Players on Mangino news: “Surprising,” but they’ll move on

 AMES — Iowa State tackle Brock Dagel simply followed his Monday routine.

 He put on his headphones at 11:30 a.m., then, boom.

 “Every Monday before class I kind of turn on the (Coach Paul Rhoads) press conference and kind of listen to like the first 10 minutes of it to just pass the time before class,” said Dagel, who learned in the first few seconds that his offensive coordinator, Mark Mangino, had been replaced. “I turned to it right as coach Rhoads made his initial announcement, so that’s how I found out.”

 Surreal? No question.

 That’s how freshly-minted starting quarterback Joel Lanning described the Monday maelstrom that begin with the depth chart news that he’d replace fifth-year senior Sam Richardson atop the depth chart.

  He learned that his quarterbacks coach, Todd Sturdy would take over for Mangino — who Rhoads let go because they “couldn’t get on the same page” on key issues — as he walked in for media interviews.

 “It was kind of, like, shocking,” said Lanning, who earned the starting spot by going 13-of-18 for 211 yards and four touchdowns in the past two losses to top-3 TCU and Baylor. “But nothing’s going to change, really. It’s going to be the same plays anyway, so nothing’s going to change.”

 Except that the top quarterback job is now Lanning’s to cement, or lose.

 Weird day. A good day for Lanning from a personal perspective, who will make his first career start at 6 p.m. Saturday against Texas, but strange nonetheless to see a two-time national coach of the year let go during the season.

 “Obviously coach waited for a reason,” Lanning said. “I don’t really know why.”

 Sturdy provides stability, at least, as the team transitions.

 The Tipton native’s been a head coach before at the NAIA level, Rhoads noted, and also called plays for a high-powered Washington State offense in 2009 that ranked among the top 10 in passing offense.

 “He’s an up-tempo guy,” Lanning, a redshirt sophomore, said. “Just excited. He’s always got a lot of energy.”

 Sturdy and Lanning’s relationship runs long and deep. He’s the third offensive coordinator Lanning will have learned under in his three season’s on campus. 

 “He’s taught me everything, pretty much,” Lanning said. “I mean, he’s been here since I’ve been here. I had coach (Courtney Messingham) first when I got here, and then coach Sturdy pretty much took over, so he’s pretty much taught me everything that I know now. I‘ve just got to keep learning from him.”

 Lanning said trying to carve out his niche for different offensive coordinators has been difficult.

 “When I was a freshman it was tough because I went and learned a completely different offense and then coming in with coach Mangino’s offense and trying to learn that, it was hard for me, because the offense is just so big and trying to learn it all, it was a little overwhelming to be that young,” Lanning said. “But now, nothing’s going to change with coach Sturdy as the coordinator or whatever. It’s going to be the same plays. Just going to go out there and play.”

 Dagel called the news “surprising,” but said he’s learned that in college football such surprises can come abruptly at any time.

 “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you’ve got to move on really fast,” he said. “You kind of learn to ignore everything else going on around you and you just get with your preparation. So I have full faith in Todd Sturdy being our new OC and the things he’s going to enable us to do.”

 Dagel said upon learning of the Mangino move, he joined a group text with his fellow offensive linemen.

 “We were talking about it,” Dagel said. “Just all kind of surprised, really, was the general feeling.”


Rob Gray


Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.