One thing is certainly clear in the minds of quarterbacks Sam Richardson and Grant Rohach: Richardson will take the snaps as starter this season for the Cyclones with Rohach as his backup.
The decision by head coach Paul Rhoads, made prior to the start of fall camp, has led to Richardson feeling more poised to begin the season.
“Last year, growing into a starter at the end of the season, it’s something that I had to quickly catch up with and now it’s something I’m pretty used to and conscious of,” Richardson said of his poise and calm demeanor on the field. “It’s something that I’ve really worked on with myself and my game.”
Now in the starting role, Richardson, a redshirt sophomore, has taken on a role of being the most experienced ISU quarterback and has been a resource Rohach has used throughout fall camp.
“We sit next to each other in meeting rooms, and I follow him with every rep,” Rohach said. “I’m watching him and taking mental reps when he’s going. Coming off the field if I have a question, I know I can go to Sam or [offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham].
“We stay in touch and make sure all the quarterbacks are communicating.”
Perhaps the most important lesson Rohach has been able to learn from Richardson is the necessity to stay "locked in" despite being in a role where he may not see the field many times this season.
Rohach only has to look at Richardson’s performance against Kansas last season where he was suddenly put in the game to lead the offense. Richardson completed 23 of 27 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns.
“Sam went in, and he had a phenomenal game,” Rohach said. “It’s kind of like thinking about the future, like, 'Oh, what if that ever happened to me?' It’s one of those things where people say: 'It’s going to happen; it’s going to happen.'
"It happened for Sam, so I’ve got to stay in that same mindset.”
Rohach feels the game has been slowing down for him this fall and has been able to see defensive schemes unfold more quickly than in the past.
He also has gained the confidence from Rhoads to be the No. 2 quarterback.
“[Rohach has done] some things well and has the confidence of our players as we move along,” Rhoads said at the ISU media day. “If something happened to Sam — his helmet came off and he had to miss a snap — and Grant went in there, there wouldn’t be any reservation or hesitation by our kids to keep moving along with our offense.”