Role reversal: Richardson heads spring ball as starter


Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson warms up his arm during spring football practice at Bergstrom Indoor Training Facility on Tuesday, March 26, 2013.

Dean Berhow-Goll

For the first time since A.J. Klein and Jake Knott started as true sophomores, there are question marks regarding the linebacker position for Iowa State. 

On the other side of the ball, now that Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett aren’t a part of the ISU football team, the No. 1 spot on the quarterback depth chart has zero question marks. 

Sam Richardson enters the spring stanza as the starter and ISU coach Paul Rhoads is pleased with what he’s seen from the three-game starter. 

“Now that he knows he is No. 1 on the depth chart and he’s started for this football teams and he’s performed well I think he’s comfortable more so than in the past,” Rhoads said.

During the four games Richardson played in, he compiled 541 yards, completing 46 of his 79 passing attempts with eight touchdowns and one interception. Richardson also ran for 233 yards, averaging more than five yards per carry.

That doesn’t mean his performance won’t be pushed. 

Grant Rohach, a freshman from Moorpark, Calif., will be on Richardson’s coat tails to push his performance throughout the spring. The two have made progress between the Liberty Bowl and now. 

“I thought Grant and Sam’s arms looked stronger than they did when we finished in December, and that’s encouraging; that comes from nine hard weeks of training,” Rhoads said. “Accuracy is very important in this race and that’s one of the things that’s at the top of the list that I want to see Grant and Sam accomplish.”

Richardson said he felt comfortable now that he has the starting spot to himself, giving him the confidence he desired during the previous season.

“We have weapons all over the field — in the back field, at tight end, out wide,” Richardson said. “The feeling of confidence throwing the ball out there to those guys knowing they’re going to make a play, it’s surreal.”

Even with the cupboard bare out at wide receiver, Richardson and Rhoads both said they expected big things from a relatively unknown group of players to the casual fan. 

Aside from Jarvis West, the third-leading receiver for Iowa State last year with 31 catches, the returning players on the depth chart have a combined 39 catches and four touchdowns. 

“What’s exciting is the length of these guys and their ability to stretch the field, maybe more so than we’ve had in the four previous seasons and I saw a little bit of that today,” Rhoads said. “I certainly don’t care if [the casual fans] know any of their names right now, but they’ve got to get to the point where they all do.”