Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads says he wants his Cyclones to play with emotion on Saturday when they wrap up spring drills with an intrasquad game. The Cyclones lost a number of key players off last year’s team that finished with a 6-7 record after falling to Tulsa in the Liberty Bowl.
“Every time I see this group take the field, I want to see a group that loves to play the game. If you get to that point in how you practice, I don’t think you have off Saturdays, or you work hard to not have off Saturdays,” Rhoads says. He says that is the mentality that they are trying to build.
Rhoads wants an offense that makes more big plays and he wants to see some on Saturday. “Coaches can only do so many things as far as teaching drills, and this is how you cut and so forth. You’ve got to recruit the talent…and those guys have to go out and make people miss,” Rhoads says. He says the explosive plays have been out there and that’s encouraging to see.
Rhoads wants to see sure tackling from the defense. He says they had too many missed tackles in the first scrimmage, but that has improved and he wants to see even more improvement on Saturday.
For the first time there is no quarterback competition during spring drills. Rhoads says sophomore Sam Richardson has taken command of the offense after he burst onto the scene late in the 2012 season. Rhoads says Richardson had an opportunity and never stepped forward ahead of the two veterans, but he says Richardson has now done that in his level of play.
Iowa State has played in two straight bowl games but the Cyclones have not posted a winning season since 2009. A big key next season will be how quickly a young defense develops, especially up front.