Changes are afoot in Ames, as head coach Paul Rhodes made the call to fire second-year OC and former owner of the KU head job, Mark Mangino. Per ESPN staff writer Adam Rittenberg, tension between Mangino and Rhodes had been building for some time, with Rhodes noting that a "not on the same page thing" had been building for a while over personnel and play selection issues.
The ISU offense had been...so-so, sporting a tepid #70 ranking in Adjusted True Passing Yards per Attempt alongside a more robust #26 ranking in Adjusted True Rushing Yards per Carry. Rhodes must have figured QB Sam Richardson for the passing game culprit, as he also made the decision to bench Richardson for sophomore Joel Lanning while promoting pass game coordinator Todd Sturdy into the full OC role.
I haven't gotten eyes on the ISU-Baylor film just yet, but the box score tells the tale of a Richardson horror show (3-11, 12 yards, 2 INTs) and some Lanning-led friskiness (12-17, 144 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) after halftime. Perhaps there was a Mangino:Richardson::Watson:Swoopes situation in play that finally came to a head?
As of yesterday I'd have told you that Mangino's ability to construct a very opponent-specific game plan was my biggest worry heading into this one (witness E.J. Bibbs putting Texas' LBs and safeties through the stations of the cross last season), followed by dynamic freshman RB Mike Warren (797 yards, 6.6 a pop) making us pay for any dubious run fits. This game feels a bit more like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates now (ironic that a game could get MORE dessert-like with Mangino's departure), though the Warren/Allen Lazard/Quinton Bundrage troika figure to draw the most focus in the defensive meeting room this week.
Texas won't have to worry about a punkin' by the Great Pumpkin on Halloween Night, but we'll have to see what other tricks the Cyclones have on tap in Ames.