The Iowa State Cyclones will have an open competition for the quarterback job this fall when they start practice in August. Head coach Paul Rhoads hopes to have someone separate themselves from the pack quickly to take command of the Iowa State offense. Junior Sam Richardson has the most experience of the group but will have to prove himself to become the leader of the Cyclones in 2014.
Last season, Richardson had an up and down year under center. He appeared in 11 games, completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,397 yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Richardson also made plays with his legs, rushing for 356 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was a step back from the promising finish to the 2012 season when Richardson started the final three games of his freshman year and threw for 541 yards with eight touchdowns and just one interception.
Richardson will have to find that playmaking ability he flashed in 2012 if he hopes to hold onto his starting job. Joel Lanning and Grant Rohach will get opportunities to earn the starting job this fall. As a freshman in 2013, Rohach appeared in seven games and threw for 1,208 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. Rohach doesn’t offer the same athleticism as Richardson has shown after Rohach gained just 1.83 yards per carry last season.
Iowa State needs someone to step up and lead at quarterback. The team is filled with talent at receiver and riding the momentum of back-to-back wins to close out the regular season. But for the Cyclones to take the next step and compete in the Big 12, Richardson has to prove that he’s the man for the job.