Notebook: Cyclones shuffle coaching staff, Campbell on playcalling duties, and more

Iowa State quarterbacks coach Joel Gordon.

Aaron Marner

Friday morning, Iowa State announced the addition of three new coaches to its football staff.

Head coach Matt Campbell and the new coaches met with the media Friday to discuss the changes.

Replacing Manning

Iowa State lost offensive coordinator Tom Manning recently, when he took a position with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Manning also served as the team’s offensive line coach, so Campbell had some work to do to replace him.

Jeff Myers was announced as the new offensive line coach, and he’s ready to fill Manning’s shoes in that position. But that doesn’t answer the question mark at offensive coordinator.

“I think we’ll just wait and see,” Campbell said.

He added that the offense has always featured input from multiple coaches, including himself, so Manning’s departure shouldn’t change too much about what Iowa State hopes to do offensively.

“It’s really been a collective effort,” Campbell said. “We’ve got some really sharp young guys in that office. [Wide receivers coach] Bryan Gasser’s been with me a long time, he’s a sharp young guy.”

Campbell added that during the season, Manning often stayed up in the press box at halftime rather than joining the team in the locker room. When that happened, it was up to Myers to make changes on the offensive line and to communicate with them.

Because of that continuity, replacing Manning may not be as difficult a task as it seemed.

Offensive overhaul

Just about every position group for the Iowa State offense has undergone changes this offseason.

Iowa State didn’t have a formal quarterbacks coach last season, so quarterback coaching duties fell to passing game coordinator Jim Hofher.

Hofher will now be a senior offensive analyst for the team. Campbell said it gives Hofher the chance to be involved at the organizational level.

“Jim brings so much experience and can help us in a multitude of different ways,” Campbell said. “He certainly will continue to be involved in the offensive piece, but it just adds some more leadership in other areas of our program.”

The quarterbacks will now be coached by Joel Gordon, who served as an offensive analyst for the Cyclones over the past two years.

At the running back position, Lou Ayeni took a job with his alma mater, Northwestern. He was replaced by Nate Scheelhaase, who played quarterback at Illinois and graduated as the school’s all-time leader in career yards.

Scheelhaase draws the assignment of coaching David Montgomery, one of the nation’s best running backs in 2017.

“As talented as he is on the field, the thing I’m probably most excited about is his leadership skills,” Scheelhaase said. “His care for the unit, his care for this team, and his ability to just get guys going and get guys motivated, those are the things that will make a difference at the end of the day.”

Myers, of course, is replacing Manning on the offensive line. That means there will be new coaches in charge of Iowa State’s quarterbacks, running backs and offensive line, along with a change at offensive coordinator.

Special teams change

Iowa State had a lot of success on special teams in 2017. Kicker Garrett Owens, who was named All-Big 12 honorable mention, has graduated. So has punter Colin Downing, who was also All-Big 12 honorable mention as a senior in 2017.

That puts some pressure on new special teams coordinator Joe Houston. Houston worked as a special teams assistant for the past two years.

“Those two guys had a lot of experience,” Houston said. “When you’re a fourth year senior, and you’ve had three years of playing opportunities and experiences, that’s priceless.”

The Cyclones will likely rely on freshman kicker Brayden Narveson and junior college transfer punter Corey Dunn to fill those spots.

“The main thing is getting the kids to understand that the translation from being a practice player and competing at a high level in practice is the same as the games,” Houston said. “There’s a direct translation and correlation when you’re playing well in practice. Nothing changes in the game.”

Dunn is an intriguing prospect at punter. He’s from Numurkah, Australia, and will turn 26 years old during this upcoming season — and he’s still just a sophomore.

“Corey is a very good athlete,” Houston said. “He grew up playing Aussie rules football, so the punting technique comes naturally.”

Houston added that most punting prospects don’t really start punting seriously until they are freshmen, sophomores or juniors in high school. That puts Dunn ahead of the curve.

“Corey’s been punting footballs since he was a young kid,” Houston said. “The translation is easier for him because he’s just more experienced. And he’s doing it in the open field on the run, and the rules are different [in Australian rules football] obviously, but in terms of the natural ability to punt the football, he’s been doing that for 10 years.”