Iowa State Cyclones 2013 College Football Preview
2013-08-19 01:15:00 EDT
Iowa State Cyclones
Head Coach: Paul Rhoads (24-27, 5th Year)
2012 Record: 6-7 (3-6)
Last Bowl Appearance: 2012 Autozone Liberty Bowl L 31-17 Tulsa
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8/31 Northern Iowa
9/21 @ Tulsa
10/12 @ Texas Tech
10/19 @ Baylor
10/26 Oklahoma State
11/2 @ Kansas State
11/16 @ Oklahoma
11/30 @ West Virginia
2012 Review: The Cyclones have become something of a Big 12 afterthought the past decade, playing the role of conference spoiler at times, and just sort of existing at others. They knocked off #3 Iowa in 2002, and under head coach Paul Rhoads in 2011, they shocked #2 Oklahoma State in an overtime thriller that derailed the Cowboys’ national title hopes. There have also been six straight years of sub .500 conference play where following Iowa State football was an exercise in futility. Year in and year out, you just knew there wasn’t even an outside shot at the Cyclones winning the Big 12, but they were a good bet for at least one conference upset. With wins against Baylor, who took out #1 Kansas State, and a strong TCU team last season, Iowa State once again held up their end. One possession losses to Kansas State and West Virginia, though, were the difference between the Cyclones finally breaking through in the Big 12 and more conference floundering.
Player Ready To Shine: Soph. QB Sam Richardson (6-2, 205). Richardson didn’t get his shot until the final two regular season games of 2012, but the redshirt freshman seized the opportunity and emerged as the future of Iowa State football, thiteming for 541 yards and 8 touchdowns on 58.2% passing, and rushing for 233 yards and one touchdown on 41 attempts.
Offense: With the departures of Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett, last season’s first and second string quarterbacks, Sam Richardson shouldn’t have much competition for the starting job. After showing glimpses of brilliance as both a passer and a runner in his only two starts of 2012, the job was already his to lose anyway. Richardson is a capable passer with just an average arm, but his ability as a runner, on full display against West Virginia with 119 yards on 18 attempts, gives him tremendous upside. Redshirt Fresh. Grant Roach (6-1, 210) will compete with true Fresh. Joel Lanning (6-2, 220) for the backup role. At RB, Iowa State returns seniors James White (5-8, 192) and Shontrelle Johnson (5-9, 186), who had virtually the same numbers last season with 505 yards and 2 touchdowns on 99 carries, and 504 yards and 2 touchdowns on 115 carries respectively. White is the faster of the two, while Johnson is the more physical runner. Senior RB Jeff Woody (6-1, 242) adds a power option to the rotation and Soph. DeVondrick Nealy (5-10, 183) could see time as a change of pace back. The receiving corps doesn’t bring much depth. Junior WR Jarvis West (5-7, 174), 31 catches for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns last season and senior TE Ernst Brun (6-3, 251), 26 catches for 330 yards and 6 touchdowns, are the unit’s leading returning receivers. Also on the depth chart at WR are Soph. Tad Ecby (6-0, 195), 1 catch for 9 yards , and Soph. Quenton Bundrage (6-2, 189), 20 receptions for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2012. The O-Line returns some experience in Jr. Jacob Gannon (6-7, 300), who tops the depth chart at LT and Sr. Kyle Lichtenberg (6-6, 296), who leads at RT. Jr. Center Tom Farniok (6-4,287) is back after starting consecutive seasons since joining the team as a true freshman. Rounding out the O-line depth chart are Jr. LG Shaban Dika (6-5, 322) and Sr. RG Ethan Tuftee (6-4, 314).
Defense: Issues abounded last season on the defensive side and it started with a D-line that managed just 13.5 sacks, leaving its secondary victim to the potent passing attacks of the Big 12. Despite underwhelming numbers, the Cyclones do return some key talent on a defensive line that will need to do an about face to have any chance at competing in this conference. Sr. DE Willie Scott (6-2, 224), 37 tackles, two for loss, and one sack last season, will be expected to bolster this unit with his experience and speed. Getting to the QB will be his highest priority. On the other side, Jr. DE Cory Morrissey (6-4, 249) will also be expected to become more of a pass rushing threat after recording just two tackles in a limited playing time last season. Senior Walter Woods (6-0, 318), 8 tackles, three for loss, and one sack, leads the depth chart at NT after seeing little action last season. Redshirt Fresh. Collin Bevins (6-5, 277) should get the start at DT. The Linebacking corps has to replace some big talent, but has a good foundation with Sr. MLB Jeremiah George (5-11, 219), a venomous hitter who’s expected o become the leader of this defense after finishing third on the team in 2012 with 87 tackles, four for a loss. Joining George on the strong side should be Jr. LB Jared Brackens (6-1, 210), who saw some time at SS last season. Jr. LB Jevohn Miller (6-1, 240), 22 tackles last season, leads the depth chart on the weak side. The secondary possesses this team’s best next-level talent in FS Jacques Washington (6-1, 220), a big hitter with NFL size and speed who recorded 90 tackles and three interceptions last season. Senior Deon Broomfield (6-0, 206), 24 tackles and two interceptions in 2012, leads the depth chart at SS. At the corners will be one of the team’s fastest players in Jansen Watson (5-9, 174) , 41 tackles last season, and Jr. Greg Schaeffer (5-11, 199), 23 tackles last season.
Special Teams: Returning are both Sr. kicker Edwin Arceo, who connected on 12 of his 18 field goal attempts last season, and Sr. punter Kirby Van Der Kamp, who averaged 41 yards per punt in 2012. Fielding kickoffs will be last season’s duo, Sr. WR Albert Gary (5-10, 203), who averaged 24.5 yards per attempt last season, and WR Jarvis West, who averaged 21.1.
Final Thoughts: Recruiting has never been a hallmark of this program, but the Cyclones, at least for the last decade, have been able to consistently do what they do, however mediocre. But getting to the next level, stringing together some winning Big 12 seasons will definitely require better recruiting. For now, though, the Cyclones have to play the hand their dealt and the slate probably won’t be any easier in 2013. Non-conference games against Northern Iowa and Tulsa should go down as wins, then the same old, same old begins. There’ll probably be an upset somewhere on the schedule, although eclipsing the three conference win total of the last four years might demand a little more skill than luck this time out.
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