They have a mutual respect, which caused Rhoads to wade through a weeklong snow storm just to travel for an interview. Rhoads also remembers coaching against Mangino in 2009, when the Jayhawks were just two years removed from an Orange Bowl victory.
All of this caused the Cyclones’ coach to reach out, hoping a longtime colleague would become a friend that could help spark his offense.
“At the very top of the list was the simplicity with which his offenses have had success, and that was something that our program needed,” Rhoads said of Mangino.
Iowa State was in the bottom half of the nation in rushing and passing offense last season while ranking 91st in points scored. The Cyclones are first in one offensive category – starters returning. Iowa State brings back 11 starters on offense and added four-star receiver Allen Lazard, who is 6-foot-5 and runs a sub-4.5 40.
“He wanted to see that the cupboard wasn’t bare,” Rhoads said about Mangino. “I think he found that out. I think he was anxious to get back to this level. … I think he saw the opportunity for success at our place. He liked the way that the program was being run.”
NUMBERS TO KNOW
2 - Iowa State won the last two games of the season after winning just one in the first 11 contests. They shutout Kansas and beat West Virginia in triple overtime. … 100 - more than a third of the Cyclones’ 298 points scored last year came in the fourth quarter. … 8 - the number of different receivers who caught at least 10 pass last year for Iowa State. … 252 - the combined number of tackles between Jeremiah George and Jacques Washington, the Cyclones top two leading tackles last year. The total was 29.3 percent of the team’s total tackles. Both players graduated.