"The spread offense is a tough offense to learn," Arnaud said. "Learning that offense was one of the toughest things I have done in my life."
Coach Paul Rhoads said Austen was the most improved player in spring practice and is showing a tremendous amount of poise.
"He knows he is a better fundamental football player right now and he also knows that he understands an offense fully and thoroughly as he enters," Rhoads said. "That leaves room for little doubt when choosing who to throw to, and when you have that confidence, you are going to deliver the ball, take off running or get into someone's face because of that confidence."
Arnaud comes off a 2009 season in which he threw for 2015 yards and 14 touchdowns but also threw 13 interceptions. Arnaud also ran for over 500 yards and eight touchdowns. This, however, will be Arnaud's first time that he is in the second season as a starter with the same offense.
Arnaud also comes into 2010 with a solid group of receivers that he has played multiple seasons with.
"I wouldn't trade that chemistry for the world, their work ethics and attitudes are incredible," Arnaud said. "This is the best group since I have been at Iowa State, maybe that I've seen, we have so much talent."
One of those receivers is Arnaud's roommate Jake Williams, who is another fifth-year senior for the Cyclones.
"He is one of those guys that when he is talking everyone listens and commands a lot of respect," Williams said. "We are ready to have a really good season and get to another bowl game."
After last season, which ended with seven wins and a bowl championship despite Arnaud missing a game, Arnaud went to work on fixing his footwork and changing his throwing motion to improve his accuracy.
He needed to improve his mechanics and his fundamentals with playing the position of quarterback," Rhoads said. "Where to step, where his vision is, his hips and so forth. He has done a good job with that."
Running back Alexander Robinson said he noticed a big difference in Arnaud when spring practice started.
"He was a lot more consistent and quicker with his decisions," Robinson said. "He just looked more comfortable."
Arnaud also changed the way he watched film in the offseason by not just watching film of himself but other quarterbacks in similar spread offenses. Arnaud watched some former Big 12 quarterbacks like Chase Daniel of Missouri, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Colt McCoy of Texas.
"I wasn't happy with where I was at," Arnaud said. "Those are some of the best quarterbacks that college football has ever seen and I want to be in that same sentence."