CN Spring Cleaning: Quarterbacks

The first in a series of football position progress reports on CycloneNation.com features the quarterbacks, where Bret Meyer and Austin Flynn are preparing themselves for a training camp battle.

Pre-Fall Depth Chart:

Bret Meyer, 6-3, 205, R-FR
Austin Flynn, 6-1, 185, R-SO
Cris Love, 6-6, 225, R-SR
Kyle Van Winkle, 6-6, 200, R-SO
Nate Mechaelsen, 6-2, 205, FR

Newcomer:

QB/ATH Terrance Highsmith, 6-1, 175, R-JR, Fort Scott (Kan.) C.C.

Spring evaluation:

Flynn started a majority of Iowa State's games last season and opened spring drills as the first-team quarterback, but it didn't take long for Meyer to unseat him. A redshirt freshman from Atlantic, Meyer gave Cyclone coaches a similar look to former quarterback Seneca Wallace, in that he looked to pass first from the pocket and use his great athleticism to make plays with his feet second.

However, the knock on Meyer remains his inexperience and lack of consistency. He seemed to peak midway through the spring, was average during ISU's second-to-last scrimmage of the spring, then was less than stellar in front of the fans at Jack Trice Stadium. As a result, offensive coaches were unable to name a clear-cut starter heading out of the spring.

Flynn showed much of the same things that he did last season. Although I only got a few looks at Flynn this spring, he still made plays outside of the pocket, either tucking and running, or making the off-balance throw rolling out. However, he still looks uncomfortable passing in the pocket and had passes deflected when he tried. If Flynn was able to post results as a pocket passer he would have beaten Meyer out for the job.

As he has for throughout his entire career, Love remains a steady backup. But with Meyer and Flynn atop the depth chart, he'll likely be destined for third-team status in his final season in a Cyclone uniform. Van Winkle threw the spring game's only touchdown pass when he hooked up with Andy Kohler. Can you say position change? Mechaelsen can.

Fall outlook:

Cyclone coach Dan McCarney had hoped to avoid a similar situation as last fall by naming a Northern Iowa starter during the spring. Midway through spring ball that looked like a possibility, but Meyer's inconsistency down the stretch means the competition will heat up again in August.

Offensive coaches are presented an interesting dilemma. Name the quarterback with more overall talent and passing ability (Meyer), or hand the responsibilities to a signal-caller with more experience that will likely make the least mistakes (Flynn). What they decide remains to be seen. My best guess: Meyer.

Position notes:

New position coach Todd Fitch made his debut this spring after spending five seasons at South Carolina under coaching legend Lou Holtz. Fitch hangs his hat on coaching the fundamentals of the quarterback position, after working with Holtz. In past coaching stops, Fitch worked with Steve Loney (former Cyclone assistant and offensive line coach of the Minnesota Vikings), and current ISU running backs coach Tony Alford.

After signing in the recruiting class of 2004, Highsmith could spend just a few days with the quarterbacks this fall before being introduced to wide receivers coach Mike Grant. McCarney promised the former North Carolina QB a shot at playing the position, but his best chance for immediate playing time may be at wide receiver.


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