As you know, Saturday is Iowa State’s annual Spring Football Game. I’ll be watching for a lot come Saturday, but I will be paying attention to one thing in particular; playing a clean game. The Cyclones could have won a couple more games, or at least made it a better game if it wasn’t for them beating themselves. While I know it is inevitable, I want to see more emphasis on taking care of the ball and reducing the amount of penalties.
Last year, the Cyclones ranked last in the Big 12 in turnover margin per game at -.85. They turned the ball over 35 times last year, the most in the Big 12 (6 more than the second-most). A lot of the blame has to be put on the two quarterbacks as they combined to throw the most picks in the Big 12. Steele Jantz threw 11 and Jared Barnett threw 6. Way, way too much.
Paul Rhoads has said that we won’t name a starter for the first game against Tulsa until the spring. Of course, I’ll be watching to see how both Jantz and Barnett perform, but I’m not going to put much emphasis on it. I will put a lot of emphasis on how each of the quarterbacks protect the ball. Jantz is known for being a “gunslinger”, comparable to Brett Favre. While you can’t take that mentality completely out of Jantz, I want to see him make the smarter throws/plays. While Barnett isn’t as wild as Steele Jantz, Barnett did have some struggles with the exchanges between him and the back on reads. I want to see that cleaned up on Saturday.
Everybody knows the turnover problems, but I doubt many know that the Cyclones with Baylor, had the most fumbles lost last year in the conference. Also, I want to see a reduced amount of penalties especially from the offensive line. I can’t believe how many false starts Iowa State’s offensive line had last year, which is totally inexcusable. I can understand a holding once in a while, but not remembering the snap count can’t be a theme next year for the Clones.
Last year, the Cyclones had many games where the beat themselves. All I want to see on Saturday, is a clean game, mainly reduced turnovers and penalties.