Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads was excited Monday at the Big 12 Conference football media day in Dallas when talking about senior quarterback Austen Arnaud.
The second-year ISU coach said his QB is more familiar with the current offense, and he hopes that leads to more success in 2010.
"I think Austen emerged through spring ball as our most improved player on our team," Rhoads said. "A lot of programs will give out an award for the most improved player. It usually goes to a freshman coming off a redshirt or somebody of that nature.
"He's been somewhat handicapped because he's been through three coaches, three position coaches and so forth, and he's just now getting a chance to settle in to an offense that he could call his own."
Arnaud threw for 2,015 yards and 14 TDs and ran for another 561 yards and eight more scores last year. (2009 ISU statistics)
Rhoads, who led the Cyclones to a 7-6 record and an Insight Bowl win over Minnesota last fall, said Arnaud needed to improve fundamentally on his mechanics. He did just that during the spring.
"I think he has an excellent grasp of our offense, which will improve his decision making when he takes the field," Rhoads said. "And we'll need him to have that kind of improved success if we're going to as a football team."
Rhoads also said his entire team has a much different attitiude after last year's nice finish. The seven wins were a far cry from the 2-10 record and 0-8 mark in the Big 12 by former coach Gene Chizek.
Said Rhoads, "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."