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Two Deep Tango: Offensive Backfield

With fall practice heating up, the two deeps are starting to take shape. Heading into August first, here was the preliminary depth chart.

No "-OR-"s show up on the depth chart, so one has to assume that every guy listed first at any position currently has that spot, even with Coach Chizik stating that Arnaud and Bates are basically tied at QB.

Here's my early depth chart prognostications.

Quarterback
4 - Austen Arnaud
6-3, 222 (So.#)
7 - Phillip Bates
6-1, 218 (So.)
11 - Jerome Tiller
6-4, 179 (Fr.)
8 - Brett Bueker
6-4, 197 (Fr.)

Obviously, the battle here is for the first spot. I'm still of the opinion that the coaches are going to use the South Dakota State game as an evaluation period to try and decide on one quarterback. If they can't, I honestly see a Leak/Tebow situation between Arnaud, the better passer, and Bates, the better athlete/scrambler. I'm still can't decide if it's good or bad that Arnaud hasn't broken away yet. He was way more impressive in game action than the limited snaps that Bates got, but as recently as the spring game, Bates seemed a bit more impressive. I still think Austen has the edge, but I don't see Bates not getting snaps as well.

The other two quarterbacks, Tiller and Bueker, are not likely to see game action. Tiller has talent, and the coaches continually talk about him having a chance at the job, but it's impossible for him to get the playbook down that quickly. He's looking at taking the helm as a junior. Bueker is one of those walk-on quarterbacks from the state of Iowa that will be a lifelong backup, provided he doesn't pull a Sage. He's not likely to play at all this year either unless we win big, or the three guys in front of him get hurt....

 

Runningback
33 - Alexander Robinson
5-10, 182 (So.#)
3 - JJ Bass
6-0, 200 (Sr.)
6 - Jason Scales
5-9, 212 (Sr.)
22 - Jason Harris
5-11, 212 (Sr.)
39 - Rickey Thompson
5-9, 204 (Sr.)
23 - Jeremiah Schwartz
5-11, 230 (Fr.)

Runningback may very well be Iowa State's deepest position with the return of JJ Bass to the team. The pre-fall depth charts list Jason Scales as the number one, but I find it hard to believe he'll stay above Robinson and Bass, especially with Chizik talking about Robinson's work this summer. I fully expect to see all of the top 3 guys get a number of touches, if not all four. Rickey Thompson won't see any meaningful time, while Jeremiah Schwartz will likely see a redshirt this year, joining the unlisted Bo Williams. All of the top four guys have starter potential, but Robinson and Bass have thus far proven to be the most complete of the group.

 

Fullback
29 - Brian Ekwelundu
5-11, 232 (Jr.#)
26 - Taylor Mansfield
6-1, 255 (So.#)


The fullback is kind of an odd cat in Robert McFarland's offense. They don't run the ball, they don't catch the ball, and they rarely play, even when the Clones use a blocker in the backfield. The majority of the snaps in that situation went to H-Back/Tight End Derrick Catlett. Ekwelundu played sparingly in goal-line sets, and he'll be joined by Taylor Mansfield, who may well push for the starting spot simply due to his superior size. God knows we aren't looking at these guys to run the ball...

Next up, I'll continue looking at the offense.