Rhoads: Jantz will start, until further notice
AMES (MCT) — Steele Jantz was still listed as Iowa State’s starting quarterback Monday.
That might be to the dismay of many fans who saw Jantz struggle in the Cyclones’ loss to Texas Tech Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium. Jantz committed four turnovers and now has 24 in 13 career games.
Monday during his weekly press conference, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads all but said Jantz will start against at No. 13 Texas Christian Saturday, but didn’t dismiss the notion that back-up Jared Barnett could play.
That, however, doesn’t mean Jantz will be on a short leash.
“I don’t know if that is the way I want to say it or approach it,” Rhoads said. “I think the guy out there playing at that particular position has to be performing well and giving us a chance to win.
“That is what you are looking for ... is that position giving us an opportunity to win? Is making a change going to give us a better opportunity to win?
“That is the answers we have to come up with as coaches both during the week and on the sidelines on game day.”
Rhoads has switched quarterbacks in the middle of the game before. In fact, he did it twice last year.
Rhoads pulled Jantz in favor of Barnett after six offensive plays in last year’s loss to Texas A&M, and then replaced Barnett with Jantz in the Pinstripe Bowl after Barnett was ineffective early.
But neither time was the decision a knee-jerk reaction.
“It is a week-long thing more than a game-day feel,” Rhoads said. “A&M a year ago things had happened long enough to make me feel through preparation and things at the start of the game a change needed to be made.
“Rutgers game was the opposite way with the same two guys. A month’s worth of preparation for that game and a lot of practicies viewed by myself, I knew it was time to switch.”
The thing that is throwing Rhoads, however, is the reason Jantz earned the starting job during preseason camps — the way he has prepared.
“Obviously what we are seeing in practice excites us. That is why he is the starter,” Rhoads said. “More important is we have to see him doing it on game day when the lights are on.
“This week it will be all the days of preparation and me standing behind the offense watching it take place and seeing faces, watching throws and decision-making,” Rhoads added.
“As far as who is going to be the guy, it will take all week.”
PLENTY OF BLAME – The Cyclones’ lack of offensive production against Texas Tech had more to it than the play of Jantz, according to Rhoads.
The Red Raiders’ defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, sacking Jantz four times and forcing him out of the pocket on numerous other occasions.
Asked if that unit needs to improve, as well, Rhoads said, “I would say probably from tackle to tackle.”
Sophomore center Tom Farniok said the offensive line had too many miscommunications.
“They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect ... we had some miscommunications and we botched some protections,” Farniok said. “It wasn’t so much us getting beat as an offensive line as it was we were beat before the play and not recognizing our assignments correctly.”
TUFTEE LIMITED – Left guard Ethan Tuftee will play Saturday against TCU, according to Rhoads, after being injured Saturday.
Tuftee was helped off the field in the fourth quarter Saturday with an apparent lower-body injury. Rhoads said the junior from Davenport was cleared by the medical staff and will be limited in practice this week, but is expected to make his 15th career start against the Horned Frogs.
“He was given a clean bill of health as far as anything wrong from where a doctor would say he can’t go ... structurally is the word I was looking for,” Rhoads said.
KANSAS STATE GAME – The Big 12 announced Monday that Iowa State’s home game with Kansas State on Oct. 13 will kick off at 11 a.m. and be televised on FX.