Paul Rhoads

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Arkansas adds former Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads to staff

Leave a comment

Former Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads is on his way back to a college football sideline in 2016. Arkansas announced Wednesday Rhoads has been added to the football staff, where he will take on the role of defensive backs coach for the Razorbacks and head coach Bret Bielema.

“Paul has had a long standing reputation as a great teacher and recruiter even prior to his years of experience as a coordinator and head coach,” Bielema said in a released statement. “He instantly brings years of experience to our defensive staff room and has coached the secondary and defensive backs to the highest levels of success.”

Rhoads joining the staff at Arkansas brings the former Iowa State head coach back to the SEC for the first time since filling the role of defensive coordinator at Auburn for one season in 2008. Rhoads joined the coaching staff at Auburn in 2008 following an eight-year run in the same role at Pittsburgh. He was then hired by Iowa State to be the new head coach and he held the job up until the end of the 2015 season. This will be the first time Rhoads has served on a coaching staff as a defensive backs coach, although it is worth mentioning Rhoads played the position when he was in college at Missouri Western in the mid-1980s.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Arkansas program and can’t wait to help build on the success coach Bielema and the staff have already experienced in three years,” said Rhoads. “Not only does coach Bielema have a track record of building winning programs but also developing young men of great character. Both are things I’m excited to be part of.”

Rhoads has never been one to be short on energy and emotion, so he figures to carry that to his new position on Bielema’s staff. He will have his work cut out for him. Arkansas ranked 117th in the nation in passing defense with roughly 275 yards allowed through the air per game last fall. No team in the SEC allowed more passing yards per game than Arkansas. The Razorbacks picked off 11 passes, but opposing passers had a combined passer rating of 141.7, easily the worst allowed by an SEC team in 2015.

Iowa State dismisses Paul Rhoads

7 Comments

Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads has reportedly been dismissed as head coach of the Cyclones. According to a report by Football Scoop, Rhoads will announce the news to his team today.

Rhoads has been the head coach of the Cyclones since 2009, after Gene Chizik left the program to take over as Auburn’s head coach. During that stretch, Iowa State put together a record of 32-54 and reached the postseason three times, winning the 2009 Insight Bowl. The highlight of the Rhoads era may be the upset loss of No. 2 Oklahoma State in 2011.

The final blow to Rhoads as head coach of the Cyclones was dealt by Kansas State yesterday. Up 35-14 at halftime, Iowa State allowed Kansas State to score the game’s final 24 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter for a 38-35 victory to drop Iowa State to 3-8 on the season and 2-6 in Big 12 play.

With the change at Iowa State, there will be 13 coaching changes in the FBS during this coaching carousel cycle, including nine from a power conference.

UPDATE: Iowa State has confirmed the dismissal, but announced Rhoads will coach Iowa State’s final game of the 2015 season this week against West Virginia.

Mangino out as Iowa State OC, but is Paul Rhoads on chopping block?

10 Comments

After dropping to 2-5, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads may be in the final weeks as head coach of the Cyclones. At 31-51 in his seventh season on the job, the time may soon be coming for Iowa State to consider some drastic changes with its program, but for now Rhoads is making changes he feels are necessary to improve Iowa State now. Today that mean cutting ties with offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.

Iowa State and Rhoads made the decision official today by announcing Mangino has been let go as the team’s offensive coordinator. Passing game coordinator Todd Sturdy will take over the role of offensive coordinator for the rest of the season. A lack of cohesiveness between head coach and offensive coordinator appeared to be the tipping point.

“Mark and I couldn’t get on the same page on a few important items,” Rhoads said, per SI.com. “We tried to talk that through again this morning in an effort to get us moving in a different direction. In the end, Mark was not interested in that. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I respect and understand his conviction.”

Iowa State owns the 48th best total offense in the nation, which is not so bad. The Cyclones have stalled inside the red zone though with a scoring percentage of just 75 percent once entering the 20-yard line. That ranks 111th in the nation, with 21 scores on 28 red zone trips. Iowa State has scored just 16 touchdowns on this trips, a touchdown success rate of just 57.14 percent (86th in the nation). Iowa State’s struggles on offense are pretty clear, but there is much more holding Iowa State back from developing a winning reputation.

History alone suggests winning at Iowa State does not come easily, and because of that the bar for success for Iowa State and Rhoads has never really been all that high. However, Iowa State is two losses away from being ineligible for postseason play for a third straight season. Rhoads is absolutely a coach that can keep a good relationship with his players, and that counts for something. The question is whether or not Iowa State would be better off with a different head coach.

