Iowa State football is back.
The first fall camp of Matt Campbell’s tenure gets underway on Thursday morning when the Cyclones will hold their only practice of the season open to the media. I’ll be there with Garrett Kroeger and, of course, we’ll have complete coverage from all the happenings.
That said, there are a few things I will be watching when the Cyclones take to Johnny Majors Practice Field for the first time this season.
1 – Offensive line
I know, I know, I’ve written about six million times that the offensive line is going to be the weakness of this Iowa State team. I don’t need to write it again to get that point across.
But Iowa State is going to need some guys to really step up this fall and that process starts on Thursday.
I’m hearing that junior Jake Campos is going to good to go full-bore after offseason surgery. Senior center Patrick Scoggins could be primed for something good after a knee injury cut his season short before it started in 2015.
Add in the fact that I’ve heard from multiple people that Nick Fett is in for a good year, and I get a little excited to see what kind of progress this group has made during offseason.
Plus, this will be our first chance to get eyes on walk-on graduate transfer Brian Bobek.
2 – Quarterbacks
Junior Joel Lanning is obviously intriguing enough by himself to make the quarterbacks a must watch on the first day of camp. I’m interested to see if we are able to notice any improvements or adjustments he made during the summer.
This will also be the first time we get a chance to see JUCO transfer, and former top 100 recruit, Jacob Park. All the buzz coming out of Ames has been that Park could be a difference maker and I’m ready to see that up close.
It’ll be nice to see what true freshman Zeb Noland’s been able to improve on since we saw him in the spring game too.
3 – True freshmen
A birdie told me earlier this week that both of the true freshmen running backs, Kene Nwangwu and David Montgomery, have the potential to be special. Will we see that during Thursday’s practice?
I’m willing to wager the answer to that question is no, but I want to see how they just look compared to the other backs on the team.
Wide receiver Jaylen Martin is another one that I’m hearing has put himself in a position to possibly see the field in 2016. He’s another one that I’m intrigued to see how he physically matches up with the other guys in his group.
4 – Defensive backs
We’ve been hyping this group up as the strength of the team and I’m ready to finally see them in action. There probably won’t be many game-like situations to see them in, but I’m sure there will be a few times when they go live against the receivers.
I want to see what the group most everyone’s already circled as one of the team’s best did to better themselves during the summer.
5 – The music selection
If Thursday’s practice is anything like the summer camps, the speakers will be bumping. What they’ll be bumping, only a select few people know.
I’ll be fine as long as the rap-to-country-ratio is at least 3-to-1.
6 – Football
This one is self-explanatory. I’ll be back on grass watching football.
I can’t complain about that even if I wanted to.