#75 Iowa State Football Preview

Iowa State Cyclones

Overall Rank: #75
#9 Big 12

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2010 Record: (5-7, 3-5)
2010 Bowl: none
Coach: Paul Rhoads (12-13 at Iowa State, 12-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tom Herman
Defensive Coordinator: Wally Burnham

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Shontrelle Johnson, RB, 218 yards
Passing: Jerome Tiller, QB, 363 yards
Receiving: Darius Darks, WR, 355 yards
Tackles: Jake Knott, LB, 130
Sacks: Jacob Lattimer, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: Jake Knott, LB, 4

Other Key Returnees: S Ter’Ran Benton, OT Brayden Burris, G Hayworth Hicks, CB Leonard Johnson, LB A.J. Klein, CB Jeremy Reeves, DT Stephen Ruempolhamer, OT Kelechi Osemele, WR Darius Reynolds

Key Losses: G Alex Alvarez, QB Austen Arnaud, TE Collin Franklin, DT Bailey Johnson, C Ben Lamaak, S Michael O’Connell, RB Alexander Robinson, S Zac Sandvig, S David Sims, WR Jake Williams

Iowa State has a lot of work to do, but Coach Paul Rhoads appears to have a deeper and more talented team than he has in the past. However, with the departure of the team’s top two receivers, top two rushers and quarterback Austen Arnaud, there is some rebuilding to be done. The difference now is the future holds some promise.

Even with the absence of Alexander Robinson, the running backs should be in good shape. Shontrelle Johnson had a fine freshman campaign and should step into the starting role as a sophomore. There are a plethora of options behind Johnson to mix up the Iowa State ground game. The attack on the ground should be fine with the return of left tackle Kelechi Osemele and right guard Hayworth Hicks. The line does need to find a couple new starters, but there are options. The biggest strength for this group is at linebacker. A.J. Klein and Jake Knott are two of the best in the conference. Those two combined for 241 tackles last season. That is a lot of tackles. But they are also very versatile, as Knott added five tackles-for-loss and four interceptions and Klein totaled eight tackles-for-loss and three interceptions. The secondary is in good hands too. Leonard Johnson is a four-year starter at corner and Ter’Ran Benton should make a big impact at his new strong safety spot.

The problem with the defense lies in the front four. If the defensive line cannot get any pressure on the quarterback, the entire defense will continue to struggle. The good news is it cannot get much worse after the team totaled just 11 sacks all of last season. The bad news is that there is little reason to believe that Jacob Lattimer, Rony Nelson or Roosevelt Maggitt can get the job done this time around. On the other side of the ball replacing Arnaud is the big concern. It is a four player race heading into the spring, but it will likely come down to the slightly experienced back-up Jerome Tiller and the junior college transfer Steele Jantz. Tiller has been the backup for the last two seasons and knows the system, but Jantz will make a push for the job in the fall. Jantz was around in the spring, but nobody stepped up and emerged as the obvious choice.

The Bottom Line:
Whoever the quarterback is, they will have to work some new receivers. Tight end Collin Franklin was the favorite target a year ago, but he is now gone; as is Jake Williams, who led the team with four touchdown receptions. There are some decent playmakers out there, most notably Darius Darks, but the Cyclones will need more consistent play out of receivers Darius Reynolds and Josh Lenz. It would also be helpful for the new signal caller if 6-6 tight end Kurt Hammerschmidt can develop into a solid pass catcher. The schedule is simply too difficult for Iowa State to reach a bowl game, but this team could pull off a surprise or two along the way.

Projected Bowl: none

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 143.17 (72nd in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 174.25 (95, 10)
Total Offense: 317.42 (99, 11)
Scoring Offense: 21.67 (97, 11)
Rushing Defense: 186.33 (93, 10)
Pass Defense: 221.92 (64, 6)
Total Defense: 408.25 (87, 7)
Scoring Defense: 28.83 (76, 7)
Turnover Margin: .50 (30, 4)
Sacks: .92 (115, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 2.75 (97, 10)

Madness 2012 NFL Draft Rankings

#61 Kelechi Osemele

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