Here’s what we learned about Iowa State during spring football:
What we learned about the offense: We already knew running back Mike Warren is going to be the centerpiece of the Cyclones' attack, but Joel Lanning seems to have continued to develop as a signal-caller. The junior quarterback had a solid spring and should be able to combine with Warren and Allen Lazard to give Iowa State a solid trio of skill-position players and offensive balance that could be critical. Questions remain along the offensive line, so it is not a guarantee the trio will be among the conference’s most productive, but the talent is there.
What we learned about the defense: The Cyclones have some experienced talent on this side of the ball, also, including cornerback Brian Peavy, linebacker Jordan Harris and defensive tackle Demond Tucker. But we also learned Iowa State has some intriguing young and relatively inexperienced defenders on the roster, including linebacker Willie Harvey and defensive back D'Andre Payne, who may be ready to become a big-time player for the Cyclones.
Breakout player: New coach Matt Campbell seemingly has high hopes for center Julian Good-Jones and could end up leaning on the redshirt freshman to anchor the offensive line. His emergence is huge as the Cyclones are looking to replace four of five starters from a year ago.
“Julian has really solidified the interior of our offensive line,” Campbell said after the spring game.
Key storyline: The continued progress of the offensive line is critical. Good-Jones is poised to be a core contributor, Jake Campos returns with loads of experience at tackle, but the competition to earn a spot in the starting lineup could be the most important offseason battle on campus. Jaypee Philbert, Nick Fett and Patrick Scoggins are just a few of the linemen who will be fighting to become one of the guys paving the way for Warren.
“The offensive line is a work in progress,” Campbell said. “They are going to have to have a great, great offseason in the next three months.”