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Football

MONDAY MUSINGS: Play them both!

Sep 10, 2016; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Jacob Park (10) runs away from Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Garret Jansen (53) at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes beat the Cyclones 42-3. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

AMES — It is quite sad that heading into week three of the 2016 season, the Cyclone Nation is already having a serious quarterback controversy conversation.

Unfortunately, we have all been here before. Iowa State hasn’t had a consistent leader at the quarterback position since Austen Arnaud.

Since then, modern day Iowa State football has seen a constant game of musical chairs at the most important position in sports. There was Jantz vs. Tiller, Tiller vs. Barnett, Jantz vs. Barnett, Jantz vs. Richardson, Richardson vs. Rohach, Rohach vs. Lanning vs. Richardson and who could forget Lanning vs. Richardson?

Did I miss any?

This year was supposed to be Joel Lanning’s year.

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
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

While I am a believer that there are significantly more issues with Iowa State right now than simply pointing a single finger a Lanning, the Ankeny product has a few of things working against him.

— Joel said it himself after Saturday’s 42-3 loss to Iowa: He (badly) missed a lot of easy throws – throws that he has to be able to make consistently.

— The offensive line is offensively bad. It’s bad enough where I am having a very real internal conversation wondering if Iowa State will be able to run the football at all this season, regardless of who is playing running back.

This brings us to mystery man Jacob Park, who looked rather sharp in the quarter and a half that he played against Iowa. I don’t think there is really any doubt that Park is the more accurate passer of the two. He is.

So if the line is going to continue to struggle (it will) and Iowa State will be forced to attempt to win through the air (it should), isn’t Park the obvious option?

Perhaps, but now ask yourself the following:

When the line collapses a good 10-15 times a game (it will), is Park going to be durable enough to handle consistent licks from Big 12 linebackers?

I do not know the answer to that.

How effective of a runner will Park be? He will be doing it a lot.

Lanning, who I don’t think you can win with throwing the ball 40 times a game, can run and is durable.

Why not play them both?

I’m generally not a two-quarterback type of guy, but these guys are totally different players. And think about what Texas did in week one against Notre Dame with Shane Buechele and Tyrone Swoopes…

I’m just spit balling here, mainly because I haven’t seen enough of Park to convince me he will take Iowa State to the promise land. Likewise, I haven’t seen enough of Lanning to convince me that he can’t.

Both men have obvious strengths, which complement the other well. For an offense that currently ranked 108th nationally at only 299 yards per game, it is an option worth considering.

We will likely find out more today at 11:30, when Matt Campbell will host his weekly press conference. Check out Cyclone Fanatic all day long for updates.

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