Sep 10, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Joel Lanning (7) throws a pass in the second half against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes beat the Cyclones 42-3. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
AMES, Iowa. — Coming out of Iowa State’s 42-3 loss to Iowa at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, all the discussion surrounded a quarterback controversy. Junior starter Joel Lanning struggled most of the night against the No. 17 Hawkeyes before being relieved by sophomore Jacob Park late in the third quarter.
Same stuff, different Iowa State team. Another year in which the quarterback position became a jumbled mess like the junk closet inside everyone’s house.
On Monday, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell slammed the door on the controversy — or at least rearranged the closet so the door would stay shut.
“I don’t even know if that’s a question to be honest with you right now,” Campbell said during his weekly press conference. “As we go out to practice our starting quarterback is Joel. Again, those are things where we continue to evaluate that through Sunday’s practice, Tuesday’s practice, Wednesday’s practice into Friday. I think as we continue to learn our own football and where we’re going and what gives us the most opportunities to be successful, we’ve got to continue to evaluate that.”
It wasn’t very likely that Campbell would announce a change during his press conference even if there was one to announce. That said, not many would have expected him to essentially dismiss any idea of a quarterback competition.
Lanning, who completed 8-of-20 passes for 86 yards and an interception against Iowa, is the guy — at least for now.
The Cyclones don’t need him to be otherworldly. He needs to be good enough to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers and avoid making mistakes.
“The quarterback position is really simple for us is no matter who the quarterback or what the quarterback is,” Campbell said. “Number one, an ability to provide great leadership, knowing what we’re trying to get accomplished within the offense’s scheme. Number two, it’s consistency of throwing the football. Number three, I think it’s the ability to have great leadership out there and understanding.”
This doesn’t mean there’s no chance of seeing Park in the Cyclones’ Big 12 opener on Saturday in Forth Worth when they face Texas Christian (11 a.m. on FS1). In fact, if Lanning finds himself in some trouble early on, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see Park.
Campbell hasn’t been afraid to use multiple quarterbacks in the past and he didn’t shy away from that on Monday.
“I’m never a one quarterback guy,” Campbell said. “I’m always, what gives us the best chance to be successful? I wish I could sit here and we’re two years into it and I really have a great feeling of what gives us the best opportunity to be successful, but we’re two games in and I think we continue to learn. We continue to grow and what that has to force us to do as coaches is to evaluate and then do a great job of putting a product on the football field for us to be successful. Is that one quarterback? Is it two quarterbacks? Is it three quarterbacks? Shoot, whatever it is, we’re going to do whatever we need to do to give ourselves some consistency on the offensive side of the football and give us the best chance to win.”
That junk closet is still awfully messy.