Paul Rhoads can't blame his offensive coordinator for booking his ticket out of Ames.
Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman was quietly one of the nation's most underrated offensive minds, but unfortunately for the Cyclones, Urban Meyer was in on the secret.
The two-time national champion called on Herman to run his offense at Ohio State. For Herman, who eventually wants to be a head coach, leaving for one of college football's best programs was a no-brainer.
"I certainly welcome that for him and send him on his way with very positive backing," Rhoads said.
At Iowa State, though, it's time to move on. Herman spent time recruiting for the Buckeyes, but recruiting has now reached its dead period, when coaches are allowed only one call to a recruit each week and can't make off-campus visits.
Now it's full-steam ahead on preperation for Iowa State's game against Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, where Herman will call plays for the guys in cardinal and gold one more time.
The rest of Iowa State's focus is on Rutgers, too, and not replacing Herman.
"Anything else serves as a distraction," Rhoads said.
Once the bowl game's over, though, Rhoads knows what he wants.
"We need great teachers in this program. We need great recruiters in specific areas of the country and maybe first and foremost, I need coaches that are concerned about our players graduating," Rhoads said, "concerned about our players maturing and concerned about our players becoming better football players and being members of this community."
To translate, look for Iowa State's new coordinator to have a reputation for recruiting Texas and developing players overlooked by major programs into major stars.
Herman worked at Rice, Texas State and Sam Houston State before coming to Iowa State.
That's the task awaiting at Iowa State, although Rhoads says the offense should function just fine moving forward.
"We won’t miss a beat with four core coaches remaining in there," Rhoads said. "We’ll be a better offense in the spring of 2012 and then an even better offense in the fall of 2012."
Barring injury, Jared Barnett will almost certainly remain the starter for 2012 after taking over midway through 2011 and leading the Cyclones to three consecutive wins over Texas Tech, Kansas and Oklahoma State.
He'll have every player on the 2011 team that carried the ball back for 2012, and five of seven receivers that caught at least 20 passes will return.
"You’ve got to continuously tweak what you’re doing as your talent changes and grows and as people adapt to what it is you’re doing," Rhoads said. "I think the kinds of changes people saw from '09 to '10 and '10 to '11 will continue to show up. But the basic fundamentals of what we’re doing will not change."