The offensive side of the ball has been a mess for the Iowa State Cyclones, and perhaps the coaches were about to give what fans were clamoring for while watching the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Cyclones’ offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham was very displeased at the lack of offensive production when talking to the media on Wednesday night. He emphasized that there must be more consistency from his players.
“Sam has to get healthy so he can throw the ball and be consistent throwing the football,” Messingham said after practice Wednesday night. “His ankle’s not been in great shape.”
In the first two games of the season, the Cyclones haven’t been able to produce quality drives. Even when they get into second-and-short situations, the team seems to lose yards because the offensive line has been completely lackluster.
“It’s easier to get into a rhythm when you’re moving the ball in some chunks, and keeping yourselves out of third-and-long,” Messingham said.
“That’s what we’ve got to do. That will allow me to get into a rhythm and keep moving the chains to give us an opportunity to score. We’ve got to put ourselves in position to make those plays.”
The most damning statement on Richardson, outside of admitting that the coaching staff was “very close” to benching their starter at half, was explaining how guys make plays when throwing the ball downfield.
“The throws that we threw downfield in the first half — a couple of them we threw out of bounds,” Messingham said. “I tell our guys every week, (they) watch Sports Center just like the rest of us do. On Sports Center, those plays are being made. Those balls are getting thrown where people can catch them.”
Because Messingham hasn’t won over the Cyclones fanbase, it was not surprising to see comments in the Des Moines Register blog post trashing the offensive coordinator for “[throwing] a player under the bus.”
I think that’s taking what Messingham said in the wrong way. Richardson was obviously very inconsistent on his throws in the first half, and despite having a bad ankle he was moving well enough to be able to make some plays. That finally happened when he was able to hit Quenton Bundrage in the second half multiple times.
Benching Richardson would have made some sense. They were down to their third-string center after Jamison Lalk was taken out of the game. Considering Richardson is the quarterback he Cyclones want, making sure he’s healthy and getting a little more time to recover wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
If the Cyclones weren’t playing their rivals and didn’t have a bye week afterwards, I believe the coaching staff would have pulled the trigger and benched Richardson.
What are your thoughts on Messingham’s comments? Do you believe Richardson should have been benched at halftime against Iowa?
[Quote source: Des Moines Register]