As fall camp kicked off on Monday for the Iowa State football team, feelings are mixed in general among fans and the media. The Cyclones are expected to dive compared to their previous few seasons because of all the talent that needs to be replaced. What exactly will the Cyclones work on during fall camp and what do they believe they have in their arsenal?
Over 11 starters on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball will need to be replaced, which is hard for any program to overcome if they have expectations of a postseason. The biggest losses are well documented — linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. But what’s being overrated is the loss at wide receiver.
Josh Lenz, Chris Young, and Aaron Horne will all be gone, but how big of a loss is it? Outside of Lenz’s ridiculous 147-yard, three touchdown day in five catches against TCU, the seniors were collectively a disappointment. Lots of dropped passes set the team back, further causing the quarterback dysfunction to get even worse.
The receiving core collectively only put up over 300 yards twice all season — that’s not including Western Illinois. It was against Baylor and Kansas, who both have the worst pass rush in the Big 12.
Defensively, if the Cyclones can find some stability at defensive line, then they may not miss Klein and Knott as much. They certainly need the depth, but it’s arguable zero consistency hurt the team and resulted in them not being able to stop anybody passing the ball, running the ball, or getting off the field on third down.
That’s what fall camp will help with the Cyclones. They already know they have enough talent at receiver with Ernst Brun, Jr. matching the best touchdown total last season, tying Lenz with six. Jarvis West, Quenton Bundrage, and Albert Gary had select breakout performances that should get more consistent this season.
What the Cyclones will be focusing on in fall camp will be further implementing the pistol formation, figuring out the rotation of the defensive line, finding out how ready Shontrelle Johnson is who should lead a deep stable of running backs, and getting Sam Richardson comfortable for his first journey into a regular season.