A topsy-turvy Iowa State offseason, interrupted only by the signing of a very good recruiting class, has bled into the spring football period.
Among the nuggets gleaned from a Saturday afternoon media availability, which followed a spring scrimmage: presumed starting free safety Devron Moore has bizarrely left the program for the time being, starting left tackle Brock Dagel underwent surgery after his leg was sliced open by a teammate's cleat and the stitches became infected and the quarterback competition has been reduced to a three-man race, almost by default, as contender Trevor Hodge was held out of the scrimmage because of an "internal issue."
"He's still with the program," head coach Paul Rhoads said of Hodge, a redshirt freshman, who is going through practice but did not play Saturday.
As for Moore, the three-star JUCO transfer has returned to Carthage in the last week or so after experiencing a bout of homesickness, per Rhoads.
Rodney Coe was dismissed from the Cyclones' program in March. If Moore does not return, that's two starters gone from a defense that needs all possible help.
Dagel headlines a lengthy injury list. Starting three-tech David Irving and weakside linebacker Luke Knott were already out for the spring. Wide receiver Dondre Daley has a swollen ankle that might keep him out for next week's Spring Game and defensive tackle Pierre Aka has a concussion.
Daley and Aka were listed starters at wideout and defensive tackle, respectively, to open the spring.
The good news to be had? Rhoads is very pleased with the play of the offensive line under Brandon Blaney (highly-touted redshirt frosh Jake Campos is running with the first-teamers in Dagel's absence), junior wideout Tad Ecby has rehabbed better than expected from an undisclosed injury and is participating, Nigel Tribune appears to be making a leap at cornerback in his first full offseason and JUCO transfers Jordan Harris and Gabe Luna are progressing well.
And while quarterback play has not been earth-scorching hot, coordinator Mark Mangino believes he's close to narrowing the competition to between to players and thinks the offense is on its way.
"We've got a long way to go," he said. "We can get there, and we will get there."
Head Coach Paul Rhoads
Offensive Coordinator Mark Mangino (Rhoads is the image art but this is a Mangino video)
Defensive Coordinator Wally Burnham