How versatile is your team’s quarterback? Probably not quite the dual threat of say, Iowa State’s Joel Lanning.
A redshirt senior, Lanning started nine games at quarterback last season and completed 99 of 169 passes for 1,290 yards and nine touchdowns. Although he ultimately lost the starting job by season’s end, Lanning was the Cyclones’ third-leading rusher with 518 yards and had a team-best 11 rushing touchdowns.
Now it seems the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Lanning is adding a second position — middle linebacker.
Tyson Veidt, the Cyclones’ linebackers coach, said Lanning is currently Iowa State’s No. 1 middle linebacker and it’s his job to lose.
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Lanning told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register that he’s still seeing time at quarterback in spring practices and spent time with the special teams. But the linebacker gig just kind of presented itself.
“(Iowa State coach Mike Campbell) just asked what I wanted to do,” Lanning told Birch. “(He) kind of gave me the opportunity, if I wanted to play linebacker or not. I said, ‘Sure, I can do it, but I want to stay on the offense too.’ I’ve been doing both at practice — working on everything.”
If that sounds like it would be a huge change, Lanning said that’s not the case.
“It really hasn’t been that big of a challenge,” Lanning said in an Iowa State football video. “I mean, I feel like the way I play on offense, you know running the ball and stuff, I was physical. … You’ve got to run up and tackle someone. It’s like running the ball, you’ve got to run up and lower your shoulder at them. I’ve been physical my whole career.”
Lanning said in the video that making the switch requires some of the same skills.
“On offense, you’re reading the safety or reading someone else and it’s just like defense,” Lanning said, “you’re reading fullbacks, offensive linemen.”
Here is more on Lanning from the Iowa State video.