Season Preview: Week 2 vs. Iowa State (Part 1: Offense)
by, 05-18-2010 at 03:20 PM (2107 Views)
Iowa remains at Kinnick Stadium for a week 2 matchup with rival Iowa State on September 11. Iowa State finished its first season under head coach Paul Rhoads with a record of 7-6, but were just 3-5 in Big XII play; ISU defeated Minnesota 14-13 in the Insight Bowl on New Year’s Eve. This marks the 58th meeting between the schools. Iowa has a 38-19 record all-time against the Cyclones and has defeated them three out of the last five years, including a 35-3 win in Ames last year. This is the 34th game of the modern rivalry, with Iowa holding a 22-11 advantage since the 1977 game. Iowa holds the series records for biggest win (57-7 in 1985), most points in a game (63 in 1997), and longest winning streak (15 games from 1983-1997). This year marks the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s 2-0 victory in Ames. Iowa State returns 15 starters this season including a kicker.
QB—Iowa State should be solid at quarterback as they return senior starter Austen Arnaud and backup Jerome Tiller. Arnaud threw for 2015 yards (178/303), fourteen touchdowns, and thirteen interceptions. In Tiller’s seven appearances, he started twice. Tiller had 376 yards on 41-for-73 passing with one touchdown and four interceptions. Expect Arnaud to see most of the action. He is the vastly more experienced of the two, and despite Tiller’s slight advantage as a runner, it isn’t enough to overtake Arnaud (Arnaud had 561 yards and 8 TDs on the ground last year; though Tiller had more yards per carry and more carries per snap last season). Another year under offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman could allow for a big improvement out of Arnaud, especially with comprehension of the spread system that Iowa State implemented last season. Overall, the Cyclones have both a solid starter and a decent backup, so they should be above average at the quarterback position.
Position Grade: B
RB—For the second week in a row, the Hawkeyes will play a team whose best offensive player is their running back. Honorable mention all-Big XII back Alexander Robinson led the Cyclones with 1195 yards on 232 carries last year and had six rushing scores. Combine that with Robinson’s three touchdown catches, and he found the end zone more than any other Cyclone last season (Robinson also threw for a touchdown on his only pass attempt last year). Following the transfer of freshman Jeremiah Schwartz, depth at running back will be a question for Iowa State. During spring practice, sophomore Beau Blankenship was listed as the #2 back, but he had just four carries for eleven yards last season. Listed next were a pair of redshirt freshmen, James White and Jeff Woody. Iowa State could also use either of their 3-star recruits, Duran Hollis and Shontrelle Johnson, to provide depth at running back. Overall, Iowa State has a solid starter with NFL potential but not much else at the running back position.
Position Grade: B-
WR/TE—Iowa State returns two starters, Jake Williams and Darius Darks, but will have to replace #1 option Marquis Hamilton and starting tight end Derrick Cartlett. Williams and Darks combined for 706 yards and seven touchdowns last year and look to lead a wide receiver group that lacks depth. Iowa State starts three receivers, and their third option next year should be Sedrick Johnson who had just seven catches for 36 yards last year. Darius Reynolds, who was injured for most of last season, will compete with Johnson, as will Josh Lenz, who had twenty catches and was a quality special teams player last year. Starting at tight end will be senior Collin Franklin who has 33 catches and 450 yards in his first three years. After Franklin is Kurt Hammerschmidt and JuCo transfer Ricky Howard; the pair have zero career catches. Overall, the Cyclones lack depth for a team that will try to run a multi-receiver spread system. This is Iowa State’s weakest offensive group.
Position Grade: C
OL—The Cyclones return four starters on their offensive line: LT Kelechi Osemele (honorable mention all-Big XII in 2009), LG Alex Alvarez, RG Ben Lamaak (who is expected to start at center this year), and RT Scott Haughton (who is expected to move to guard). Brayden Burris, who started one game last year as a redshirt freshman, will most likely start at right tackle this season. Sean Smith, Zack Spears, and Jon Caspers could also see playing time this season. Overall, despite losing honorable mention all-Big XII center Reggie Stephens, the Cyclones should be above average on the line, assuming Lamaak and Haughton can adequately adjust to their position changes. While this group will sometimes stifle solid defensive lines, it could struggle against Iowa’s top-flight unit.
Edit: According to GoCyclones.com, on May 19, Scott Haughton was dismissed from the Iowa State football team. Losing a starter, especially this late in the game, will hut Iowa State's line, affecting their running game and pass protection.
Edited Position Grade: B
Synopsis: Iowa State will be lead by solid starters at running back, quarterback, and across the line, but lack depth at skill positions. If the Cyclones can find a breakout star at wide receiver (maybe 3-star, 5-7 speedster Jarvis West or 4-star JuCo transfer Chris Young?), their offense could be very dangerous, but I don’t see this happening by the second week of the season.
Overall Offensive Grade: B-
Click here to read Part 2: Defense/Overall