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Local Sports

Joel Lanning proved me wrong

I will be the first to admit it. I didn’t think Joel Lanning playing linebacker was the best thing for the Cyclones.

When you move from quarterback to linebacker and instantly become a starter, that just shows the lack of depth and talent at the linebacker position.

Lanning has made me re-think that opinion. He’s been great for the Cyclones. And he hasn’t complained about his role at all.

Lanning is an Iowa kid. He grew up in Ankeny and was part of the final football championship at Ankeny High School before the city split into two schools. He was the Hawks’ starting quarterback all four years in high school. But he never played both ways during that stretch.

Saturday, in Norman, Oklahoma, Lanning did just that.

He played 78 snaps in all. He assumed his normal 2017 role of starting linebacker, took several snaps as the QB in the wildcat formation and also made a tackle on special teams.

That’s incredible. I don’t think I can explain how uncommon that is in this column. What he is doing right now just doesn’t happen nationwide.

I don’t think he should be considered for the Heisman, like some Cyclone fans are saying after his brilliant effort against the Sooners.

Lanning even had 20 tackles against Texas. But he won’t win the Heisman because Iowa State won’t win enough games.

However, the Cyclones are gearing up for a turnaround under head coach Matt Campbell, and Lanning is right in the middle of the transition.

No one knows when Jacob Park will come back from his leave of absence.

Kyle Kempt looked spectacular in Park’s place, but defenses will figure him out. They’ll prepare for what Iowa State does offensively with Kempt at quarterback.

That makes Lanning that much more important to me. He will get snaps at quarterback. He will continue to play both ways. And he will continue to amaze anyone who truly appreciates what he is doing.

Well, one of my closest friends whose a huge baseball fan, asked me the other day who I liked to win the World Series before the playoffs started.

My pick: The Cleveland Indians. Whoops. The Yankees had other ideas, eliminating the 100-plus win Indians after trailing 2-0 in the series.

There won’t be a World Series rematch.

At this point, I think it will Dodgers-Astros. The Astros made the Boston Red Sox look silly. They are loaded offensively. And have enough pitching to win it all.

The Dodgers to me feel like the Cubs of last year and the Royals of 2015. Midway through the season, when they went on that insane 50-game stretch, it felt like it was a destiny type of season for the Los Angeles.

They went through a tough stretch where they looked mediocre. But several star players weren’t playing.

The Dodgers played their cards right. They didn’t need to win those games. Now, with Clayton Kershaw back and the rest of the stars ready to go, the Dodgers swept division rival Arizona with relatively ease.

It’s not going to matter who the Dodgers play. I think the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. And they’ll hoist the championship trophy and pop the bubbly.

But don’t take that to Vegas. My predicted title team is already out.

Contact Troy Hyde

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