Freshman quarterback Sam Richardson hopes to lead the Cyclones to a win in the Liberty Bowl after taking over the controls of the offense late in the season. I-S-U offensive coordinator, Courtney Messingham, says Richardson has improved with actual game experience. Messingham says the biggest thing that has improved is Richardson’s pocket presence, as he says even as a freshman he has always had a handle on the offense and in working with other players. “Before he had those live reps, he still had a tendencies in a two minute situation to take a sack,” Messingham says.
He says Richardson now has that internal clock that tells him when to run and get some yards. One person that won’t be in the backfield is top rusher Shontrelle Johnson, who hurt his knee in practice. Messingham says Johnson’s absence won’t alter what they can do on offense. “We don’t worry about it, you go and play with guys you’ve got. And we are very, very happy with James White and Devondrick Nealy, and it’s just now Deveondrick’s going to have to carry a lit bit more of the load than he has been, and we feel confident that he can,” Messingham says. And he says senior Jeff Woody also has role in the offense.
This game is a rematch from the season opener where the Cyclones beat Tulsa. That means some adjustments as the Golden Hurricanes have seen what Iowa State wants to do. Messingham says you go through and see what Tulsa does, but understand that they have had an opportunity to see what type of adjustments are made on offense and you have to be ready for that. Messingham says the Tulsa defense has evolved as the season progressed and they need to be ready for that. “You have to look at what are the things that we were taken advantage of and how will they quote fix that,” Messingham says. He says they will not be the same defense they saw the first time around.
The Liberty Bowl kicks off at 2:30 today (Monday).
(Radio Iowa Sports)