On Sunday, Iowa State football let go of two members on their offensive coaching staff: running back coach Kennith Pope and offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham.
Messingham and Pope were hired in 2009 and had been members of the ISU staff for Rhoads’ full five-year tenure.
“I want to thank both Courtney and Kenith for their service to Iowa State,” Rhoads said in a statement. “They have great character and work ethic, and have been excellent ambassadors for the university and community. They worked hard to help elevate our program and have been an important part of the success we have had in this program the last five years.”
Both coordinators, Messingham and defensive coordinator Wally Burnham, have been under extreme scrutiny by Cyclone fans after a very disappointing 1-9 start on the season. Both total offense and defense has been ranked toward the bottom nationally in college football, and simple fundamentals of football weren’t being displayed every week.
However, the defense has improved over the course of the year, and looks vastly different in November than it did in early October. The Cyclones tackled better and prevented less yards after contact, and only the big plays they gave up to West Virginia in the season finale were the reason why some of their numbers looked worse than they actually played.
Neither move is surprising. Play calling has been questionable throughout most of the season, and Rhoads referred to reviewing the offense multiple times in press conferences during the season. Also, the running back position was the biggest disappointment offensively. Three seniors studs were basically non-factors until Shontrelle Johnson showed up and led the team through the final two games. Aaron Wimberly was the leader as a sophomore, and he finished the season with 567 rushing yards.