Jantz, coaches adjust from Tulsa, look ahead to Iowa


Quarterback Steele Jantz gets ready to throw the ball during the game on Saturday, Sept. 1, against Tulsa. 

Dean Berhow-Goll

After arguably Steele Jantz’s best game as a quarterback for the cardinal and gold, it would be easy to overlook small, specific errors in his game. 

After all, he threw for a career-high 281 yards, with 240 coming in the first half. He also completed a career-high 32 passes. 

Instead, Jantz talked Monday, Sept. 3, about certain plays and making better decisions throughout the course of the game. 

“It’s crucial,” Jantz said of his decision-making. “I’ve mentioned in previous interviews, it’s all about decision-making. Saturday was better, but I still need to do better than I did on Saturday.”

ISU coach Paul Rhoads was also quick to point out things his quarterback could improve upon this week heading into next Saturday’s game against Iowa.

More specifically, Rhoads said he wants Jantz to be more accurate in his short-yardage passing. A number of times Iowa State ran bubble screens to slots receivers, and at times, the ball wasn’t put in the spot it needed to be. 

“Any time a receiver has to adjust for a ball and go this way on that quick hit and pass play, that’s a guy having to hold a block for an extra second,” Rhoads said. “That’s a guy having to travel this many more yards in order to turn it from a 3-yard gain to an 8-yard gain. The higher percentage we can hit those balls on the run, the better results.”

One thing Rhoads and Jantz said was that having offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham on the sidelines helped out a lot. 

It was decided before the game Messingham would coach from the sidelines rather than the press box, which is what former offensive coordinator Tom Herman did. However, the team did prepare for both situations in scrimmages in training camp. 

“I think as a play caller, having the opportunity to be right there beside the guys you’ve coached all week, to control the ebbs and flows to see the players’ eyes, to have a common effect or energizing effect is a positive,” Rhoads said. “And him being down there is a good situation for us.”

Jantz said it was a lot more convenient being able to talk to Messingham in person rather than having to scramble to get the headset to communicate and go over the previous series with his coordinator. 

Now moving ahead into an Iowa game, Rhoads said they will have to approach the game a little differently. 

In last year’s game at Jack Trice Stadium, Jantz was able to use his legs against Iowa, carrying the ball 16 times, for 59 yards. Both Rhoads and Jantz are expecting him to be kept in check this time. 

“Based on how Tulsa bottled up Steele, teams will prepare for his scrambling and his escape ability,” Rhoads said. “That part of the game that you saw a year I ago, I don’t think it will be there. He’s not going to break contain; he’s not going to get outside the pocket and create the things like he did a year ago.”

Jantz became somewhat of a household name in the state of Iowa after his roller-coaster performance in the win against the Hawkeyes last year. He said he’d have a random person bring it up every now and then. 

Now he said he’s a better quarterback and is looking forward to proving just that next Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. 

“I guess we’ll kind of wait and see,” Jantz said. “I feel a lot more confident.”