Spring Refresher: Offensive Skill Positions

First up in our publisher's series of spring football previews are the quarterbacks and running backs.

Quarterback

Bret Meyer, Sr. (5th)

Nate Mechaelsen, Jr. (RS)

Austen Arnaud, Fr. (RS)

Meyer will continue to re-write the ISU record books and should benefit greatly from Robert McFarland's offense. He will need to get some of his swagger back after a somewhat brutal junior year that saw him start out as the preseason All-Big 12 quarterback but end up spending most of the season on the run from opposing pass-rushers. The heat obviously got to Meyer, whose decision-making skills deteriorated as the season wore on. He will need to get his patience in the pocket back, as well as continue to improve his accuracy and mechanics when throwing under duress.

Mechaelsen is a career journey-man who overachieved last spring to demonstrate he could be used in an emergency situation, but he's clearly not the long term answer at the position should Meyer – Heaven forbid – go down.

Arnaud is one of the most celebrated Iowa high school quarterbacks in recent memory, and this spring is his time to shine. The new coaching staff will likely make a quick determination where he is concerned to see if he really is the future of the program. Especially considering how high everyone still is on Phillip Bates and the fact that the new staff will aggressively recruit Meyer's successor out of the class of 2008 if necessary. He will get a lot of reps this spring, and he will probably be unleashed for the first time in front of the fans at the spring game. Expect to hear a lot about Arnaud this spring.

Running Back

Jason Scales, Jr. (RS)

Jason Harris, Jr.

Josh Johnson, So.

Ricky Thompson, Jr. (Jr.)

Steven Ebner, Sr. (RS)

There are lots of questions about this position. Scales is possibly the greatest high school running back in Iowa high school history, and if he's not he's certainly in the conversation. The problem he has is two fold: he can't stay healthy and he also doesn't have a natural position at this level. Perhaps the young man can finally get a break on that first part, but he still has the issue of not being fast enough to be a slasher nor big enough to be a power runner.

Harris is officially listed as a running back despite the fact he got moved over to defense last fall by the previous staff. He played in 11 games and recorded 20 tackles. However, it's anyone's guess at this point what his future holds. But he's a young man with a lot of speed so I'm guessing the new staff will find him a home somewhere.

Johnson carried the ball 23 times last season as a freshman, but didn't make a huge impression. However, he averaged 7.7 yards per carry in high school while being named first team all-state in Oklahoma, so he clearly has talent. He's a player I'm looking forward to seeing this spring and one I think the new staff will strive to develop.

Ebner will probably be used primarily as a special teams player and situational blocking back in this offense.

 


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