Tom Manning discusses Breece Hall, getting weapons involved

Charlie Kolar celebrates a touchdown with Brock Purdy during Iowa State’s 59-7 win over Kansas on Oct. 2.

James Powell

While it was a day to forget overall for the Cyclones against West Virginia on Saturday, the Iowa State offense had some shining moments.

Highlighted by two runs by Breece Hall of more than 50 yards and a season-long passing play to veteran Tarique Milton of 68 yards, Iowa State’s offense put up an impressive 31 points on the road. The only issue was its defense allowed 38 points and came out of Morgantown with a loss.

Another question mark that may have arisen from the loss was the absence of consistent targets for Xavier Hutchinson, who has more than proved himself this season, as well as tight end Charlie Kolar, an All-American who was thought to have returned to form after being injured earlier this season.

Offensive coordinator Tom Manning discussed the state of his offensive weapons when he met with the media Wednesday and said one way to success is early doses of his superstar pass-catchers.

Early doses necessary for offensive weapons

Against Oklahoma State, Xavier Hutchinson had 12 catches for 125 yards and a score.

Those numbers are hard to replicate every week, certainly, but that served as a glimpse into what could be if Hutchinson saw targets and action throughout the game.

In his next and most recent game, Hutchinson’s numbers were roughly halved (six catches for 51 yards). 

Just two of those came in the first half. Two catches in a half for a receiver who lit the field on fire against one of the better defenses in the Big 12, and possibly the country, in Oklahoma State. He’s not alone either.

It’s well-documented that Charlie Kolar plays a pivotal role in the offense, and he had just one catch for 10 yards in the second quarter in Morgantown.

In the case of Kolar, that means he was infrequently targeted, if at all, and never caught a pass in the second half. 

Manning knows how important it is for receivers to develop a rhythm early in games, but says he knows guys like Kolar can get it done no matter how many times the ball is thrown their way early.

“That’s what’s nice about [Charlie], you know, some guys, particularly at skill positions if you don’t get them involved early in the football game… it’s hard to get them going later in the game,” Manning said. “Kolar has the ability to stay the course and still be reliable down the stretch.”

In the case of last week, Kolar was not utilized down the stretch with zero catches in the second half. His coach believes, however, that Kolar would be there if they needed him.

Hall continues strong play

One person who has been getting touches early and often this time of year is Breece Hall.

In his last game against West Virginia, Hall had runs of 70 and 53 yards, respectively. Combine that with his 75-yard touchdown run out of the gate against Kansas State, and Hall is running with as much consistency and endurance as his offensive coordinator has seen from him.

“He certainly has made some really big plays here in the last few weeks,” Manning said. “He’s playing really good football and probably the best that he’s played overall from a consistency standpoint.”

Manning went on to add that it’s the explosive plays that have stood out regarding Hall’s play in the middle part of this season, and those long runs certainly would qualify as explosive.