The key to any spread attack is a solid quarterback who makes sound decisions and distributes the ball effectively and it will be up to Austen Arnaud to fill that role. Last season he threw for 2,792 yards and 15 touchdowns while only throwing to the guys in the other colored jerseys 10 times. Alexander Robinson but behind him there are no experienced players at that position. The receiver position is a little better where Houston Jones is the only returning starter. That’s not to say they are without any other experienced receivers, they just don’t have a lot.
The quarterback is the key component in the spread attack but the offense also need talented players at the skill positions as well as depth. ISU returns starting running back
The offensive line is fairly solid with three returning starters. The Cyclones will be breaking in new starters at both tackle positions.
Paul Rhoads is a defensive coach and that’s exactly what
35.8 110 176.2 95 276.7 116 452.8 112
ISU only returns five starters from last year but with a new coach and new coordinator everyone is starting over. A tell tale sign of a struggling defense is when the team’s leading tackler is a safety and that’s what we find in this case. The Cyclones are going to have to have to improve on stopping plays up front and not letting them get into the secondary. The Cyclones will have three seniors along their defensive line and two of their three linebackers are seniors.
At first glance having a former walk-on start at middle linebacker could be another red flag. However, Jesse Smith isn’t your normal walk-on. He has a motor that doesn’t quit and a knack for finding the ball. The Cyclones actually could use a few more players like him.
The secondary may be the best unit on the defense. Safety James Smith led the team in tackles last year and will provide senior leadership to the secondary. Sophomore cornerback Leonard Johnson is getting a lot of attention as possibly one of the top corners in the Big 12.
|Austen Arnaud, 247/401, 2,792, 15 TDs, 10 INTs
|Alexander Robinson, 153/703, 6 TDs
|Darius Darks, 49/477, 1 TD
|James Smith, 85
|Christopher Lyle, 5
|48-28 Win Over Kent State
|35-7 Loss To Nebraska