Matt Campbell makes it clear: Joel Lanning is Iowa State's starting QB
On potential competition: 'I don't even know if that's a question now'
AMES — Where Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell left the discussion on his starting quarterback, any talk of changes in signal caller this week are unlikely to go any further.
Joel Lanning is your guy.
“I don’t even know if that’s a question now. As we go out to practice, our starting quarterback is Joel,” Campbell said during his Monday news conference. “I know Joel Lanning and Joel Lanning is a competitor, he’s really tough and it’s really personal. He’s going to work really hard to get himself better and continue to grow.
“Jacob (Park) is a guy that needs to continue to learn our system, know what the expectations are and continue to get better day in and day out. That’s the situation and those are the expectations. It really hasn’t changed.”
When the Cyclones (0-2) head to TCU for their Big 12 opener Saturday at 11 a.m., Lanning will start his eighth game.
After his 55.4 percent completion rate a year ago, Lanning is at 54.2 as a junior but has three interceptions in his ledger to the four he threw last year. He did throw three touchdowns in the opening game, but on the flip side he recognizes there’s plays that could have — and should have — been made.
Wide receiver Allen Lazard continues to be a weapon and has 13 catches for 240 yards with a touchdown in the first two games. He leads the Big 12 in yards per game (120.0).
“I need to make plays and get the ball to playmakers with my throwing,” Lanning said Saturday after the loss at Iowa. “A few times I missed some guys that were wide open. No excuse for it.”
On the flip side, Park hasn’t started a game since high school in 2013 but relieved Lanning against the Hawkeyes and was 6-for-15 for 79 yards. The sophomore didn’t arrive at Iowa State until summer workouts began so he’s still in the middle of learning the offensive system.
“I just need to continue getting better and stay in the film room, make sure I know all my reads and make sure I know the game plan well like the back of my hand,” Park said. “Go out there and do my best. If I get playing time, I get playing time. If I don’t, it’s whatever the coaches think is best for the team.”
Even though Campbell left little doubt Lanning would be the starter this week, he said the staff is constantly evaluating and wouldn’t rule out situations where Iowa State uses two quarterbacks. Pulling the trigger on changing quarterbacks after only two weeks of games isn’t something Campbell was prepared to do.
“As we continue to learn our own football team and where we’re going and what gives us the most opportunities to be successful, we have to continue to evaluate that,” Campbell said. “That’s kind of what you get when you come into a program. You start kind of a little bit from scratch in a lot of ways.”
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