Harrington: Someone needs to take accountability for offensive struggles


Jacob Rice

Hunter Dekkers prepares for the snap against Kansas State on Oct. 8.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

Tom Manning, Hunter Dekkers and the Iowa State offensive line have all struggled to start the season, but someone besides Matt Campbell has to step up to take some of the blame.

After a 10-9 loss to Kansas State, head coach Matt Campbell took the blame for the team’s struggles.

Iowa State does not have top-tier weapons by any means, and the offense definitely has less talent than it has had in previous seasons. Despite this, scoring 11 or fewer points in three of the first six games of the season is unacceptable.

Here are my thoughts on the three factors that fans are blaming for the lack of offense.

Hunter Dekkers

Let’s start with what I’ve seen from Hunter Dekkers.

Dekkers is wildly talented and has shown he can throw deep strikes downfield when the opportunity presents itself.

Turnovers were a problem for him early in the season, as he threw five interceptions through the first four games of the season. The difference was, at the time, Dekkers looked comfortable airing the ball out downfield.

Even in the Iowa game where the team scored just 10 points, Dekkers was moving the ball into the redzone, and the Cyclones as a whole could not finish off drives.

In both the Kansas and Kansas State games, Dekkers looked less comfortable forcing the ball into tight windows and in turn struggled to move the offense.

Dekkers is the quarterback of this football team moving forward, and he really just needs to gain his confidence back to be successful once again.

Tom Manning

Despite some fans disagreeing, Tom Manning will finish the season as the offensive coordinator of Iowa State, and there is a great chance he will be back next season.

Manning has had some strong offenses in recent years, but fans are now questioning him due to the team’s recent struggles. The two main things I have seen fans discuss is that Manning cannot be successful without a team of pro-caliber players, and the offense lacks creativity.

Both of these concerns are more than fair, but I do not think it is time to panic yet.

Manning could utilize Jaylin Noel a bit better in my opinion; however, I am waiting until the entire season plays out to see if he can turn it around.

The one thing I wish Manning would do is address the media after the games to alleviate some of the pressure from his young offense. Manning does address the media on a weekly basis, but the hardest-hitting questions come right after the games, and they are mostly falling onto Dekkers.

Offensive Line

The Iowa State offensive line has been another cause of the struggles for the Cyclones.

Iowa State has been unable to get the run game going, and a lot of the reasons for the short crossing routes in the pass game have been due to the lack of protection from the offensive line.

Overall, the offensive line has hindered Manning’s ability to get creative, which causes problems for Dekkers. Dekkers not being able to find an open man due to playcalling causes more sacks which makes the offensive line look worse.

It is really a circle of blame, but if one of these factors can turn it around, the Cyclones will also be able to turn it around.