Iowa State’s 3-3-5 system has been the talk of the country, shutting down the potent Air Raid offenses of the Big 12 Conference
the Cyclones look to create matchups that put their defenders in the best position as opposed to reacting to what the offense does. This can be accomplished in several ways, but Iowa State’s efforts largely center around two positions – their third safety and SAM linebacker.
the Cyclones can realistically line up with anywhere from two to four linebackers on any given play. That allows Iowa State to constantly have eight capable defenders against the pass from down to down, as opposed to a four-man front that limits a team to at most seven.
The Cyclones are additionally advantaged since the offenses often won’t know which defender(s) will commit to attacking the run. Iowa State’s linemen are able to stunt, twist and loop on most plays because Heacock can send a number of different linebackers as the team’s fourth gap stuffer. It can cause havoc on an opponent’s blocking scheme, while allowing the Cyclones’ free linebackers to either plug gaps or flow over the top.