This week at Cyclone Sports Report we will be breaking down all the key parts of the Cyclones offense with Iowa State offensive coordinator Robert McFarland.
We begin with the quarterback position and according to Coach McFarland the decision on a starter is a long way away. With long time starter Brett Meyer graduated, the Cyclones will be focusing on two very talented sophomores. "The spring season started with Austen (Arnaud) obviously ahead due to his experience and knowledge of the offense," he said. "But as the spring went on, things really started clicking for Phillip (Bates) which made the coaches realize that we were going to have to make a tough decision eventually."
While this dilemma might be frustrating for some, McFarland is very happy that the Cyclones have this problem. "We feel blessed to have both these kids because both are such good players," said McFarland. "Because they both did such a nice job, we were unable to name a clear leader for the starting quarterback position."
"However, if I had to give a slight edge it would go to Austen due to him being slightly stronger in the passing game and with his ability to read defenses," he said. "But the reality is that Phillip made a lot of plays with his feet and really had an outstanding spring. I call Phillip "Offense by Accident" because he sometimes makes mistakes but then has the ability to turn them into huge plays for us."
One thing that is for sure is that Bates will be on the field again one way or another. "He can't be sitting on the sidelines," said McFarland. "If he's not at quarterback, he'll be seeing some time in either the backfield or at wide receiver."
Third on the depth chart according to McFarland will likely be incoming freshman Jerome Tiller. "We're really excited about Jerome and expect him to come in and prepare to play this season," he said. "You never know with freshmen but we think he's going to be real good. The key is to get him in here this summer and start to get him used to the system."