NEW YORK - DECEMBER 30: Iowa State Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads, pondering. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Hi Paul. Average fan here. Been a fan of Iowa State for a few decades now. First off, let me say that you're doing great things for Iowa State football. Your energy, coaching, and the big wins from the past few seasons have brought a level of excitement to the program that hasn't been seen in years.
And this year has the potential to be a big season. Returning the core of the offense and defense, with two extremely gifted linebackers and a slew of talented running backs, this year could be special. Except for one nagging detail.
The quarterback situation. As in, Iowa State still doesn't have one. With only two weeks to go until the opening game against Tulsa. This is a problem.
Hey, you know this is a problem! Not here to question your judgment. This is your team, you call the shots.
That said: PLEEEEEEEAAASE pick a quarterback this weekend. Someone, ANYONE. Saturday will be the third scrimmage of fall camp. Somebody must have separated themselves by now, right? Hell, with three scrimmages complete, you could just pick the quarterback that had the best performance in two out of three scrimmages.
Now, you have your reasons for not naming a starting quarterback. One, all quarterbacks have improved at such a level that it's difficult to determine which one is truly the best. This competition is HEATED. This scenario is also very unlikely.
Two, no one has stepped up and shown the leadership or skill to be the starting quarterback. Unfortunately, this scenario is very likely. This puts you in a bind, because obviously you need to pick someone, but everyone's just kinda milling around out there, not really taking the initiative. But hell, Colorado just named a starting quarterback, and he's a castaway from Kansas. Iowa State's QB situation isn't worse than Colorado's, is it?
You have three scholarship quarterbacks in this race: Barnett, Jantz, and Richardson. Any one of these guys can help Iowa State win. Hell, Brett Bueker's a senior AND a captain. How's his presence in the pocket?
Jared Barnett is entering his third year in the system. He ran a similar offense all through high school. He knows the playbook, and the offense seemed to click with him in the shotgun last year. By all accounts, everyone in the locker room likes him. What's the issue there?
Well, there are the freshmen mistakes he made last year. Too many fumbles, too many misthrown balls. That lame, stumbling attempt to prevent the pick-six in the Oklahoma State game was pretty tough to watch. And the less said about his performance in the Pinstripe Bowl, the better.
But that's just it; they were some obvious freshman mistakes. Barnett's been in the game a long time, but not on the scale he experienced last year. Surely another year of maturation has helped correct some of those mistakes, right? So there's one option.
Then there's Steele Jantz. Subject of a slightly-irrational hysteria after winning his first three games in dramatic fashion, few Iowa State stars have fallen more quickly. The resounding thud you heard in Ames on October 22 last year was Jantz's first season bottoming out in spectacular fashion. Whether this crash was due to the injury Jantz suffered during the UConn game, hitting the wall of his ability, facing tougher teams than he had previously seen, or some combination of the three; Jantz wasn't performing. At all.
But it's easy to see why you're high on Jantz (Kids at home: Do NOT get high on Jantz. Hell of a trip). His physical ability, if harnessed correctly; makes him a dangerous weapon for the offense. Collin Klein was able to carve up the Big XII last year with Kansas State, and Jantz is a similar player. You think that IF Jantz can just master the playbook and IF he eliminates some of his dumber mistakes, you'll have an excellent Big XII quarterback. You're probably correct. But those are two big ifs. And again, the first game is just two weeks away.
But hey, Seneca Wallace threw more interceptions than touchdowns in his time at Iowa State too. He was pretty good.
Finally, there's wildcard Sam Richardson. Much like Wildcard Charlie from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Richardson popped up out of nowhere this summer with a crazy gleam in his eye and a dream: A dream to claim the starting role this year.
Fans don't know much about Sam Richardson. How could they? He's a redshirt freshman. Fans know that he was highly-touted coming out of high school, and that Tommy Tuberville tried to get him to commit to Texas Tech at the last minute, but that's about it. He went 14-24 for 137 yards and a touchdown in the spring game.
And after basically dismissing Richardson during the Big XII media days, you pulled a 180 a week later at Iowa State's media day and said he was very much still in the mix to start at quarterback. Is he really? Maybe by the end of the season he'll pull a Jared Barnett and start some games. But let's be honest, Sam Richardson is very unlikely to be named the starting quarterback for Tulsa.
So those are your options, Mr. Rhoads. Barnett, Jantz and Richardson. You've seen two full seasons with Barnett, one full season with Jantz and a redshirt season with Richardson. You must have some idea of what each of them brings to the table. Please choose a starting quarterback soon.
Husker Du - Indecision Time (via BingoMandingo)