Spring game will give brief look at Iowa State’s big, high-powered offense

Former Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard catches a pass on Nov. 3, 2016 at Jack Trice Stadium. 

Austin Anderson

Iowa State will get to take its big, new and fast offense out for a test drive on Saturday afternoon.

The highly anticipated debut of the offense, which could be one of the best in years, will see a wide array of bells and whistles for starting quarterback Jacob Park to use in the 2017 season.

This will be Park’s first spring game at Iowa State, but the Cyclones know what they have in the 6-foot-4 signal caller, so don’t expect Park to stay out there long.

In the first few series, however, Park will have some big — literally — options to throw to. Allen Lazard, the former Big 12 first-team wide receiver and future NFL draft pick, won’t sneak up on anybody. The two new additions to the offense are poised to make an impact as well. 

Matt Eaton, one of the top junior college wide receiver recruits in the country, stands at 6 foot 4 and has turned some heads this spring.

“He’s got some dynamic ability to him that when he moves on the field, you take notice,” wide receivers coach Bryan Gasser said. “He has a really good attack off the line and a really good attack in his routes. I think he’s going to be a guy that’s going to be fun to watch these next couple years.”

The other big target that Iowa State fans will get used to hearing is redshirt freshman Chase Allen.

Allen, a 6-foot-6 tight end, has been used inline as a traditional tight end, in the slot, as well as split out wide as a wide receiver this spring.

“I ain’t never had had receivers like this to throw to,” Park said. “There’s a point in time where we got four wide receivers you can put on the field, and I don’t know if there’s any defensive back in the country that can jump with any of them.”

The size from Lazard, Eaton and Allen will be joined by 6-foot-6 Hakeem Butler as well as speedier receivers Deshaunte Jones and Trever Ryen.

Ryen is a sprinter on the track team, and Jones was the team’s big-play threat last season as a true freshman.

“He led the team in explosive plays for us,” Gasser said. “He was one of the most explosive freshmen in the country last year.

With that being said, the high-powered Iowa State offense is only likely to be on the field in limited action. The spring game is a place for young guys and players battling for playing time to stand out in a game setting.

A couple of those spots rest up front on the Iowa State offensive line.

Bryce Meeker is the only returner to start a game last season on the offensive line outside of Julian Good-Jones. In a scrimmage earlier this spring, Meeker was a starter, but with the return of Jake Campos from a leg injury that kept him out last season, he might be pushed down on the depth chart.

Still, coach Matt Campbell said Meeker has stood out so far.

“[He’s] been a pleasant surprise for us,” Campbell said.

The spring game, as always, will be a chance for fans to get excited about what the team has, and for the coaches to see players prove what they can do.

“Figure out who are our guys we can really count on going into the summer and those guys maybe we can’t count on yet,” Campbell said. “What do they need to do in the next three to four months to give themselves a chance to help us be successful next fall?”