Monday, April 22, 2013
Big 12 spring game review: Iowa State
By David Ubben
We'll cap our coverage of Saturday's spring games with the Cyclones in Ames.
What we learned:
- Sam Richardson completed 9 of 12 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.
- Running back DeVondrick Nealy carried the ball 18 times for 142 yards and two scores, and juco transfer Aaron Wimberly added 89 yards on 15 carries.
- Attendance was 15,000.
- Linebacker Jeremiah George and defensive back Darian Cotton led all defenders with 10 tackles.
- Gold beat Cardinal, 41-27.
- Holy offense, Batman. The biggest issue for Iowa State, even through an amazing first four seasons with Paul Rhoads, has been the offense, but Saturday looked solid. The defense is still adjusting to life after Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, but the big-play ability we saw was definitely something new. The offense turned up the tempo and ran for 535 yards and threw for 362. Nealy was fourth string last year, but Rhoads loved what he saw from the whole position all spring. "I had felt the running back position overall had the best spring,” Rhoads told reporters. "DeVondrick Nealy is running as he was capable. He is going into his third season and that is encouraging to see. James White is James White. He runs hard, smart, and knows everything about the offense. Aaron Wimberly showed why we are excited to have him and why we recruited him. Rob Standard is productive every time we play him." You can only put so much stock in a spring game, but Saturday was definitely a good sign. If you can put up points in the Big 12, you're going to win a whole bunch of games, and it's hard to see Iowa State's defense getting torched next season like it did for much of Saturday.
- The defense is finding some new impact players. I was a little surprised to see coaches be so open about Willie Scott, a possible future star at defensive end who was arrested earlier this spring for possession of a controlled substance. He was maybe the biggest defensive star on Saturday with a whole bunch of tackles and an interception. "He’s a high-motor guy,” safety Jacques Washington told the Des Moines Register about Scott. "He’s a little undersized as a defensive end, but he’s athletic and closes on the ball well. He’s a guy you can always count on -- like everyone saw [Saturday].” Jeremiah George has a lot of experience, but I like what he showed on Saturday, too. Iowa State's defense centered around Knott and Klein, and though you can't replace guys like that easily, George looks solid.
- The new offense is taking shape. You're going to see a lot more pistol with Richardson this year, which could mean good news for a decent running game, too. Richardson is a speedy guy, and the more the pistol works, the more you're going to see it. The misdirection that can come from the set is already paying off for the running game, and as that happens, life's going to get easier for Richardson in the passing game. Everybody wins.
- The kicking competition is still a bit of a mess. Edwin Arceo made just 12 of 18 field goal attempts last season and missed three extra points, part of the reason the competition is open to Cole Netten this spring. Netten, a freshman, was just 2-of-4 on Saturday, but Arceo didn't take advantage, making just one of his own three attempts. The good news for Arceo? His only made kick of the day with a 53-yarder, and his last kick after beginning with two misses. Both of Netten's misses came from beyond 50 yards, but he made kicks from 29 and 45 yards. "I think that shows one, consistency, and it also shows two, we’ve got two guys very capable of playing winning football as kickers at this level," Rhoads told the Des Moines Register.