After having to pick up the slack offensively when Iowa State’s best offensive weapon couldn’t make it through the second half, Sam Richardson limped his way through one of the worst passing days of his career. Being exposed to more hits battered down the sophomore quarterback, and many wonder how healthy he’ll be against Baylor this Saturday.
Rob Gray of The Gazette caught up with Richardson and some of the coaching staff to get an update on the quarterback’s health.
“It’s just annoying injuries, to be honest,” said Richardson, who is slated to start against the Bears, with backup Grant Rohach on the ready. “Like a jammed thumb. It’s not big injuries or anything. It’s just something that nags at you that you need to get treatment for, so it’s not anything too bad.”
Just like those lingering, annoying injuries, this storyline won’t go away. There’s nothing to criticize about what Richardson can accomplish on the field. He’s shown how valuable he is to the team against Tulsa and Texas, and he still took advantage of what the defense and special teams gave him in the first half against Texas Tech before having to pass on nearly every play.
The problem is that these injuries are preventing Richardson to step into his throws. His efficiency was a career-low 39.5 percent and his cumulative total sits at just 57.4 percent this season. Much of that was due to an increased workload last Saturday, but many throws fell short or were off target.
“Obviously, your touch comes from your release and your arm,” ISU offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham said. “But your strength and your ability to throw the ball without having to, quote, grunt to throw it down the field comes from your lower body and your ability to transfer. [Gazette]
It’s been well-documented that Rohach was close to seeing playing time against Iowa, but there wasn’t enough preparation. Since then, Richardson has been getting multiple treatments for his ankle and the backup quarterback has improved. Paul Rhoads believes “he’s noticeably a different Grant Rohach then he was pre-Iowa.”
“…[As] guys have improved on the field every week, he’s a guy that has improved, I’d use the word dramatically, in practice every week.” [Gazette]
There’s no question that if Iowa State wants to see any more victories this season, Richardson has to be under center and healthier than what was on display late in the Texas Tech game. The green light seems to be on for him to make another start, but if he can’t step into those throws and the running game can’t churn anything to balance out the offense, the Cyclones could be forced to put in Rohach just to preserve Richardson.