What to watch: Iowa State spring game

Four Big 12 teams will kick off their spring games this weekend. We'll be offering quick looks at each game on the blog throughout today.

Iowa State

When: Saturday, 2 p.m.

What you need to know:

  • Admission is free.

  • You can see a further preview on Cyclones.tv.

What to watch:

  • Sam Richardson's progress. Iowa State is one of two Big 12 teams that will have the same quarterback starting Week 1 that it had to end last season. Sam Richardson played well in a blowout win against Kansas, but struggled in the Cyclones' final two games of the season -- against West Virginia, and in a lopsided bowl loss to Tulsa. Can he show some progress? The biggest thing I want to see is a vast improvement in his completion percentage, which plummeted to below 50 percent after a blistering 85 percent performance against KU in his first real action. He needs to be more around 60 percent to be really effective.

  • The new-look defense. The past three seasons, Jake Knott and A.J. Klein have run the show for Iowa State's defense. For one, it needs new linebackers, but more than that, it needs new leaders, too. Jeremiah George looks like he might be ready for that role, but Jevohn Miller and Jared Brackens are likely to open the season as starters, and will have to show off what they learned from watching Knott and Klein. Miller got some valuable first-team work last spring after Knott had surgery, but this will be a whole new ballgame.

  • The new-look receiving corps. The Cyclones' top three receivers are gone from last season's team, but it should be interesting to see what ISU has at what has been a position of weakness for them for a few years now. Freshman Tad Ecby has fought his way to a possible starting spot, as has fellow freshman Dondre Daley. Jarvis West, Albert Gary and Quenton Bundrage have a little more experience, but those guys have to help Richardson get adjusted.