Go Time

Less than a week remains until Iowa State is expected to name its starting quarterback for the 2013 season. Who has the advantage? No one, it seems

Right off the bat, it's clear both Grant Rohach and Sam Richardson bulked up. Rohach added a mullet. Richardson put his few weeks in Florida this summer to good use — he's tan as ever.

What's also evident is neither quarterback has separated from the other. Iowa State opened the fall camp with a creed to have signal-caller named by Aug. 16, but listening to Paul Rhoads on Sunday, it sounded like if someone had showed out during the scrimmage the day before, the race might've been called.

"Both did some good things, both did some things that didn't allow them to step forward and grab ahold of the No. 1 spot," Rhoads said. "We will get it sorted out this week."

Iowa State's quarterbacks last year threw an interception on 3.4 percent of their passes, the nation's No. 42-worst mark. The Cyclones averaged 6.43 yards per passing attempt, besting only 23 teams in that regard. The team's collective completion percentage was 55.9, several points below 'acceptable' and 37th-worst.

There's room to improve, that's for sure.

"I think everyone would say it was a little bit of a nightmare last year," Richardson, the junior, said Sunday.

Sam Richardson.

But who's improving?

Fifteen spring practices didn't yield any separation. Neither did summer workouts — sources tell AllCyclones.com there was the opportunity for one QB to grab the spot, and the team, by the reins and prove himself a leader, but it didn't happen. And seven (now eight, after Monday morning) workouts in, the status quo is stagnant.

It doesn't take a world-beater to have success in Mark Mangino's offense, the hallmark of which is simplicity. With the weapons the Cyclones have in the running and passing game, and behind an improved and experienced offensive line, a quarterback who can complete about 60 percent of their passes, hit the short and intermediate routes, make the right checks at the line of scrimmage and manage the football will have success.

"I'd like to think moving the ball efficiently up and down the field is what I can bring to the table," Rohach, the sophomore, said. "Every quarterback should be able to bring that to the table."

Richardson's issue is confidence, which plummeted last season at the mismanaging hands of Courtney Messingham. That's peaking now. Rohach gets ahead of himself at times and, as a first-year starter in the last half of 2013, was prone to brain farts.

Confidence and composure. Fixable things that, if left uncorrected, can ruin an otherwise-great offense.

"You go out there and it's like I could throw it to him, I could throw it to him, or I could throw it to him and they could all score," Rohach said. "Quenton Bundrage, D'Vario Montgomery, E.J. Bibbs, Jarvis West, Aaron Wimberly, DeVondrick Nealy. I could go all day with naming these guys. They're studs."

Six practices, five days and one scrimmage until the Cyclones would like to decide who gets the pleasure of dishing the ball to said studs. Whoever does it the most efficiently this week — i.e., whoever screws up the least — wins. But Rhoads, Mangino and QBs coach Todd Sturdy would really like it if someone started to rise up.

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