Quarterbacks show flashes in spring game

ISU football coach Paul Rhoads wanted more explosive plays from his offense, and if Saturday's spring game showed anything, it is that he might get those plays in 2011. Jerome Tiller hit Darius Reynolds for 45 yards on the first play of the game and set up a Jeff Woody touchdown as the Cardinal team defeated the Gold 35-22 in front of over 4000 people at Jack Trice Stadium.

"We have a lot of playmakers," running back Shontrelle Johnson said. "We just have to execute and play mentally tough."

The score of the spring game is somewhat trivial in the sense that players, including the four quarterbacks that are battling to replace Austen Arnaud, were switching teams at multiple points in the game.

"This day was no different than the other 14; it was physical and the effort was outstanding," Rhoads said. "You can't win games turning the football over like we did today, but when you are getting takeaways it's a positive, so when you are going against yourself there is good and bad."

The two teams turned the ball over a combined five times but also showed plenty of ability to move the ball despite a breezy day. Tiller led in passing with 174 yards and two scores, including two 40+ yard strikes to Reynolds. Junior college transfer Steele Jantz threw for 113 yards and a touchdown but also threw an interception.

Jantz may have thrown best deep ball into the wind, however, on a 50-yard score to Aaron Horne.

Rhoads said no player distanced himself ahead of the others in the quarterback race but no one has been eliminated from the competition, either.

"We won't vary from the three things we are looking for and we want some athleticism and the ability to accomplish things with their feet and they all have shown that," Rhoads said. "The other two are decision making and accuracy and those two things will give someone a leg up.

"Someone one has to show can do that on a consistent basis, though," Rhoads said.

Reynolds was the leading receiver, catching five balls for 126 yards and two touchdowns from Tiller. Horne, who played at the same junior college as Jantz, caught eight passes for 124 yards and rushed for 16 yards and scored two total touchdowns. Johnson was the leading rusher with 59 yards on the day.

"Coach Herman has been looking for a deep threat for a while," Reynolds said. "It's good that he thinks I might be that guy and it was nice to catch a couple deep ones."

AJ Klein led all defensive players with 10 tackles but did not have his running mate in Jake Knott, who missed the game after arm surgery this week. Knott is expected to be ready for fall camp, however, and Rhoads was pleased to get out of spring practice with everyone virtually healthy.

This will be the last time that the Cyclones will practice and play together as a unit before fall camp in August, when they start to prepare for their opener with Northern Iowa on September 3.

Every coach is pleased with a recruiting class on signing day but no coach is completely happy after the spring game," Rhoads said. "We'll have to check out the film and see what we need to work on."

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