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AMES — What Iowa State will do with its quarterback position is a discussion likely to be open-ended for the foreseeable future.
Right now the solution is to use a two-quarterback system with junior Joel Lanning and sophomore Jacob Park switching in and out.
Lanning remains the starter on the latest Cyclones depth chart, but Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell was clear he would continue to give Park meaningful reps. The quarterbacks rotated essentially every two offensive series from the onset at TCU.
“I thought it helped Joel be able to catch his breath and maybe see and sit back for a series and see what was going on,” Campbell said at his news conference Monday. “It was good to get Jacob into the football game. That’s his first meaningful reps that he’s ever gotten at least when the score really means something at that point.”
When Iowa State (0-3) kicks off against San Jose State (1-2) on Saturday at 11 a.m., it will be Lanning’s ninth career start and Park’s third college game — ever. After a nearly identical first half against TCU, Lanning slightly separated himself through his stat line, which mirrors the season overall.
Lanning is 38-for-69 passing (55.3 percent) for 469 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Park, who relieved Lanning late in the third quarter of the loss to Iowa, is 13-for-30 passing (43.3 percent) for 169 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Of the Cyclones’ 43 total points scored in three games, Lanning has been the quarterback for 40 while Park led the 11-play, 65-yard drive for a late field goal against the Horned Frogs. As far as the rotation, Lanning said he can’t spend energy wondering how many snaps he’ll get versus Park or vice versa.
“That’s the last thing you can worry about,” Lanning said. “Every chance you get to lead a series or whatever, you’re going to take the opportunity and try to do what you can and try to put points on the board. We’ve got to quit kicking field goals and get touchdowns because we can’t win games with field goals all the time.”
While the quarterback rotation is an open discussion, Campbell is starting to see his inexperienced offensive line take shape. Iowa State will start the same five players on the offensive line against the Spartans (1-2) for the first time this season — although the two starters at guard will be flip-flopped from last week.
Senior Nick Fett will get his second straight start at left tackle in place of junior Jaypee Philbert, who will continue serving an indefinite suspension for violation of team policies. Campbell said, “we’ll make a final decision on what we do with that, but he will not be (available against San Jose State).”
Fett has started at right tackle, left guard and left tackle in the first three weeks, but the consistency of left guard Patrick Scoggins, center Brian Bobek, right guard Brian Seda and right tackle Julian Good-Jones as the other starters gives that group consistency for a second-straight week.
“I think we’re starting to find our niche and get where we need to go and there’s some competition there,” Campbell said. “There’s still some guys that can play, that aren’t starting right now, that are starting to get better.
“They’ll grow as our team grows, but it’ll be nice to have some consistency now with these five guys, and Bryce Meeker is right in that mix, so there’s six guys that have all played. Now we can kind of settle into who we are and what position we’ll be in for the rest of the year.”
Iowa State’s game against Baylor on Oct. 1 is scheduled for kickoff at 11 a.m. and will be televised on FS1.
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