Opening camp: Iowa State

Schedule: Practice starts Thursday

What’s new: Most of the defense. The Cyclones are replacing seven starters, including three linebackers from the defense last season, including Jesse Smith, who led the Big 12 with 135 tackles.

Key battle: Safety David Sims vs. his playing status. The 2009 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a credit card on Monday and received a deferred judgment and probation. He also paid back the $600 to the victim, but his status with the team is unclear.

New on the scene: Sophomore linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott will be stepping into starting roles after contributing some as freshmen. After Smith's departure, the bar will be high, but coach Paul Rhoads believes each could help the unit eventually improve from where it was in the past.

Breaking out: Junior left tackle Kelechi Osemele. He made second-team All-Big 12 as a first-year starter a year ago, but he has yet to earn the recognition of other offensive linemen around the league like Texas' Kyle Hix, Missouri's Tim Barnes or Colorado's Nate Solder.

Don’t forget about: Iowa State's talent in the secondary. Rhoads believes the unit is his team's deepest and has some of the most talent of any on the team. Sims makes the headlines at safety, but the Cyclones have three solid junior corners in Ter'ran Benton, Leonard Johnson and Anthony Young.

All eyes on: The offensive backfield. Austen Arnaud struggled in 2009 in a new system while running back Alexander Robinson flourished. If both put it together in 2010, the Cyclones' bumpy road through a difficult schedule might end up a little smoother.

Quoting: "There's a word we refer to often in our program, and that's development. We've seen a lot of development take place over the last 18, 19 months: Bowl game preparation, all the extra work we got in, our winter workouts, spring practice. And that's continued on into the summer workout session. With that in mind, we will be an improved football team in 2010, and we'll need to be. We face a very challenging schedule that some rate as the toughest in the country." -- Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads

  1. Austen_4

    Austen_4 2010 campaign starts today... continous improvement 1 day at a time.

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