For the first time in a long time Iowa State entered the spring without a battle to be the team’s No. 1 quarterback, and after five weeks time that didn’t change. Sam Richardson is the Cyclones’ top choice behind center, and he’ll remain so when fall camp begins later this year.
At the onset of the spring, coach Paul Rhoads said Richardson, who racked up 3,090 yards of total offense in 2014 while averaging 242.6 passing yards per game, could be a “top-3” quarterback in the Big 12 in 2015 if he stays healthy.
“You’ve got to throw accurate balls as a quarterback wherever you’re at in the country, but in this league you’ve got to be scoring points,” Rhoads said. “He’s got to put himself in position that we’re in the right plays. Manage the game, manage the calls so he’s not making it any harder on himself.”
Behind Richardson at quarterback come fall will be Grant Rohach, Joel Lanning and Dominic DeLira. Rohach has the most experience after Richardson having made starts in each of the last two seasons. Lanning worked last season to grasp the playbook, but feels he made strides this spring. DeLira, meanwhile, will begin his progression upon his arrive from Lake Travis, Texas, this summer.
What was Learned
When all was said and done, the biggest thing learned at the quarterback position this spring might have been that Darius Lee-Campbell has made the switch to receiver. After the Lee-Campbell news was shared on Day 1, not much else changed.
Richardson entered the spring at No. 1 on the depth chart and that didn’t and won’t change barring injury. Meanwhile, the battle between Rohach and Lanning to be the backup (more on that in a second) hardly changed.
All in all, the biggest takeaway is that Richardson is more confident in his second year running offensive coordinator Mark Mangino’s offense and Iowa State hopes that pays dividends come September.
Richardson didn’t enter the spring 100 percent according to Rhoads, but he was no worse when the five weeks worth of practices came to an end. Where Richardson is now isn’t certain, but he performed through the spring without any hitches.
Given three months of working out and rest, Richardson should be good to go when fall camp rolls around. Rohach and Lanning are healthy, too.
To Be Determined
While Richardson may be cemented into the No. 1 spot, there is still much to be determined at the quarterback position even after five weeks of spring ball.
Rohach and Lanning entered the spring competing for the No. 2 spot, and by all accounts they will arrive back at practice in the fall in the same spot. In the final days of spring ball, though, Rhoads said if Richardson were to go down Iowa State would use both Rohach and Lanning packaged. So, maybe it’ll end up being 2A and 2B with DeLira following behind during what will be a redshirt season.
“I don’t think there’s separation where we look at those two," Rhoads said this spring. “We think we’ve got three capable quarterbacks.”
And don’t count out seeing the 6-foot-2, 232-pound Lanning even with Richardson healthy and behind center next season.
“We’re going to have stuff for Joel, potentially, with Sam healthy or not,” Rhoads said.