Our weekly series giving you a player to look out for on the opposing team continues. This week — you guessed it, Allen Lazard
Name: Allen Lazard, 6-5, 223 pounds
Position: Wide Receiver
On a team that simply isn’t good, Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard is a legitimate NFL prospect, and a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses… if someone can get him the ball. Let’s move along with the caveat that Lazard’s abilities are contingent on Cyclone quarterbacks giving him chances to do his thing.
Quarterback Joel Lanning put up decent numbers in Iowa State’s season-opening loss to UNI last weekend, going 18-of-28 for 256 yards, three scores, and two picks. Not bad, not great either.
Anyways, back to Lazard, who has tremendous hands and with his size and speed, can be a handful both deep and underneath, as you’ll see in the video below. Watch how he’s able to smoothly move across the middle and can use his big frame to box defenders out and make grabs in tough areas.
Pretty solid stuff.
Should King, who said the Hawkeyes tried using specific matchups in coverage last season, but ended up going back to the regular left corner-right corner alignment, spend a significant chunk of time covering the wideout, Iowa is a lot better off than it would be should Greg Mabin on him.
This isn’t just because of Mabin’s blunders last week, either. King, Mabin, and Joshua Jackson lined up agaisnt him last year. King, although he didn’t have a great game, did the best job covering Lazard, as evidenced by that textbook breakup at 4:04. There were some goofs too, like the missed tackle at 3:41, where I have no idea what he was doing following the catch.
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After King it probably went Mabin then Jackson, who was only on him for a handful of plays. Mabin made some good plays, like the pass breakup at 5:06. He didn’t bite on a double move from Lazard and tracked the ball well. As the announcer mentions, there wasn’t any panic from the corner with the ball in the air. Hopefully he sees that play in film this week and executes like that all game long.
Mabin also made some bad ones, especially the play that begins at 1:33. Despite Sam B. Richardson’s overthrow, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida native got smoked by Lazard, who managed to get outside Mabin, where the corner had no help, with ease.
The first down at 4:43 isn’t necessarily on Mabin, who did a good job of preventing a big play, but is perhaps the most worrisome. We saw Miami chip away at the Hawkeye defense during last week’s game, and the ability of Lazard to help turn something into nothing is giving me nightmares already. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but a first down on a 1st and 10 with seven minutes left in a tie ballgame on a broken play is something that can’t become a theme for the Hawks in this game.
Lazard is simply too dangerous to let get into a rhythm out there, especially if he runs around in some space over the middle. As a whole, the Hawks have to stop teams from dinking their way down the field.
Beating Iowa State shouldn’t be a problem for this Hawkeye squad — shutting Lazard down is priority No. 1 in doing so.