Quotebook: Scheelhaase on his first spring as OC

Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers (12) nthrows the ball against Kansas State during the fourth quarter at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State offensive coordinator Nate Scheelhaase met with the media on Tuesday to break down his first spring in his new role, what it has been like coaching the quarterbacks, Hunter Dekkers development and much more.

The following are excerpts of that conversation lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

On Hunter Dekkers’ growth during the winter…

“It’s been fun to work with him these last few weeks, especially in spring ball. He’s got a lot of really good reps under his belt. It’s fun to go back and watch the film from last year, because he’s able to talk through what he saw, decisions he made, reasons why he went to certain spots on the field, and really, just to be able to dial back into to what we’re trying to do, how we’re trying to execute, some of the tweaks and changes that we’ve made, and, honestly, to get out there on the field and get reps. It’s one thing to theorize about things all offseason. The blessing of spring ball is you get to put those things in action and start to see some of those results in the field. Start to see things you may have tweaked from last year. He’s responded well to that.”

On competition in the quarterback room from Rocco Becht and J.J. Kohl…

“It’s been a really competitive spring. Overall, from position to position, you’ve got young guys that have been chomping at the bit. It’s no different in the quarterback room.

I think the experience that Rocco had even going through last season, the reps that he got in game, in practice, you’ve seen a lot of growth from him. You’ve seen his maturity, even even in the last few practices. He’s made a lot of huge strides in understanding the offense and making throws and great decision making, even throughout the course of practice. That’s good to see that consistency.

Obviously, JJ coming in, you’ve got a guy that’s, obviously, really talented, but he really, really cares about football. That’s a part that stands out to him, or since working with him, is that and he’s passionate. He wants to be in the film room as much as he can. He wants to get extra reps behind the scenes.

That’s the type of competitive spirit that you want from a position group, from an offense in general, from a team overall. We’ve got that from those guys. Those guys have all pushed each other, force each other to get better every day that they’re out there and really be dialed in.”

How the running backs have looked in spring ball…

“Number one, I would say those guys really dialed in this offseason to the weight room. You’ve seen those guys transform their bodies, you’ve seen them really amp up the nutrition and just get themselves ready to go. I think sometimes, it’s one thing to think, ‘Man, I want to go and be the guy and I want to go and have this incredible breakout season.’ There’s another thing when you get a ton of those reps and what that really feels like playing the running back position.

They’ve all felt that in some moments. Cartevious (Norton), Jirehl (Brock), Eli (Sanders), I think they have more urgency to get their bodies ready, to get themselves ready for this season. Our strength staff has done a great job. Our training staff has done a great job of working with those guys.

What we’ve seen so far is, man, you’ve got all those guys in there, they’re all a little bit different, but I think the positive part for us is they all have a level of physicality that they bring to the table. They have the ability to make explosive plays, which we want from our running backs. I’m really excited to see those guys continue to grow.

Again, that starts in the weight room with those guys in preparing themselves. I think what I’ve seen on the field from those guys is they’ve got the ability to to go and be explosive runners for us and playmakers for us, because we’re gonna need to do that come season.”

On working with new position coaches…

It’s been a huge positive to get into practice. You can get away from theorizing about things and, ‘Man, we can do this,’ or ‘Man, we should do this,’ and you actually get some reps to see, what are we good at? What are the things that fit us and fit our players?

You can really start to figure that out as an offense. I think it’s been cool to have guys with different experiences come into the fold, that obviously have different ideas, but even just, man, their ability to teach, their ability to coach, man, maybe they see things that I’ve never really realized or things that Coach (Taylor) Mouser, man, we’ve had a different take on it. They’ve been able to add just a different experience to the fold, which has been huge for us.

They’re great teachers, who care about the kids that they coach a ton. You’ve seen them with a lot of fire, I think from position to position, just in the group overall, and how they’re attacking it, the tenacity that each group is bringing to the table, as well as the precision and detail with what their position is expected to do and the techniques and fundamentals it’ll take to be successful. It’s been a lot of fun to get out on the field, to get back in a meeting room after practice, to go over stuff and figure out exactly, man, what fits our guys, and we’re moving as far as the direction of the offense, but I’ve been fired up about it.

I’ve been fired up from a football standpoint, but I think I said back then and I probably feel even more strong about it now that who they are as men and what they brought to the table as far as like, how they coach our kids, just just the type of men they are, who they are as family men as husbands as fathers. It’s been inspiring just to be around as a fellow coach, to be honest with you.”

On being the quarterbacks coach…

“Man, I think it’s been a huge positive, and it’s probably one I didn’t even anticipate early on. I think at any level of football, the offense in a lot of ways, can only go as far as the quarterback is ready to take it. I think being able to dial in with those guys and understand where they’re at to understand what they like, what they feel confident in, man, the install and how fast or slow we’re going just based on those guys, and what they can pick up, I think has been really, really cool.

It’s important, obviously, for the coordinator to understand those guys, and just being able to meet with them daily, being able to get the feedback from them in the meeting room has been huge. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve enjoyed getting to know those guys on a personal level number one, but just coaching them and figuring out what they do well, what they like, what they feel confident in out on the field. It’s been really cool for me.”

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.