At Big 12 Media Days this year, Paul Rhoads exclaimed his dislike and disdain for today's new uniform designs and outlandish color schemes. To most of you readers, you didn't take much from that. But to me, it said a lot.
Rhoads is Old School. Traditional. Set in his ways.
You could even call him a bit stubborn. Now that's alright for a 60-year old farmer in Western Iowa, but for a football coach in the northern region of the Big 12; a school with little success and even less of a national footprint on college football's landscape, it's a big deal.
Iowa State doesn't have the talent, nor do they have the depth, to just line up their best 22 players and beat teams in the Big 12 Conference (or Missouri Valley for that matter). It hasn't happened so far, so what makes you think there will be different results in the future?
ISU consistently ranks in the bottom tier of recruiting classes in the Big 12. The state of Iowa breeds only a few studs every year, and the rest of ISU's recruits come from Texas, California, and Florida. Draft picks from ISU are few and far between, especially at the skill positions.
Maybe those days of the conventional play calling and time-honored color schemes need to go. Maybe Paul Rhoads needs to think OUTSIDE THE BOX.
Mix it up a little bit. Maybe throw a deep ball to your bevy of beasts at receiver. Maybe every once in a while, bring in a corner or safety blitz. Whats the worse that can happen? If it doesn't... at least you say you tried.
One more thing - if your current scheme doesn't work - make some adjustments! We don't sell out Jack Trice every game to see the same plays over and over again.
The only way this program will Take The Next Big Step in football, is if they can build a BRAND that will get recognized. Not in Iowa. Not in the upper Midwest. But build a System and a Brand people can distinguish outside Cyclone Nation.
Cylentbutdeadly said it best in his 5 Questions That Have To Be Answered column. Question #1 - Why Doesn't this Program Have a Strength?
I hate to say it, but back in the early McCarney days (while we were whipping up one win consistently per year), we had that power run option. McCarney mortgaged his entire defensive gameplan for the hog mollies on the offensive line and some guy named Troy Davis. But ya know what, we had an Identity.
In 2008, Baylor brought in a crazy pass-happy offensive contrarian by the name of Art Briles. He single-handedly changed the college football fan's perception of who Baylor is. People know where Waco, Texas is now. (And yes, it is still a dump)
Urban Meyer has the spread run attack, and Mike Leach
has had the spread passing attack. Hell, even our neighbors to the East have Hayden Fry disciple Kirk Ferentz and his methodical, high-school-hand-the-ball-off-or-play-action offense and the Always Stable 4-3 base defense.
What System does Iowa State stand by?
I Have No Idea.
Paul Rhoads has been here 6 years, and still I sit in the stands at Jack Trice not knowing how the day will unfold. Will we run the ball to set up the pass? Or pass to set up the run? Will we see more than a 4-man pass rush? Will we get the ball more than once to our All-Big 12 Preseason Tight End?
So far, I've learned this - That we like to run the ball on 1st down (Even if it goes for 1 yard everytime). We NEVER EVER throw the ball down the middle of the field, no matter what the circumstance. We run a bend-but-don't break defense, and pray to God that we can get pressure with our defensive line. Other than that - it's roll the ball out there and See What Happens!
I'm not saying Paul needs to throw away all of his playbooks and start from scratch. He needs to find our strengths - and use them consistently. If you have two 6'5" 4-Star Receivers - then get them the damn ball, because that is mismatch #1. I don't care if you overthrow double coverage on a fade route every quarter. At least keep the defense guessing and on their toes.
If you really think you have one of the best young corners in the conference in Nigel Tribune, then let him play aggressive in-your-face coverage.
I really don't want to be known as #PunterU, because that is where we are going...
Find where you out-scheme your competition, and do it again and again. Think outside the Box. Find your Niche. Do something out of the ordinary. Maybe you won't like it at first - but it may grow on you.
I'm tired of the same old vanilla, I want some chocolate chip cookie dough for once.
P.S. Have you seen the Camo ULM jerseys? They look sick nasty, bro.