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Monday, February 11, 2013
Offseason to-do list: Iowa State Cyclones

By David Ubben

Each season, there's lots of turnover and change for every college program. What do the Big 12 teams need to do before next fall? Let's continue our look with the Cyclones in Ames.

1. Figure out if Sam Richardson is the future of the program. Steele Jantz graduated and Jared Barnett transfered, which means the Richardson Era at Iowa State is officially underway. Will this spring be the beginning of three fruitful years with the Florida native calling the shots? The last couple post-Austen Arnaud years have been very shaky at quarterback for the Cyclones. Richardson is likely more accurate than Jantz or Barnett, but he ended the season with a thud in the Liberty Bowl and looked lost against an average Tulsa defense. Grant Rohach will be around in camp and looking to fight for time himself, but can Richardson separate himself this spring and prove he's truly a quarterback Iowa State can build its program around?

2. Find some new leadership on defense. Jake Knott and A.J. Klein are gone, and it's been a long time since ISU has had to replace a hole that big. Jeremiah George is a promising player, but Knott and Klein were everything right about Iowa State and college football as a whole. Could Jevohn Miller fill that role, too? Jacques Washington and Deon Broomfield might be those guys, too. Iowa State has to replace Knott, Klein and three starters along the defensive line. That's a tough assignment this spring.

3. Develop some offensive playmakers. We can talk about Richardson all day and the failings at quarterback over the past couple years, but the truth is they haven't had a ton of help and consistency in the passing game. Shontrelle Johnson and James White are OK at running back, but there hasn't been a game-breaking receiver or really even an impact player at the position for a long time. The bar is very, very high for receivers in the Big 12, and Iowa State has a long way to go to reach it. The Cyclones are losing their top three receivers from last year's team, so Richardson will have to find some new targets. Jarvis West is elusive, but ISU needs its young talent to step up this spring.

More offseason to-do lists: