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    Rhoads vs McCarney

    12 Rhoads vis a vis McCarney

    I would have to be the first to admit that I was a Dan McCarney fan when he was here. I thought that he had the loyalty and dedication to get the job done. Even to the last moment,. I argued for him to keep his job. Well, it turns out that I was wrong. In retrospect, it’s clear that recruiting had gone south on him. There was no last minute surge left in the tank—not any more than after Jim Walden had been here a few years. And how recruiting had soured on McCarney is only magnified by the recruits that both his immediate successor and Paul Rhoads have continued to bring in.

    Yet that isn’t the only contrast, wasn’t Mac’s only weakness, and given that Rhoads is in many ways in the same mold as Dan McCarney, I thought I’d take a look at those areas, and see what we might find. After all, while the disease that killed McCarney’s tenure—not enough wins—is clear, so are the symptoms that brought that disease about.

    A. Offensive Line
    Mac: Coach McCarney got lucky when he first started out, in that he had a great offensive line coach who could patch together a quality line out of disparate odds and ends—a JUCO transfer here, a converted defensive lineman there, and an overlooked Iowa kid materializing off the bench. As such, it’s my impression that he didn’t put a whole lot of effort into recruiting offensive linemen, figuring that he could focus scant resources on improving the team elsewhere, and continue to have competent lines constructed from recruiting odds and ends. To say that he was mistaken would be…an understatement. The great offensive line coach moved in to greener pastures, and his successor proved to plumb depths from which the unit has still not recovered. Horrible lines made good skill position players (not to mention defenses) the next thing to useless.

    Rhoads: The “Tweener” coach left him some valuable parts, but starting with his second class, recruiting efforts really started to kick into gear. He might (might!) not yet have signed a Osemele, Carpenter or Haughton, but CPR’s OL recruits get into school, and stay there. And beginning with Lichtenberg, working through Farniok, Gannon, Omoile and etcetera, there is an athleticism that McCarney’s kids lost. It’s apparent that he and Bill Bleil spend time being selective in the offensive linemen that they recruit.


    B. Placekicking
    Mac:This is an easy one, since placekicking has become synonymous with futility in Ames. Well, that wasn’t always the case, as names like Stewart and Kohl should suggest, without going any further into the past. Some people think that Mac simply couldn’t—or didn’t—recruit place kickers, the truth is something else. McCarney was simply snakebitten, when it came to kickers. One after another would sign, only to be injured before they could contribute. The last of the series, Chris Mahoski, blew out a knee playing soccer mere weeks after Signing Day. For that matter, Coach Mac even had a commitment from an NFL kicker—before the hometown Hawkeyes opened up the vaults and offered a scholarship.

    Rhoads: As counterpoint, the first thing Mac’s immediate successor did was upon rolling into town was to sign two placekickers. Paul Rhoads’ own statement rides upon Cole Netten.

    C. Marty Fine
    Mac: I could well have entitled this one “Loyalty”, but loyalty is supposed to be a strength. Instead, this category might point to something deeper, an inability to accurately evaluate talent—whether regarding players or coaches. Sure, on the face of it, Fine had an impressive resume. His lines at Indiana had paved the way for Antwaan Randle-El and another thousand yard rusher. Turns out, Randle-El must have made those yards solely on his own ability. A decade later, repercussions from Fine’s disastrous tenure are still being felt. And Mac didn’t recognize the problem, or deal with it, until it was fatally too late.

    Rhoads: Here we get tricky, because I can guess a couple of names that some people might throw out as CPR’s Marty Fine. However, no one has had that incredibly negative an impact in both coaching and recruiting. Not even close. The counterpoint here is twofold. First, CPR has hired good coaches across the board—and when he loses some, he finds good replacements. Courtney Messingham seems further evidence. He’s worked his way up from tight ends coach to coordinator. The second counterpoint being that CPR evaluates talent well—in both coaches and recruits. The number of “sleepers”, of gems in the rough that his staff has somehow identified and signed is practically jaw dropping.

    D. Impatience
    Mac: Following a landmark Insight.com Bowl win, Coach McCarney made a decision that crucially failed him in two ways, essentially dooming his tenure. He wouldn’t recover from it. Honestly, with success unprecedented for two decades, it must have been clear that his program was poised for greater things. Fresh from the publicity of a bowl win in dramatic fashion, over a name opponent, Mac could have gone out and signed a solid core of high school recruits. Okay, so maybe the program would have suffered from youth for a year or so, while those kids worked in. Instead, Mac opted for the “quick fix” and signed a passel of JC players—double digit numbers, the majority of the class. Rather than establishing a foundation for future success, he opted for a patch—and then many of those players didn’t make it into school. And even fewer became contributors. A fatal stab for the program.

    Rhoads:
    Despite a succession of “landmark wins”, CPR has refused to go for the massive “quick fix”. Indeed, when he has reached for a “damn good player”, it has been the Gary Simons, D’Vario Montgomerys, and Duaron Williamses that he’s been hot after. The talented high school players. No urge to load up on endless JC players—and of that handful he did sign last year, two have more than two years of eligibility remaining.

