AMES — When Iowa State’s Big 12 season begins on a Thursday night in October vs. the mighty Texas Longhorns, fans inside of Jack Trice Stadium will notice eight officials on the field.
This is new.
In the offseason, the Big 12 Conference made an exclusive decision to add an extra official for ball spotting purposes in 2013. The thought is that this will allow offenses to move even faster this fall.
Iowa State got its first look at the extra official during last Saturday’s scrimmage and according to sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson, it is definitely a move that should help offenses league wide.
“It’s just so quick,” Richardson said. “It’s something that maybe a referee used to tell you to hold up a second. This Saturday, there really wasn’t a worry at all.”
Richardson said that he found himself consciously thinking about the eighth official being on the field – not has a hindrance but as an opportunity to run Iowa State’s offense with more tempo and efficiency.
“At times, you have to really be going to keep up with them. It gets down there pretty quick,” Richardson said. “It is something that you can benefit from and if you don’t benefit, it isn’t going to bother you at all. If you want to go fast, it is really going to help you. The ball is set almost immediately and it’s something that you don’t have to worry about at all.”
Iowa State will not see that eighth official in any of its three non-conference games. Again, this is a Big 12-only rule for the 2013 season.
While Mike Gundy is drooling all over the city of Stillwater, Iowa State has seen its tempo increase this offseason and that has nothing to do with an extra official. This might come as a surprise to some people, being that Iowa State has so much youth on that side of the football. But Richardson has noticed a noticeable increase in speed.
“I think the tempo has picked up quite a bit,” Richardson said. “You can definitely see the defense – it is tough to keep up with us. It is definitely something we have improved on these last couple of weeks.”
More from Sam Richardson…
On ISU’s group of quarterbacks…
“I think that (Chanse) Creekmur has done and amazing job. Grant (Rohach) has had to miss a little bit with his finger and everything. Creek has stepped in and definitely grown with the offense. He is understanding it a lot more. He is a guy who came to me throughout the entire summer and wanted to watch film and learn that. He’s definitely improved. Joel Lanning has really shown his talents this summer. Coming in, people were saying that he maybe wouldn’t play quarterback. He is a sure quarterback. He has quite an arm on him and is picking up the offense. He’s done well and I think Trevor (Hodge) has done a great job as well trying to step in and make plays with his feet and trying to run the offense. He’s maybe a little bit slower than Joel but he is definitely catching onto it now. You can see that it is kind of clicking for him.”
A brief Q&A…
Q: You talk about waiting for your opportunity (to play). What do you say to Grant about that?
A: You just have to see from prior examples. I mean, last year we played three quarterbacks throughout the season. It can happen in a season. I wouldn’t ever say that I want that to happen in this situation but it’s something that if a helmet comes off or I maybe get injured, you have to be ready. It happens in football and it’s something that he has to be ready for. I’ll continue to push him and try to get him ready for that opportunity.
Q: What’s the biggest piece of advice you give him?
A:Staying locked in I guess. Going through meetings all season is tough when you know that you might not get to play. It’s something that you have to lock in and be aware of situations to where if you get thrown in a game in that situation, you have to be ready for it.
Q: Did you ever see yourself when you were in that situation not be locked in?
A: Yeah, I’d say that. You can easily say that. Definitely early in the season when it is something where you aren’t the starter and that guy is going to get the opportunity to start a game. It is tough to stay locked in as maybe a back up who might not get to play. It’s something where I definitely see myself maybe last year and maybe not being locked in all of the time in those meetings.
Q: Do you see yourself as a mentor to him?
A:I try to be. I mean, we’re competitive. Don’t get me wrong. We’re two guys that want to play and love to play football so it’s something that I wouldn’t say a mentor. We kind of just work with each other. We’ll talk with each other about situations and what we should do in a situation. We work more together than a mentor kind of relationship.
Q: Two names that surfaced from Saturday were Dondre Daley and E.J. Bibbs – two guys who are not listed as starters on the depth chart. Is that a positive sign for the offense.
A: It’s awesome. Those are two guys who we know can make plays – two athletic guys. They are guys who are going to have to show up on Saturdays. Last year I don’t think there was one wide receiver that played the entire game. Throughout the game, the two and three receivers have to go out there and make plays for us. You saw last year with “Q” when Josh (Lenz) and Chris (Young) were staring, Bundrage would still make plays. At tight end especially, we use one, two and three tight ends throughout a game. Having E.J. out there is definitely something that we love seeing him making those plays with the feel and catching the ball. He is quite an athlete.
Q: Throughout the spring, we all kind of thought that you guys might play two tight ends on the field at one time but it was a bit of a mystery because of the injuries. Now, Coach Rhoads has said that will happen. How big of a luxury is that for a quarterback?
A:It’s two guys who you know can block the edge. It’s two guys who can spread out the field and make big plays with their feet as well as having sure hands. They are awesome hybrids and definitely the guys that we need in this offense. It is quite a security blanket for us. It is nice.