National Signing Day was much more than just National Signing Day this year at Iowa State.
Paul Rhoads also announced the addition of two new staff members: Tommy Mangino and Brandon Blaney.
The announcement went like this: In addition to his job as the offensive coordinator, Mark Mangino will coach tight ends next season. Mark’s son, Tommy, will coach Iowa State’s wide receivers. Another Mangino connection, Brandon Blaney (from the Jacksonville Jaguars), is the new offensive line coach and Todd Sturdy will coach Iowa State’s quarterbacks next season.
Now that the offensive coaching staff is in place, I thought it would be appropriate to pick the brain of the new offensive coordinator. That is exactly what I did following Rhoads’ presser.
CF: What do you think about the quarterback you signed today, Darius Lee-Campbell?
MM: He is a highly competitive young man. He’s very intelligent. He has all of the physical skills that you’re looking for at the quarterback position. He can throw the ball, put good spin on it. He’s an accurate passer. He has mobility. He can make people miss. He has the ability to beat you with his arm and his feet. He’s a really bright kid. We expect him to be able to pick up our system relatively quickly. It will really fit him well, what we are trying to do.
CF: Seeing a guy like Allen Lazard sign has to be exciting for you. What will he bring to your offense?
MM: I’d like to say that I did all of the heavy lifting on that but I just showed up for the party. He is a big, strong and athletic young man. He’s got really good ball skills. He is a guy that will be an outside receiver for us. He is the type of guy you try to get mismatches with on a corner. He is an intelligent young man, which I like. I like to recruit guys that are intelligent and you don’t have to repeat things over and over. Learning the system will not be difficult for him. To have a kid of his caliber, an in-state player, it’s a big deal for us.
CF: Are you excited to coach with your son?
MM: I am excited to work with my son. We had a couple of years together. My last two seasons at Kansas as a GA. After that, I told him that he had to go pay his dues. He coached junior-college football for three seasons and then he had the good fortune to hook up with Coach Bielema and his staff at Arkansas. He had a tremendous experience there and Coach Rhoads did most of the legwork on it. It was his call. I’m pleased that he made that call for a number of reasons. Obviously, selfishly, I get more time with my grandson but more importantly, it is somebody that has been around me and knows my system. He knows how we do things, our approach to players, our approach to offense, our approach to preparation. He knows everything in terms of how we game plan, how we break down opponents, all of the verbiage.
CF: Brandon Blaney is incredibly familiar with your system too. How nice will it be to have both of them when the spring rolls around?
MM: Brandon spent 10 seasons with me. He was my graduate assistant at Oklahoma. He was the very first full-time coach that I hired at the University of Kansas. Brandon is a bright, bright young coach. He is very intelligent. Everywhere he has gone, he has made an impression on people with his work ethic, his intellect, his ability to relate with kids. He is the type of guy that will be task oriented. He will demand a lot of the offensive linemen but they will trust him and know that he is in their corner. They will like him as a person but he will get a lot out of them. He is one of the hardest working guys that I have ever had on a staff at Kansas and I had some really hard working guys. I’ll put it to you simply. He is reliable. He will get it done.