- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Iowa State football program already is feeling the impact of new offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.
After being hired in January, the former Kansas head coach just completed his first spring at the helm of the Cyclones’ offense and has amped up the atmosphere in Ames, Iowa.
“Change in itself sometimes creates energy,” ISU coach Paul Rhoads said. “I think it’s created energy with our guys, a real excitement about the offense.”
Change was need for a team that finished among the nation’s worst offenses in several categories, including points per game (24.8, 89th nationally), yards per play (4.82, 107th nationally) and third-down conversion percentage (34.5 percent, 100th nationally) in 2013.
Not only has Mangino infused energy into the offense, he’s engaging the players as well.
“Mark [doesn’t] hide the fact that ball-distribution is important to him and the offense,” Rhoads said. “We’ve had a lot of people get touches. The more people we have involved, the more excitement and energy you get out of practices and preparation.”
Mangino’s distribution plan was on display in the Cyclones' spring game as six receivers caught at least four passes. Rhoads understands his offense still has a long way to go.
And that journey will start with naming a quarterback.
Rhoads pointed to Mangino’s arrival and having a new quarterbacks coach in Todd Sturdy, who is sliding over after coaching the Cyclones receivers during the past two seasons, as reasons his team hasn’t seen a quarterback take the job and run.
“There was a lot of growth that took place through 15 practices and a lot more that has to take place,” Rhoads said.
4dDavid M. Hale