Scheelhaase already seeing differences between the Big 12 and Big 10

New Iowa State running backs coach Nate Scheelhaase speaks to the media for the first time since being hired on Friday, March 9, 2018.

It has not taken Nate Scheelhaase long to see the differences between the Big 12 and the Big 10.

Iowa State’s new running backs coach and former quarterback turned staffer at Illinois knew about the explosive offenses and playmakers of the Big 12, but now he is getting a chance to see them in action firsthand.

“I think there are a lot of differences. The Big 12 conference I think from the outside looking in everyone knows how dynamic some of these offenses are and how many points are scored, how many yards are gained during games,” Scheelhaase said last Friday. “I think the athleticism of this conference is different than what I’ve been used to. You have guys all over the field who can really, really run, that can really, really make plays, which is exciting.”

“It will get even more so when we start game planning and watching those teams I feel like I’ll see more of those nuances.”

All those things Scheelhaase said are not any kind of secret. They have been the narrative surrounding the Big 12 for nearly 10 years, but it is striking when you consider how much time Scheelhaase spent around the Big 10 before making the move west to Ames.

Even though the Big 10 is hardly three-yards and a cloud of dust these days, there is a clear difference in the style of football played in the nation’s two premier midwestern leagues.

“More so you’re going to lineup I-formation. There’s going to be a bunch of guys in the box,” Scheelhaase said about the schematic differences. “You get a lot more of that in that conference versus here you’ve got receivers flying all around the field, the ball going from left to right, fast tempo. Just a lot more than what I’ve been used to previously.”

While all of those things could be overwhelming for a young coach jumping into a different league, Scheelhaase’s offensive experiences at Illinois were not really typical for the traditional Big 10. The Fighting Illini largely used a spread scheme in his time as the signal-caller and in the recent years since.

Plus, it helps to know the team he is joining is full of guys prepared to handle the dynamics of the Big 12.

“The good news is we’ve got a bunch of them on our roster too,” Scheelhaase said. “Which will make it exciting.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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