"I could go out next week and coordinate four different styles of defense and I promise I could coach two of them better than the other two because immediately I know the answers when we need to adjust," Rhoads said. "Having Chris on the staff affords us that."
The Cyclones are just No. 96 in rushing offense with 134.7 yards per game, but have enjoyed some success with the Pistol, which is a half-shotgun and allows offenses early looks at the defense that help with zone read plays and get the backs on the defense faster.
Iowa State ran for 168 yards in the opener and 179 and three touchdowns two weeks later in its win against Tulsa. The Cyclones nearly beat Texas behind 201 yards rushing. In Saturday's 34-0 home win against Kansas, they ran for 202 yards.
Junior college transfer Aaron Wimberly has 515 yards rushing and two 100-yard games, but he's missed two games with injuries. Shontrelle Johnson ran for a season-high 84 yards and a touchdown against the Jayhawks. Quarterback Sam Richardson has 358 yards on 100 carries, but he's been replaced by Grant Rohach. He's much more of a passer than Richardson and completed 15 of 20 passes for 300 yards and to scores against Kansas.
WVU's defense has been good and bad against the run, but has allowed four 300-yard games since Keith Patterson took over as defensive coordinator in the Pinstripe Bowl last year, including 315 by Kansas in the last game - still just the third-highest total the Mountaineers have allowed this season.
The four 300-yard games before the string Syracuse started in the bowl happened between 1999-2005, and there were none from 2006-11.
"I think our backs and quarterback situation now is very suited to this type of offense," Rhoads said. "We have not been nearly as productive as we needed to be the last few years out of the backfield. This style of offense affords our backs more space, more room, more ability to play up to their potential as opposed to plateauing, if you will, and just being another guy out there."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.