Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads expects senior quarterback Austen Arnaud to play on Saturday night when the Cyclones host U.N.I. Arnaud injured his non-throwing shoulder in Saturday’s loss to Kansas State but Rhoads is not worried about Arnaud being ready to play. He says Arnaud had a similar injury a couple of years ago in his throwing shoulder and was able to play.
Rhoads is not sure if Arnaud will be ready for practice on Tuesday, but says he can miss a few days of practice because he knows the offense well enough. Arnaud and the Cyclone offense needs to improve a passing attack that Rhoads called “inconsistent.” He says the deep ball and an explosive play is missing, as they haven’t capitalized on that yet.
Before the season Rhoads said the Cyclone offense needed to average more than 20 points per game for I.S.U. to have a successful season. Through three games Iowa State is averaging 18 points per contest. Rhoads says it’s extremely disappointing and they are 1-2 in large part because they are not scoring points.
The defense and special teams can help the offense by earning better field position. Rhoads says you can score more points with short fields and they haven’t been blessed with those. He says they also need to break Alexander Robinson away on some longer runs.
Rhoads says the gap between the former one-double-a schools and those from major conferences has narrowed over the years. He says early offers in recruiting have changed that, as there are more players who develop later, and there are more good athletes overall. He says spread offenses allow teams to score with one or two game breakers.
Rhoads says U.N.I. has fared well against larger programs because they take the right approach. He says they have nothing to lose and come in playing loose and ready to go. Rhoads says there’s always the “chip on the shoulder” motivation for players who weren’t recruited by the larger division schools and they want to show they can play at that level.