Williams: Position-by-position depth chart jottings
AMES --- A week after the start of fall camp, Iowa State held its football media day on Sunday at Jack Trice Stadium and with that, head coach Paul Rhoads released a shiny new depth chart. While it wasn't exactly full of surprises, it does provide us an opportunity to go position-by-position and analyze key position battles that will be taking place throughout the rest of fall camp.
Below is a complete breakdown of what the depth chart looked like with notes on each position and some opinion as well.
*** CLICK HERE to view the updated depth chart in its entirety. ***
Grant Rohach or
Sam Richardson or
*** “They literally are listed on the same line on the depth chart as we go into week two,” Rhoads said of this group following Saturday’s scrimmage. “We will get it sorted out this week.”
Next Saturday, Aug. 16, is the deadline that Rhoads put on making his starting quarterback decision at the Big 12’s media day in Dallas in July. Sophomore Grant Rohach entered the summer as the clubhouse leader for this spot but multiple birdies have indicated that Richardson, a now healthy junior, is still very much in the mix.
Chances are, Iowa State has a decent idea of whom the guy is going to be at this point in time but even so, this is a legitimate two-man competition. It sounds like redshirt freshman Joel Lanning is clearly behind the other two at this point in time.
There isn’t much to debate here. Wimberly is the true No. 1 but Nealy will see his fair share of carries. Keeping Wimberly healthy is key so expect others, mainly Nealy, to get plenty of work early on too.
Z wide receiver
*** At last Monday’s open practice, neither of these men took reps with the ones as Quenton Bundrage, D’Vario Montgomery and Jarvis West were the three wide outs that appeared to be starters. The word “starter” really doesn’t mean much at this position though. All of these guys will see playing time. The same can be said for true freshman Allen Lazard, who was not listed on the new depth chart. One birdie told me that he expects Lazard to catch 20-30 passes this year for the Cyclones.
Rhoads also said this about the talented rookie: “Allen certainly is getting reps with the top group and has shown nothing to not make us think that he won’t be on the field for us on Aug. 30.”
F wide receiver
*** West, a fifth-year senior, is clearly the top option in the slot.
X wide receiver
*** Expect these two to be on the field at the same time quite a bit in 2014. Montgomery is a different player than the guy who ran with the scout team during his redshirt season in 2013. Along with Bundrage, Montgomery is a legitimate starting Big 12 wide receiver.
*** I'm told that Bibbs was very good in Saturday’s scrimmage.
*** Gannon doesn’t get talked about much but will be a critical component to Iowa State’s offensive line success this season. As a 306-pound fifth-year senior, Gannon has to stay healthy.
*** At 6-foot-6, 328-pounds, Burton is probably the best looking offensive lineman on Iowa State’s roster.
*** Iowa State lost backup Ben Loth to a career-ending knee injury on the first day of camp. There shouldn’t be too large of a drop-off with Lalk, however you always hate to lose quality depth.
*** I’m told that Omoile is clearly ahead of the JUCO Taiese at this point in time. Should Taiese develop into the type of player that the coaching staff is expecting, he will be dangerous in tough yardage, running situations.
*** Campos was a highly touted recruit and is extremely talented but the West Des Moines native has a ways to go in comparison to junior Brock Dagel. That is how it should be when comparing a freshman to a junior too.
Left defensive end
*** The overall mood regarding junior college summer prospects Trent Taylor and Dale Pierson is very positive.
“Certainly the two newest additions on the defensive front, Trent Taylor and Dale Pierson, have opened our eyes,” Rhoads said. “They have had a nice first week.”
Rhoads added that Taylor, Pierson and safety Qujuan Floyd will all play this season and talk of redshirting them has been non-existent.
*** The depth chart doesn’t mean much here. Rhoads said that senior Brandon Jensen would rep with the ones at defensive tackle starting on Monday while sophomore Devlyn Cousin would be the top nose guard. Those are clearly the top two interior linemen on Iowa State’s roster so getting them both on the field at the same time makes perfect sense.
*** See above note.
Right defensive end
*** I’m told that Cory Morrissey was a mad man in Saturday’s scrimmage. Based off of rumblings around the program, the senior might just be the most improved player on Iowa State’s roster. Rhoads noted that Morrissey is one of the few men who is locked in as a starter at this point during camp.
*** Walk-on Drake Ferch continues to top Jared Brackens, who started all 12 games last season, at this spot on the depth chart.
“He does things right,” Rhoads said when I asked about this specific spot. “He’s extremely coachable and doesn’t repeat mistakes because of that. He plays very hard. He is tough and has plenty of speed. All of those things go into why he is running with the ones.”
*** On Friday, Rhoads said that he would be paying more attention to this position during the scrimmage than any other on the field. What did he see?
“I wish they would have been more spot on and less hesitant than what hey still are,” Rhoads said. “I would not say that surprises me. I just would like to be a step further than we were after the scrimmage. They are still learning too. They are not learning a new system. They are still learning. I have said to this group often that Jeremiah George at this point in his career is very comparable to the guys that are playing that position now as well as the WILL spot. He was maybe even behind them in where he was. He was fortunate when he stepped on the field to be flanked by A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. Then the light really turned bright for him and he took off. It will for those guys too. But they have to be on the field right now and A.J. and Jake aren’t to their left and right so the committee will have to come through for us. We are 20 days out and have a lot of practices to get there. There is nobody better than Wally Burnham to get them there.”
Jevohn Miller or
Luke Knott or
*** The top three here will all see the field in 2014. How playing time will be distributed is still to be determined.
*** Along with Morrissey, Rhoads said that Tribune’s spot as a starter is basically locked in. His backup, fifth-year senior Matt Thomas, has apparently improved too.
“Matt Thomas is a fifth-year senior who I didn’t know if he would ever step on the field for us as a defensive player – I give a lot of credit to Matt and I give a lot of credit to Coach Linguist for bringing him along,” Rhoads said. “He has given us a bright spot in that group.”
*** Rhoads referred to this tandem as a “partnership” at the left cornerback spot. On Friday, secondary coach Maruice Linguist said that Richardson held a slight edge over Lynn early on in camp.
*** From a pure talent standpoint, Mutcherson is the guy here. However, Cotton probably knows the defense better at this point in time.
*** Cotton-Moya is likely the guy here. As Rhoads has mentioned numerous times, he would have played as a true freshman had it not been for injury. I expect Floyd to be a contributor in one way or another this season though.
*** Rhoads noted that he has been impressed with true freshman Colin Downing. Chances are, he will end up winning this job.
*** I’ll be surprised if West isn’t one of the two returning kicks come Aug. 30.