College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers. Today, we look at Iowa State, which started spring practice on Tuesday.
Spring Practice Question: Is the quarterback position as wide open as Paul Rhoads claims it is?
Over the last three seasons there wasn't much question regarding who would be playing quarterback for the Iowa State Cyclones. The job was Austen Arnaud's, and one he did pretty well. Arnaud finished his Iowa State career second on the school's all-time passing yardage list with 6,777 yards, and had the highest completion percentage in school history.
However, Arnaud is gone now, and the main focus with Iowa State this spring will be the battle to replace him.
Before practice began earlier this week, head coach Paul Rhoads declared it an open battle, and said that whichever one of his quarterbacks performs the best is going to win the job.
"You'd like to leave spring drills after 15 practices and three full scrimmages with a guy you know is your number one," said Rhoads. "There won't be any panic if we don't."
At the moment, Jerome Tiller is atop the depth chart, and that makes a lot of sense. After all, he has the most experience on the roster, as he's been needed to fill in for Arnaud at times over the last two years thanks to injuries.
Behind Tiller is rising sophomore James Capello and redshirt freshman Jared Barnett, but I don't see either of these two wrestling the job away barring some kind of super-heroic performances this spring. No, I believe there's another quarterback Tiller should be looking over his shoulder at.
Number two on the quarterback depth chart is Steele Jantz. Let's be honest, if we were going on name alone, Jantz would win this competition easily. However, there is more to being a quarterback than having a cool name.
"I know Steele's coming to take the first place job, and it's my job to protect it," said Tiller. "And may the best player play, but I plan on it being me."
Though I'm not sure that it's Rhoads' plan.
Jantz is new to Ames, as he comes to Iowa State as a junior college transfer. One that there has been a lot of talk about in recent months. Now, while Rhoads may claim that the competition is wide open, I'm just not sure that is really the case.
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21 of those yards came on a single carry.
Jantz, on the other hand, threw for 3,075 yards and 23 touchdowns with City College of San Francisco last season. He also ran for another 610 yards while leading the team to an 11-1 mark. Now, I know there's a huge difference between the level of play at a junior college than in the Big 12, and I don't expect Jantz to just show up and start laying waste to Oklahoma's defense right away.
What really makes me wonder if the competition is as open as it's claimed to be is that Jantz is in Ames to begin with. If Paul Rhoads was really so comfortable with the idea of Tiller taking the reins this season, then why did he bring in a junior college transfer?
Why not just sign another high school quarterback to develop in your latest recruiting class?
I just find it hard to believe that Iowa State is bringing Jantz in from San Francisco to have him send in plays from the sidelines. So while Jerome Tiller may be on top of Iowa State's depth chart to start practice, I wouldn't count on him being there for very long.