Iowa State rebuilding its defense

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Last season was a rare instance when Iowa State could control games with its defensive line and linebackers.

The Cyclones are hoping they've recruited enough depth under fourth-year coach Paul Rhoads to rebuild their front seven rather than watch it regress.

Iowa State loses three first-team All-Big 12 performers; linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein and lineman Jake McDonough, from a defense that finished third in the league in scoring in 2012.

In their place during spring practice are just two players with extensive starting experience and a ton of youngsters with an opportunity to crack the rotation.

All that youth has led to some inconsistent efforts, including a scrimmage performance on Saturday that defensive coordinator Wally Burnham dubbed "ragged."

The Cyclones, who went 6-7 in 2012, close spring practice with a public scrimmage on April 20.