Iowa State will make another change with the offense as well. Joel Lanning will be the team’s new starting quarterback starting this week against Texas. Lanning replaces Sam Richardson, who had completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 1,420 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. In six appearances this season, Lanning has completed 65.5 percent of his pass attempts for 264 yards and four touchdowns while backing up Richardson.

TCU’s Gary Patterson says somebody will always feel screwed by college football’s postseason

7 Comments

It was not all that long ago TCU head coach Gary Patterson was being respected for the way in which he handled his Horned Frogs being left out of the College Football Playoff. It was rather easily to compliment Patterson for his calm demeanor on the topic when Art Briles at Baylor was sounding off at every opportunity. Patterson reasoned TCU was working to reach the rung of the ladder programs like Ohio State and Alabama had reached, and admitted it takes time to earn that level of respect. Patterson kept TCU focused on the next opportunity, which resulted in a blowout victory over Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.

Now Patterson is ready to share his true feelings about TCU being left out of the College Football Playoff.

“No matter what we’ve called it during my 33 years of college football coaching, whether we had the BCS or the coaches’ poll, whatever they had, somebody has felt like they got screwed,” Patterson said while talking to reporters this week. “That will go on.”

He is absolutely right. This is not going to change regardless of the number of playoff teams are handed an invite to the championship hunt. But Patterson was not necessarily saying TCU should have been a lock for the first College Football Playoff. He was more pointing out some of the possible concerns that should be had regarding the new postseason format. Most notably is the emphasis on a conference championship game.

“I was told why we had a committee was we were going to take all that stuff out of it. I remember talking about the championship games and they shouldn’t have mattered,” Patterson said, as quoted by The Dallas Morning News this week. “Their job was to watch all this film and pick the top four teams no matter where you played and what you did. And then, all of a sudden in the end it got down to they played a championship game and we didn’t. That’s not what we were told. We were told they would pick the four best teams.”

Patterson’s comments days after the latest developments in the possible deregulation of conference championship games was reported. The Big 12 and ACC have made a push for removing the title game requirements (12 league members, and two division champions), which figures to open the door for a possible Big 12 championship game with only 10 conference members (which is also bad news for BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and so on). Patterson actually thinks the championship game model should be ditched everywhere. Some feel the Big 12 would have had a much better chance to be represented in the playoff had a conference championship game been played instead of the final week of the regular season. Odds are that certainly would have helped the cause for Baylor or TCU (or both!), but it is far from a suggestion either co-Big 12 champion would have been awarded one of the four spots.

Judging by Patterson’s story of a pregame meeting before the regular season finale with Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads, he knew TCU was going to be left out of the mix unless some crazy things happened elsewhere.

“We were on the field before the ballgame and [Paul Rhoads] said he hopes if we ended up winning for us to have good luck. I told him, ‘Paul, we weren’t going to the playoffs.’ We were the first team playing on that Saturday and haven’t seen anybody else and I told him we weren’t going to the playoffs. I’m pretty good at gut feelings and I watched all the articles going through the week. I actually thought it was the kiss of death when we got moved to third.”

Patterson spoke earlier this offseason about college football royalty coming into play. Conference championship game or not, Baylor and TCU each lack that perceived royalty compared to the other playoff options that were on the table. The Big 12’s overall production in non-conference play did not help that cause either.

Iowa State receiver suspended following OWI charge tied to marijuana

6 Comments

Somebody cue up the Fulmer Cup siren, because Iowa State is on the board.

Wide receiver Jauan Wesley was found in a car with marijuana and charged for operating while intoxicated by Iowa State University Police late Tuesday night. He has been suspended indefinitely from any team activities while the legal process plays out.

According to information from police documents acquired by Ames Tribune, police were called to a parking lot to investigate a suspicious drug action 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Two passengers were discovered in the vehicle and Wesley was the driver. Police had Wesley go through a sobriety test and administered a urine sample for further testing. That test was returned with a preliminary positive test for THC, a chemical found in marijuana. One passenger was charged for drug possession of a controlled substance.

“We are aware of the charges filed against Jauan, and we are disappointed,” Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads in a statement. “Jauan has been suspended indefinitely from the football team under the student-athlete code of conduct policy.”

Wesley is coming off a freshman season that saw 10 receptions for 107 yards in seven games.