The Cyclones' 2010 season completely fell apart when they dropped their final three games, including 34-14 loss to Colorado. They'll play in 2011 with out 2010's leading passer Austen Arnaud and rusher Alexander Robinson. However, they also return one of the top linebacker units in the conference with Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. Even at that, this isn't a team that wants to be carried by their defense. New offensive stars have to emerge and do so quickly. Here are a couple of things we learned about Iowa State in the spring along with some questions heading into the fall.
The Cyclones are experienced on defense - In addition to the linebackers they are also returning five others players from last year's defense including corners Leonard Johnson and Ter'Ran Benton. This gives them a distinct advantage in terms of team experience.
Darius Reynolds is ready to break out - Too bad it wasn't last season when the Cyclones had a senior quarterback. Reynolds is ready to be the top target in the Iowa State offense and could be a huge tool in helping a new quarterback get settled.
- Speaking of quarterback, who takes over for Arnaud? Jerome Tiller is the most experienced of the four quarterbacks competing for the starting job but by no means a shoe in. The competition will continue on this fall where Steele Jantz, Jared Barnett and James Capello will continue to take their shot at being number one on the depth chart.
- Can Shontrelle Johnson be the workhorse at running back? He carried the ball 35 times last season for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. At 5-9/182 can he continue to produce high numbers over 200-plus carries? There isn't much depth behind Johnson but Jeff Woody will be able to provide him some spells during the season.
- Who can the Cyclones upset? Last year the Cyclones knocked off Texas in Austin and were a point away from beating Nebraska in overtime. With that, they missed a bowl birth by one game. They're going to have to pull similar feats in 2011 by knocking off a couple of opponents they're not supposed to if they want to get back to bowl eligibility. Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas and Oklahoma State all play in Ames.