Injuries hamper progress for Iowa State

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AMES, Iowa (AP) - Injuries and other issues have left Iowa State working from behind with the spring game a week away.

Offensive lineman Brock Dagel is out with a leg injury. Wide receiver Dondre Daley has been limited by a sprained ankle and defensive lineman Pierre Aka is out with a concussion.

Junior college transfer Devron Moore, a potential starter at safety, is homesick and isn’t currently on campus according to coach Paul Rhoads.

Freshman quarterback Trevor Hodge didn’t participate in Saturday’s scrimmage due to what Rhoads said was an “internal issue,” but Rhoads added that Hodge remains with the team.

Moore might return to the Cyclones at some point soon. But his sudden departure last week was the most symptomatic sign yet of the struggles Iowa State has had this spring.

“We’re going to see here within the next week or two whether he’s going to be able to rejoin the program,” Rhoads said of Moore.

The Cyclones have an open scrimmage next Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.

If there’s one positive for Iowa State so far this spring, it’s that redshirt freshman Joel Lanning has improved enough to push Grant Rohach and Sam Richardson for the starting job.

Lanning, a 6-foot-2, 236-pounder from nearby Ankeny, Iowa, had 39 total touchdowns as a senior in high school in 2012. But he redshirted last season and figured to be third-string at best heading into the fall as Rohach and Richardson competed to be the starter.

But the arrival of offensive coordinator Mark Mangino meant that all three quarterbacks would have to adjust to a new system and impress a new coach. Though Lanning might still be behind Rohach and Richardson, it seems as though he has closed the gap quite a bit this spring.

“It’s a three-way race,” Rhoads said. “He’s certainly in the running.”

Iowa State’s defense was already behind schedule with starting defensive lineman David Irving and linebacker Luke Knott out for the spring with injuries and tackle Rodney Coe’s recent dismissal. Moore’s absence has left the secondary a bit thin as well.

Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said that while his defense produced three turnovers in Saturday’s scrimmage, the unit as a whole needs to consistently make more big plays.

The Cyclones have just four starters back on a defense that was 109th nationally with 36 points allowed a game.

“This group is more eager to learn and do what you ask them to do. They seem to be that way in the meetings, on the field. They make some boneheaded mistakes that young people are going to make,” defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said.

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