needs to be evaluated on their own. 

“We talk a lot less about avoiding interceptions and more about making great decisions,” Scheelhaase said. 

Dekkers said when it comes to goals during the spring season, he is focused on the small details that come within the quarterback position along with wanting to become a better leader.

“Just building belief in having your teammates have belief in you I think is what really builds leadership,” Dekkers said.