    E. Iowa
    Mac: I hesitate to add this one to the mix, but under McCarney’s tenure it was a clear issue, and resultingly, a clear problem. It seemed as if every year, in and out, Mac signed a handful of Iowa kids who were never going to contribute. They simply didn’t have the athleticism for major college football. Essentially, a certain percentage of the roster was deadwood, players who were on the practice squad, but merely absorbed a scholarship for four or five years without making any apparent contribution. Almost as if he was filling a quota. And when you only have eighty-five scholarships in the first place, shaving off another ten to fifteen is only hamstringing yourself. Now, I might have considered this simply a suspicion of mine, but when I asked one of Mac’s players about that situation, I was taken aback. After having been forthcoming on a number of subjects, all of a sudden he clammed up. “We’re not allowed to talk about it,” was all he said.

    Rhoads: I find it interesting how some people lambast CPR’s predecessor for “ignoring” Iowa recruits—and yet he still brought in some good Iowa kids. In Paul Rhoads case, he has been both selective and productive. I don’t really see any “deadwood” in his classes. Matter of fact, the biggest instate “reach” in the last signing class had to have been either Collin Bevins or Kane Seeley—and both of those guys have sterling “athleticism” credentials.

    That’s it for now, folks. And while I am sure that Paul Rhoads has his own flaws—though I am as yet uncertain as to what they are—it does appear that he is making an effort not to repeat the mistakes of his one-time mentor. And doing a bangup job of it as well!


    Last edited by Aclone; 06-13-2012 at 08:25 PM.


    Paul Rhoads' players never quit.
    (They just disappear offseason)


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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    Great post, whether someone agrees with it or not. Well written, formatted, a lot of detail ... all about ISU football. I read the entire thing (on my phone) before I even noticed the second post.



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    Long story short is if CPR would have been the coach we would have been in 2 Big 12 title games.



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    loved reading it. thanks.



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    Great insight. I loved the detail and the differences you showed.


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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    I love both coaches equally.



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    that was good reading. thank you.



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    That was good. I still question that mac wasn't given the funding to hire quality replacement coordinators ala barney cotton. Immediately when chiz took over, JP publicly stated the hiring of assistant coaches would be well funding. Of course, what gc did with that money was questionable...



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    Re:Rhoads vs McCarney

    Both are/were good, passionate coaches.



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    Mac's recruting took a major dump in 04/05/06. For a program like ISU, just 1 really bad year could sink a lot of the momentum, but 2 or 3....well, we saw what happened. Hell, KU on a similar note went from NFL prospect WRs, alll big 12 defenders, and their best QB in school history to a historically bad Big 12 team in what 3 years? The cliff come fast.

    Kind of off track here, but Gene Chizik was always viewed at the time of the hire as using ISU as a stepping stone....but Pollard USED Chizik to sell his vision to the donors and ticket holders, and now look where ISU athletics is 5 years later finacially, and with facilities.

    I'm gonna flat out say it, Gene Chizik was ISU's stepping stone to bigger and better things. Chizik was worth millions to ISU, and in retrun he got to wear 5-19. Hahaha. Suck it Chiz! Not that he cares anymore because of a MNC at Auburbn, but still. Thats for the bump in revenue, chump.


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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    Good comments, plus McCarney changed uniforms yearly, even after his big winning season. After a great season, you leave the unis alone. To change is bad karma.



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    Another good one, Aclone. Thanks for posting!



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    I appreciate the time it took to compose your thoughts. Pretty good analysis. Thanks............



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    I think that Mac was the perfect hire at the time. He drug ISU FB from terrible to mediocre by the bootstraps. He had a couple of things that doomed him. First, he was not able to keep his best assistants. Loney being a prime example. He had a first class OC/OL coach and when Loney left, his replacement was subpar. And then Hoener's replacement was worse yet.

    But McCarney's bigger problem was recruiting. He was never able to build depth. He took multiple kids that should have ended up at UNI. And when the season wore on and injuries piled up, the players that were on the field weren't Big 12 players. That lead to 4th quarter collapses and beat downs by any really good teams they played. I'll also say that one particular recruiting decision really killed Mac. In one year, they signed something like 7 HS OLs and the best (Marcel Howard) was a walk-on in addition to those 7. The next few years, because of that big class, they hardly signed any HS OLs. Then, when that class graduated, they had no depth and had to sign a bunch of JUCOs. That was a disaster and it lead to Seneca running for his life and Bret Meyer getting beat senseless. ISU had pretty much zero running game from 2002 to 2008 and that was a direct result of McCarney's recruiting decision back in 1998.



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    Re: Rhoads vs McCarney

    I like how someone finally questions what a buddy and I used to drunkenly call Mac's "pee-wee ball" system. He took Iowa kids who weren't any better D1 prospects than myself just to say he had Iowa kids on the roster. Like it somehow made the on-field failures more noble.

    Good eye, Aclone.



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