One of the biggest problems last year for the Clones was the neverending pressure on quarterback Bret Meyer. Numerous times the offensive line, composed mainly of swiss cheese, let defenders into the backfield with regularity. However, there were also times when it seemed like we saw some mistakes out of Bret Meyer in terms of not seeing recievers downfield (or throwing downfield at all) as well as erratic pocket behavior.
New quarterbacks coach Tony Petersen, fresh off the tractor from the land of the Golden Gophers, mentioned to the AmesTrib that he feels that many of the sack problems we had last year can be put on Meyer.
A look at the stats shows that Meyer's sack totals actually decreased last year, from 39 to 37. However, both are much higher than his rookie total of 28. A line that had an all-Big 12 selection in Scott Stephenson and an NFL Draft Pick in Aaron Brant couldn't have been that bad, could it?
Quarterbacks coach Tony Petersen said another area where he wants to see Meyer is on preventing sacks. Petersen said more than 50 percent of sacks are the quarterback's fault, not the offensive line's.
"In the past I think Bret has taken way too many sacks. Who's fault? I don't know," Petersen said. "We don't have plans on that happening, but we're pushing hard to make sure our quarterbacks aren't standing back in the pocket."
Meyer's increased sack totals seem to go hand-in-hand with his decreased mobility. Much of what Iowa State fans were sold on during Bret's freshman year was his mobility and ability to run the ball when the play broke down. He wasn't going to be Seneca Wallace, nor was he expected to, but we saw glimpses of what he could do while splitting time with Austin Flynn (who was actually a more mobile quarterback that got sacked roughly 800 times during his quarterbacking career).
To me, Meyer has to adjust his game in a few ways to be more successful in 2007. First, he has to look downfield more. That part of his game evaporated in 2006 after working so well in 2005. Todd Blythe is good, he's big, and he can catch the ball. Throw it to him. Secondly, as strange as it sounds, he has to be more willing to scramble. The offensive line is an even bigger question mark than last year. If he wants to live to see next year, not to mention buying time, he has to be willing to move more than he did last year. I'm not saying anything the coaching staff isn't aware of, but it's stuff I'd like to see. The run game is a big question mark, but we have the horses to throw the ball 40 times a game if need be.
Petersen's worked magic with passing quarterbacks with running ability in Minnesota. He's a good coach. Hopefully he can hide away the Meyer from last year and bring back the promising gunslinger we saw at times in years prior.