Tom Manning talks about his year away from Iowa State Randy Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
AMES, Ia. — A year away made Tom Manning realize just how much he missed the passion, the enthusiasm and the teaching of the young men who are part of college football.
Whether it opened his eyes about never, ever returning to NFL coaching — I guess we’ll have to see, but I know this: He’s as happy as can be overseeing what should be another productive Iowa State offense.
He learned during his one season coaching Indianapolis Colts tight ends. He worked with them and quarterback Andrew Luck. He’ll instill as much of that knowledge to Brock Purdy as he can, and you know what?
That’s really what Manning was meant to do. He’s from football-rich Youngstown, Ohio. He played his college ball at Mount Union, where he helped the Purple Raiders win two Division III national championships — and where he played on teams that lost just three of 62 games.
Campbell was his college position coach. He coached for Matt Campbell at Toledo. He coached for Campbell for two seasons at Iowa State before 2018.
And now they’re together again.
Iowa State football players are picking Tom Manning’s brain about life in the NFL. Randy Peterson, email@example.com
Campbell didn’t name an offensive coordinator during Manning’s absence, but when he returned, he came back in his former role for the same $650,000 salary that defensive coordinator Jon Heacock earns.
I’ve heard people speculate that Manning is a head coach-in-waiting, and I believe them. But where?
Not going there.
“I’ll be quite honest,” Manning said, “I don’t look much further than the next day — and that’s an honest answer.”
That doesn’t exactly answer if this 35-year-old has a head coaching timeline. It does, though, say that he’s very happy and comfortable and focused about once again running Campbell’s offense.
“I kept a big eye on them,” Manning said. “For me, it was fun to see (from afar) the evolution of a program and the culture of the program.
“When I left here, we just came off a bowl win and we had so many great players and great seniors that really helped turn the culture of what coach Campbell was trying to do here.
“Getting back here and feeling such a strong locker room — that’s what I like about Iowa State. I don’t think much has changed. There’s great people and kids that work hard, and a coaching staff that works hard.”
Randy Peterson is the Iowa State columnist for the Register. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.