I didn't really know what to think. And that's how I felt.
Watching tonight's press conference for Paul Rhoads helped allay some fears that I think some people had, myself included. He sure as heck looks like a football coach. He also looks like he just landed his dream job. Of course, hiring a guy solely because the last guy jilted you is shoddy reasoning, but I think I know what really impressed Jamie Pollard.
Pollard: “Let me first start saying, part of having a comprehensive plan for succeeding at Iowa State, is laying the seeds in how to get to Iowa State. Vicky and Paul (Rhoads) came to visit me three years ago, and sat in that office in there, and just talked to me, wanting to know about me, wanting me to know about them. That seed was planted in the back of my mind..."
".... As I went through the next several candidates over the next several days, I called him, and I said, ‘I want to come back. I just want it to just be you and me, and we just need to sit down go a-z about Iowa State’ to see if we could work together. We spent almost seven hours together and walked through that comprehensive plan, and I knew at that time he was the guy."
Any guy that intends to succeed at Iowa State, especially at football, needs to be well prepared. And, while Chizik is a quality football coach (yes, the last week has not changed by opinion of that), I don't know if he knew what he got himself into. Rhoads does.
If you've watched the press conference, it's hard not to get emotional. Rhoads is realizing his dream. To that end, does he remind anyone else of Les Miles? At least in the way he talks? He was bleeding confidence, which can only be a good thing. Chizik talked about how tough things were. While not sugarcoating things was refreshing to hear, it almost sounded like an excuse. Rhoads laid out a vision for the future for his football team.
Rhoads has a few tasks ahead of him. He needs to rerecruit the current players and recruits. He needs to re-establish contact with coaches in the state of Iowa. He needs to recruit the fanbase. But the simplest, most important thing he can do, is win that season opener on September 3 against North Dakota State. I fully believe (again) we have the talent to go to a bowl game next year. We had it this year, but lost at least four games we shouldn't have. It's sure as heck not impossible.
He'll need to reevaluate the leftovers from Chizik's coaching staff. They've done an admirable job continuing their jobs through chaos. And who's to say retaining a guy like MacFarland or Koonz wouldn't help? Rhoads said he's open to some staff retention. Which should be a good thing.
I'm not high on Rhoads because he's an Iowan. That's neither here nor there to me. But, Johnny Majors said he felt Rhoads was the right hire at the right time for Iowa State. And, while he's not the flashy hire that many (including me) hoped for, he just kinda feels right, doesn't he?