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New Iowa State offensive coordinator Nate Scheelhaase seeks to build ‘physical’ and ‘explosive’ unit
Promoting Scheelhaase was a top offseason priority for Matt Campbell
AMES — He’s proven it as a position coach and recruiter. He’s proven it as a player.
So when Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell chose to make a change at offensive coordinator after the 2022 season, former running game coordinator and receivers coach Nate Scheelhasse emerged as the prime candidate to fill that void.
Simply put, Scheelhasse, a former star quarterback at Illinois, possesses that elusive “it” factor in terms of his football mind — and elevating him to offensive coordinator became a top offseason priority.
“I think it’s been really fun to work with him and kind of see his leadership,” Campbell said of Scheelhaase, who replaced Tom Manning and Joel Gordon, respectively, as ISU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in December. “But I think on the other end of things, when you talk about a guy that’s been in the moments — he’s been the guy with the ball in his hands and the development both at (the quarterback) position and knowing what that position looks like and feels like.
“I felt, really important as we continued on to build the staff, that maybe home for Nate was to be able to coach the quarterbacks and maybe lead from the quarterback position, so we’re really excited about the starting point of it, and it will be a great growth opportunity and somebody I feel really confident about who he is and what he stands for.”
Scheelhaase helped serve as the architect for the Cyclones’ 2023 offensive staff, which is all new — at least in terms of roles — except for returning tight ends coach Taylor Mouser. Ryan Clanton, formerly of Northern Iowa, replaced Jeff Myers as ISU’s offensive line coach. Jordan Langs, the head coach at Indiana Wesleyan the past six seasons, assumed Scheelhaase’s former role with the Cyclone running backs and also will serve as the on-field special teams coordinator. Noah Pauley, who coached receivers at North Dakota State since 2019, will now lead that group at ISU.
So there’s a lot of change on the offensive side of the ball for the Cyclones, who saw a five-season streak of playing in bowl games end last season partly because of an inability to finish drives with points.
“There’s a certain way that the Iowa State offense, in (the Big 12) Conference, has to look and us starting off by being physical in the run game, us being able to have explosive plays in the pass game has given us a great recipe for success,” Scheelhaase said. “So we’ve got to dial that up and figure out the best ways to do that.”
In other words, don’t expect a major shift in philosophy — and the Cyclones will continue to adopt an all-hands-on-deck approach in terms of play calling and situational football schemes.
“The reality is it’s not a matter of scheme, it’s a matter of how we do what we do and the consistency that we do it with,” Campbell said.
Iowa State inks one more on Signing Day
Iowa State announced Wednesday that junior college transfer defensive end Jefferson Adam has signed with the program. Adam, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound prospect, played safety until a growth spurt last season turned him into a productive edge rusher.
“All those guys who have been great defensive ends for us have this elite athleticism, this elite twitch,” Campbell said. “I think, really, their first two steps create conflict and I think Jefferson’s videotape shows that, but I think his journey has shown that, too.”