Mailbag: What should Rhoads look for in the next OC?

This installment of the Cyclone Fanatic Mailbag is brought to you by Phillips Floors, located at 2732 SE Deleware Ave. in Ankeny. Also visit their Indianola showroom as well. 


Tis’ the season for cookies, robust beers, Christmas carols, bowl games and basketball.

It is also the season for coaching searches. Yipee ki yay. 

Obviously, Paul Rhoads isn’t going anywhere but Iowa State’s head man is keeping an awfully busy schedule right now. He is in the middle of a critical recruiting period and also needs to hire an offensive coordinator, a running backs coach and I believe another position on the offensive coaching staff as well (that has not been made official). 

This is the hot topic on our message board right now and because of that, I will begin this mailbag with any offensive coordinator related questions. Also note that if you submitted an offensive coordinator question and it doesn’t appear in the column, that is likely because it was similar to the others.

CarlHungus writes: Do you have any insight on who has the best chance at being our next offensive coordinator?

CW: I do not have any insight on whom the guy will be but I do have a few names whom I do not think will get the job. Those men are former Kansas coach Mark Mangino and former Iowa State/NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels. 

A source told me two days ago that Mangino would not be interested in the gig. 

And as for Sage, I just don’t see him getting an offer.

Other than that, there isn’t much information floating around right now and I have probably charged my cell phone 15 times in the last three days. 

Cybyassociation writes: What is the biggest, yet realistic, name you have heard tossed around for the offensive coordinator position? Or maybe not heard, but one you would like to see?

CW: The best name (in the opinion of this 29-year old hack blogger with no coaching experience at all) I have heard is former Wyoming head coach/Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen. Now let me be clear, I haven’t heard a thing about Rhoads reaching out to him. He is a guy who I put on my initial list on Sunday afternoon.

Christensen is the perfect fit. He has proven himself at a Big 12 school that at the time was not sexy at all (Missouri). Sure, he flopped at Wyoming but in case you haven’t noticed, everybody flops at Wyoming. Christensen would serve as a candidate who Rhoads could hand the keys over to on the offensive side of the football. The former head coach in him would provide some much-needed leadership on that side of the football.

Rhoads needs to find himself a Wally Burnham for the offensive side of the ball. Christensen’s history of being a proven commodity in the Big 12 (at a northern school particularly) is why I am such a big fan of his.

A guy who isn’t getting much play who should is Iowa Western Community College head coach Scott Strohmeier. Now going from the JUCO game to running the offense of a Big 12 program is a huge step – I get that. But Strohmeier literally took Iowa Western from being a start up program to a national title winner in fewer than five years. Also in Strohmeier’s favor is the fact that he would likely be a shark on the recruiting trail.

Also, Strohmeier, a former quarterback, is developing himself quite the reputation of a guy who thrives at grooming that position. 

I am a fan of his but in all honesty, I see Rhoads going the route of a more proven OC, a guy like Christensen, even if it isn’t him. 

We shall see. 

Doc writes: Who starts at MLB next year?

CW: A fascinating question, one that is somewhat difficult to answer right now as I do not know what will happen the next week and a half on the recruiting trail. And that’s where I will start. Kane Seeley won’t be ready. Neither Luke Knott nor Jared Brackens are big enough to make that switch. Would the coaches consider moving Jevohn Miller over to MLB? That is a thought.

There is no question that they need to snag a JUCO at this position in the next week and a half. All of the misses at linebacker have caught up to the program and a quality JUCO here would help stop the bleeding.

Cycsk writes: Your thoughts (and personal opinions) on the future of the "Big 4 Classic" at Wells Fargo?

CW: I don’t know much about the event’s future but as a whole, I will say that I don’t like it (note that I haven’t been shy about this in the past either). Call me old school or whatever, but some of my favorite Iowa State men’s basketball games of the year back in the day were road trips to the Knapp Center and/or Cedar Falls. Sure, they are tough games but big whoop. And yes, I understand all of the economics involved here. The Big 12’s round-robin schedule forced Iowa State’s hand. I’m not as crystal clear with Iowa’s situation but I’m sure it is somewhat similar.

There isn’t much that I like about the Big 4 Classic. Fans having to buy tickets for both games is a joke. The only way I would go on board with this is if the Big 4 Classic turned into an actual two-day event. Iowa State plays Drake one day. Iowa State plays UNI the other. Even so, I’m not sure if that would work logistically. 

I like the way that things used to be. I doubt that my mind ever gets changed on that topic either.  

Cloneteach writes: Higher total: Conference losses or Ejim foul outs?

CW: Because of the emergence of Dustin Hogue, I actually don’t see foul trouble as being as big of an issue for Melvin this season. So the answer is conference losses.

MNCyGuy writes: After November, how have your Big 12 projections changed?

CW: I would put Iowa State ahead of Baylor at No. 3 in the league. Having said that, I recently watched all of Baylor’s 74-67 loss to Syracuse and was impressed with Scott Drew’s bunch. I actually see them being a tougher win than they were a year ago. This Cherry kid is no joke. He turns the ball over less than Pierre Jackson did and their bigs have gotten better. Again, I’d put Iowa State at three for now but will not sleep on Baylor.

In addition to Iowa State, I put OSU ahead of KU in my preseason poll and would stick with that if I had another crack at it. Kansas could be scary-good in March but I’m still going to opt for the wealth of experience that the Cowboys have over the youth on Bill Self’s squad. 

DurangoCy writes: Should I be worried about Georges Niang?

CW: No. I just think he is pressing right now and nothing more. This happens when a guy knows he is struggling and tries to do more than his game will allow him to do. 

I have been encouraged that in both of Iowa State’s “tough” wins, Niang looked like an all-league player in the last five minutes of the game. Iowa State wouldn’t have beaten Michigan or BYU without him. Niang might be struggling a bit, but he has proven that he is still a clutch player and can shrug off a few bad minutes of basketball. I like that. Georges should be just fine.