Mark Mangino needed only a bit of time as he sat overlooking the field at Jack Trice Stadium to realize he had made a mistake.
There Mangino was in the press box, the players on the field, with no interaction. The first-year offensive coordinator chose to call plays from the box this season, but just one game after he arrived there, Mangino returned to the sideline last Saturday.
“I knew as soon as I sat up there in the beginning of the [first] game I said, ‘I think I made a mistake,’” Mangino said. “For some coordinators, they love it. They sit there and sip on their Pepsi all day or cup of coffee and call plays and things like that. I feel better doing it on the field. I can feel [the player’s] pulse so-to-speak.”
Mangino arrived at Iowa State with experience at both locations. As offense coordinator at Oklahoma, where he also served as the offensive line coach, he was on the sideline. As run-game coordinator at Kansas State he coached from the box.
During the season-opener, Mangino said he never had communication with any single player on the Iowa State offense. That bugged him, and so he made the switch.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a hands-on guy. I’m a guy that likes to look the players in the face. I like to get a feel for what the sideline is all about,” Mangino said. “[Coaching from the box is] just not my style. I tried it and gave it a shot sitting upstairs, and that’s just not me.”
Mangino wasn’t sure the switch made the difference in Iowa State’s offense beginning to click against Kansas State. Being on the sideline allowed him to communicate directly with the offensive line, and other players heard his messages from nearby.
“I thought he also did an excellent job of utilizing his staff because he needed to,” coach Paul Rhoads said. “He didn’t have the bird’s eye view and he utilized all of those assistants very well from that position.”