Nov 4, 2017; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell talks with quarterback Kyle Kempt (17) during the third quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
This is different than Paul Rhoads promoting Courtney Messingham to offensive coordinator following the departure of Tom Herman to Ohio State in 2012.
First of all, we don’t even know what Matt Campbell is going to do at offensive coordinator next season. The unfortunate timing of Tom Manning’s departure (just two weeks before spring football) left Campbell in a precarious spot. As far as play calling goes, my guess is that Campbell has two or three candidates in mind – himself included – and wants to see how the spring plays out before making an actual decision.
Secondly – and this is most important point I will make – Campbell is a head coach with a background in offensive football. He was a national championship winning offensive coordinator (Mount Union, D-3) before eventually earning the same position at Toledo in 2010. Point is, Campbell has called plays before and been very good at it. Before becoming Iowa State’s head coach in 2009, Paul Rhoads had only coached on the defensive side of the football dating back nearly 20 years. Paul was a defensive guy, and his team played like it.
I understand the concern of some. “The downfall of Paul Rhoads was when he hired from within instead of going out and getting the best guy possible.”
As I have outlined above, from the timing of this situation to the specific people involved, this is drastically different.
The buzzword “system” is critical here too. While it is still in the toddler phase, we are currently watching Campbell and Co. develop a “system” at Iowa State. Look at the scoring offense numbers from the final two years of the Rhoads era compared with the first two years of Campbell – and remember that this has been done with a patchwork offensive line.
The greater point is if it’s Matt Campbell, Tom Manning, Bryan Gasser or Joel Gordon “running” the offense, there isn’t much that is going to change. The “system” will stay the same, which is what Campbell believes in the most. He’s all about continuity and once you understand that, not naming an offensive coordinator right now is much easier to understand.
I’m no Clone-stra-damus. Maybe this decision (that hasn’t even been made) will look like a disaster two years from now. All I know is that it isn’t fair to compare this to Rhoads promoting Messingham (which I supported and was wrong about), and that by now, Campbell should have earned everybody’s trust at this point in the program’s maturity.