Round and Round

There have been injuries, but the inability to find, develop or keep upright a quarterback for the long-haul remains the black smudge on Rhoads' Iowa State resumé

There have been 1,961 Iowa State passes thrown by a quarterback in a non-trick play situation during the Paul Rhoads era, from 2009 to now.

Far too many of them have been flung in the midst of a controversy.

Austen Arnaud is the last of the Rhoads quarterbacks to enjoy any sort of job security. Arnaud attempted 79.7 and 77.7 percent of the team's passes in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Those numbers would have been higher had Arnaud not suffered injuries in both seasons.

In 2011, Steele Jantz posted 53.5 percent of the team's attempts. Jantz again had the lion's share in 2012, with 58.1. This season Sam B. Richardson has attempted 60.8 percent of the team's passes, but that number figures to dip with the likelihood Grant Rohach makes his first career start Saturday against TCU.

Which is why we're here. The last three years have been no way to operate. There have been injuries, but the inability to find, develop or keep upright a quarterback for the long-haul remains the black smudge on Rhoads' Iowa State resumé.

"The guys are trying to get it done," fifth-year senior Jeff Woody said of his current quarterbacks. "I would like to be handed a million dollars, too, but stuff like that doesn't necessarily come."

Per research conducted by AllCyclones, only one team in the final AP Top 25 poll of 2012 had their leading passer attempt less than 60 percent of the team's passes (for reasons not related to injury). That was Stanford, which turned to redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan in November. Hogan accounted for 38 percent of the Cardinal's attempts; Nunes 58.

In 2011 there was one Top 25 team with a sustained quarterback controversy, that being LSU, No. 1 until its loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship. Jordan Jefferson attempted 58 percent of the Tigers' passes. South Carolina's leading passer Stephen Garcia didn't record 60 percent of the team's attempts, only because he was dismissed from the program in early October.

With one eye turned toward 2014, Rhoads knows he must find a franchise to help the Cyclones bounce back from what will be considered a disappointing 2013. The clubhouse leader is Richardson, but he's 1-9 as a starter and, with a body so currently battered by injuries, is not able to put his best product on the field. There's a good chance it's Rohach, a bright, strong-armed California product who's still trying to grasp the mental minutia.

Maybe it's Joel Lanning or Trevor Hodge, two 2013 signees. Arizona State hoops transfer Chanse Creekmur is a popular candidate. Could it even be Darius Lee-Campbell, the 2014 dual-threat quarterback from Texas who's a heavy Cyclones lean?

Whoever emerges from what ought to be an open quarterback competition in the spring — and there are plenty of candidates — best be equipped to handle the responsibilities of being "the guy." Better than anyone, Rhoads knows the quarterback carousel needs to stop spinning. It says something about recent history that Rohach isn't baffled one bit that there's still a tryout this week to start Saturday despite him being listed atop the depth chart with no "or" next to his name.

"Being in this program for two years I kinda know how it goes with quarterbacks so yeah, it's nothing new," Rohach said Monday morning. "There's nothing I can do about it all I can do is just go out there and play hard."

Last 4 QB Seasons under Rhoads Stats -
Richardson (2013)55.313886.4173.597117119.3
Jantz (2012)62.116035.96145.7431312119.2
Jantz (2011)53.315195.86168.8571011106.8
Arnaud (2010)5917035.87154.8371310116.2
Arnaud (2009)58.7 20156.65183541413121.3

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