Decision day Saturday for Cyclones’ QBs

Rhoads says he’ll announce starter on Monday

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August 14, 2014 | 11:26 pm

AMES — ISU coaches may have had nothing new to report Thursday about naming a starting quarterback, but junior Sam Richardson hinted at knowing who the coaches might have on their minds.

“I don’t want to say anything before they do,” Richardson said. “Just reps wise, other than that nothing really.”

Richardson’s comment was as close as reporters got last night to learning who the starter will be. Coach Paul Rhoads said while a decision between Richardson and sophomore Grant Rohach will be made Saturday, he won’t be making that announcement until Monday.

The quarterbacks are still even, he said, in overall reps with the first-team offense. He said has been pleased with the overall progress both quarterbacks have made since camp began.

“Not only is it a true competition, we’ve got an elevation of play,” Rhoads said. “(Quarterbacks coach) Todd Sturdy’s doing a great job with those quarterbacks, and I think it works to our advantage right now. Not that it was wrong in the past, (just) that we have a quarterback coach and that’s his sole responsibility.”

Sturdy, who moved over to coach the quarterbacks after spending the last two years guiding the wide receivers, has noticed quite a bit of progress from his quarterbacks, too. The Tipton native said he’s seen his players embrace having a pocket presence more than in the past and has liked what he’s seen to this point.

“We’re all growing as far as staying on a platform in the pocket and moving around with sudden urgency and keeping their eyes down field with all that stuff flying around them,” Sturdy said. “(They’re) pushing toward the line of scrimmage with their eyes downfield still and finally either throwing it or running it.”

Running the ball has always been a strong point of Richardson’s game, and Rohach has been working to add that to his skill-set this off-season. He worked with strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight throughout the off-season, working to slim down and get faster.

Rohach has a feeling the quarterback battle will come down to Saturday’s scrimmage but said he doesn’t like to focus on the competition.

“I think they just want us going out there and playing hard. I don’t think they want us going out there focusing on who is in the lead by two throws or something like that,” Rohach said. “I think they just want us to play our best every snap no matter if we’re with the ones or twos.”

Whatever the situation turns out to be at starting quarterback, Richardson is hoping the quarterbacks and the offensive line stay injury-free this fall.

“It’s a veteran line and guys that have been there for quite a while that have played together for a while so it’s easier,” Richardson said. “You have a lot more trust in them, and being healthy is obviously a good thing.”

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