Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz: Mark Mangino can coach offense

Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino is in his first season as Iowa State’s offensive coordinator. The Cyclones play host Saturday to Kansas State in Ames.
Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino is in his first season as Iowa State’s offensive coordinator. The Cyclones play host Saturday to Kansas State in Ames.

It’s probably too soon to expect Mark Mangino to work much magic at Iowa State. He’s new to the Cyclones, who will be at home Saturday against Kansas State, and Iowa State scored only 14 points last week in a loss to North Dakota State.

But just give it some time. If you trust Mangino’s track record as an assistant at Kansas State and Oklahoma, and his eight seasons as head coach at Kansas, you know he knows offense.

At Oklahoma, where he was offensive coordinator in 2000 and 2001, Mangino helped Heupel become one of the best quarterbacks in the country. And he helped groom a then-young understudy, Jason White, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2003.

During eight seasons at Kansas State, Mangino was in charge of the Wildcats’ running game. But he also had a hand in the rest of the offense and when Bishop finished second in the Heisman voting in 1998, Mangino had his ladle in the pot.

In fact, wherever Mangino goes, a big-time offense usually appears.

He inherited a KU team in 2002 with the talented Bill Whittemore at quarterback. And Whittemore was good that season, passing for 1,666 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In 2003, though, Whittemore was beyond good. Even though he missed two games and most of a third with an injury, Whittemore passed for 2,385 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Mangino was able to get production out of Adam Barmann and Kerry Meier from 2004-06 while Jon Cornish produced heavily in the Jayhawks’ running game.

Then, in 2007, Mangino handed the quarterback reigns to a small in stature, huge in heart, player out of Texas. And Todd Reesing became the greatest quarterback in KU history, passing for more than 10,000 yards and 87 touchdowns the next three seasons.

It’s no secret that since Mangino was forced to resign from Kansas following a strange 2009 season, that started with great promise and ended with controversy over his handling of players and seven straight losses, the Jayhawks haven’t been the same.

The offense turned straight south during Turner Gill’s two seasons and Kansas hasn’t recovered. Charlie Weis, with his reputation as an offensive guru, hasn’t been able to get much going at KU. The Jayhawks averaged just 294.7 yards of total offense last season, down from 360.3 yards in 2012 and worse than any offense Gill produced.

Mangino, meanwhile, will be tinkering all season with Iowa State’s offense. And you can bet the Cyclones will get better. It’s what offenses do with Mangino.

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