My Thoughts on Iowa State’s Quarterback Situation


After a sluggish first quarter, Jared Barnett was benched in favor of Steele Jantz.  The move by Paul Rhoads didn’t end up working as the Clones lost the Pinstripe Bowl by 14 points.  After the game, many people (including myself) starting questioning whether or not Paul Rhoads made the right choice.  It didn’t work out and now Iowa State has a giant quarterback controversy heading into next year.

When Barnett was first benched, I thought it was due to the little injury he sustained in the game.  However, after the game it was found out that Barnett was still good to go and waiting to go back in the game.  Jared Barnett was off and missed a wide open Josh Lenz that could have resulted in a touchdown.  Was Barnett doing that poor to bench him right away?  I don’t think so.  The offense went down the field on the first two possessions but stalled and had to settle for two field goals.  Barnett controlled the tempo of the offense which Jantz couldn’t do.  Plus, Barnett had only thrown seven passes.  I think Rhoads should have gave him a little more time before benching Barnett.

I do question question Paul Rhoads and I would have given Barnett more time to make something happen.  However, I don’t think it was the worst decision in the world and I see what he was trying to do.  After the first two drives, Barnett did almost nothing.  Paul Rhoads needed to do something to get the offense going, so he took a chance on Jantz.  Rhoads said after the game that Jantz had been practicing well throughout the past weeks.  With the gamble, Rhoads was hoping that some of Steele Jantz’s magic from earlier in the season could come back.  Instead, it looked like the Jantz that played Texas and Mizzou.

It is hard for me to question Rhoads because he knows more about his team than anyone else.  As Cyclone fans, we have to go “All in” and put all of our trust in Rhoads.  One thing I don’t understand is why Rhoads didn’t reinsert Barnett into the game.  It was clear that Jantz didn’t have his magic and wasn’t going to work.  I would have like to seen Rhoads give Barnett, the guy who got ISU to the Pinstripe Bowl, another chance.

The gamble by Rhoads didn’t work.  To be successful at Iowa State, you are going to have to make some gambles and not all of them will work out.

After the game, most Cyclone fans lost their minds.  They were complaining that Iowa State will never be good with Barnett or Jantz under center and already calling for Sam Richardson to be next year’s starter.  Both of those statements are a bit premature.

This was the first year playing in the Big 12 for both Jantz and Barnett.  They played one of the toughest schedules in the nation and nobody thought that Iowa State would experience the success that they did this year.  To be saying that neither Barnett or Jantz are “Big-12 caliber” one day after the bowl game is a little extreme.  Barnett, who people forget is only a freshman, won three Big 12 games and two of them were over ranked teams.  He was the main reason behind the Texas Tech victory and although he wasn’t great against Oklahoma State, he didn’t lose the game.  Steele Jantz was inconsistent this year, but he was one of the top JUCO QBs in the nation for a reason.  I think Jantz underperformed this year, especially in the middle of the season.  However, I think Jantz has more upside than Barnett and hopefully he can find it this offseason.

The quarterback battle will be very interesting this offseason between Jantz, Barnett, and Sam Richardson (and maybe even Grant Rohach).  People shouldn’t start to declare Sam Richardson as the starter next year.  Cyclone fans should trust that the coaches.  They will start the quarterback that gives ISU the best chance to win when they play Tulsa.