As problems go, this was a good one for Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads.
Steele Jantz or Jared Barnett at quarterback?
Jantz was named the starter on Tuesday, but both quarterbacks have plenty of experience.
Last season, Jantz led the Cyclones to a 3-0 start, including a victory over Iowa. Barnett was the starter in three victories, topped by the triumph over No. 2 Oklahoma State.
Both are game-manager types who threw too many picks (combined for 17 interceptions and 16 touchdowns) to keep the job on a full time basis, and Rhoads didn’t hesitate calling them out. “We definitely need better play from the quarterback position if we’re going to be a better team,” he said.
If all goes according to plan, neither quarterback will be in a position to throw as many to the other team. With depth in the backfield, the Cyclones want to shift their identity to a running team. James White rushed for 743 yards and eight touchdowns last season after taking over for injured Shontrelle Johnson.
Johnson, who averaged 62 yards per game before suffering a neck injury, has been cleared and will get his share of attempts. The Cyclones lose stud offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele but return three on the line.
In Iowa State’s ideal scenario, pass attempts would be reduced, completion percentage would increase and a successful running game would consume clock.
In a conference that’s spent much of the last few years spreading defenses, the Cyclones are looking at an alternative, and if we’ve learned anything about a Rhoads-coached team it’s never doubt its capability.