Pieces of the Cyclones’ offensive puzzle are coming together

Nealy, DeVondrick_2014_NDSU_2

The Iowa State offense is putting the pieces of its puzzle together.

One section of the puzzle coming together is the passing game. Through two contests, quarterback Sam Richardson has completed 65.6% of his passes. That is 10% better than last year. ISU hasn’t completed 60% of its throws for a season since 2007.

“We didn’t throw and catch with the rate of success (in ‘13) that we are right now,” Coach Paul Rhoads said. “We didn’t finish pass plays like we are right now. Too many pass plays broke down and we never got past the first progression.”

Rhoads thinks that Richardson’s poise in the pocket has led to an improvement in making it through the progressions.

“It’s a quarterback friendly offense,” Richardson offered as the reason for his improvement.

Rhoads now seeks to connect some pieces in the running game. The Cyclone averaged 3.3 yards per carry against North Dakota State and Kansas State. Last season, the average was 3.5.

“Running the ball successfully comes down to two primary things,” Rhoads said. “You’ve got to block well and the runner has to run well. Overall we’re not doing a good enough job.”

Blockers have to keep defenders occupied if they’re not knocking them out of the way. And, the backs have to make people miss.

“There was always a guy we didn’t account for with Troy Davis,” Rhoads said of the former Cyclone great. “He was Troy’s guy. The ball carriers have to account for some people in the run game as well.”

The pieces are starting to fit together, and soon, we should have a good idea of what this puzzle really looks like.

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