NOTEBOOK: Seonbuchner takes change in stride, TCU strong on both sides of ball

Redshirt sophomore Sean Seonbuchner bobbles a pass during a game against the Kansas State Wildcats, Oct. 29 in Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones would go on to lose 31-26.

Jack Macdonald

As No. 25 Iowa State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) prepares to host No. 4 TCU, offensive coordinator Tom Manning, defensive coordinator Jon Heacock and Sam Seonbuchner, among other players, met with the media on Tuesday. 

Here are some key takeaways from Tuesday. 

Seonbuchner takes position change in stride

Seonbuchner came to Ames in 2014 as a linebacker, but now stars as the Cyclones’ starting fullback. Seonbuchner, possibly most known for his luscious locks, made the transition prior to this season and has embraced his offensive role. 

“It wasn’t too bad [to make the switch],” Seonbuchner said. “I’m still hitting people like I was at linebacker, it’s just learning how to block and the technique of being on offense.” 

It also helps that Seonbuchner had previous offensive experience in high school, but college football is a different beast. Although Seonbuchner has only touched the ball once, a five-yard catch, there are other facets of the game that he has excelled in. Most notably blocking. 

And the credit to the change is in large part thanks to coach Matt Campbell, although Manning jokingly wanted some of the credit as well. 

“Coach Campbell gets the credit on helping him move,” Manning said. “I like to take a little bit of it, but coach Campbell gets the credit for really moving him over and I kind of just saw a kid that is just tough.” 

And Seonbuchner sure is tough. He stands at 6-foot-3-inches and weighs at 232 pounds. Allen Lazard, Seonbuchner’s freshman year roommate, also felt strongly on the attributes that the Wisconsin native brings to the Cyclones offense. 

“A word to describe Seonbuchner? There’s so many that pop into my head,” Lazard said. “But I would just say grit.”

TCU defensive speed raises concern

The speed of the TCU defensive group is no secret to Iowa State, but it is still a big threat even though the Cyclones have watched it on film. 

One way to gas a defense is to keep them on the field longer. This past weekend Iowa State did that two times when they went for, and converted, two fourth downs. The first attempts resulted in a touchdown later in the drive, while the second resulted in a field goal. 

“We usually try to stay ahead of the schedule in the sense of just knowing when we get the ball, where is about that line where what do you have to get to on fourth down just to be in the conversation of that,” Manning said. 

But the Cyclones can drop in a new play each week to counteract the strengths of the opposing defenses. For example, last weekend against Texas Tech, the Iowa State receivers lined up in a stacked formation on both sides of the field. The play led to a Lazard touchdown and proved deadly when the opposing team was least suspecting it. 

“That was something going into the game; that’s something that we’ve done for a long time when the opportunity presents itself to do so,” Manning said. “We felt, and really coach [Bryan Gasser] was the guy kind of, ‘hey I think this is going to work.'”

Manning also added that they had been waiting to run that type of concept for several weeks, and the Texas Tech defense provided a perfect opportunity to break it out. 

TCU offense potent as any in the nation

A team isn’t ranked fourth in the country if they have a bad offense and for TCU, they have the exact opposite of that. The Horned Frogs are led by quarterback Kenny Hill. Hill has thrown for 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions so far this season. 

The TCU offense also averages 466.3 yards per game and in a three game stretch, knocked off Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Kansas State. But TCU, to their advantage, has a running back group just as deadly as any in the country. 

“They are [balanced],” Heacock said. “That’s why they’re ranked where they are. Tremendous from front to back and inside to outside.”

But the Iowa State defense has not backed down from any challenge this season and certainly won’t against TCU this weekend. 

“This will be a tremendous challenge for us,” Heacock said. “This will be a run down hill offense. We’re going to have to tackle in space and physically put our bodies on people.”