The Cyclone football team has been within a possession in three of their last four conference losses, and this week they are 21-point underdogs to Oklahoma.
Vegas just can’t get it right, can they?
Here are some enlightening words from first-year coach Matt Campbell in his Monday morning press conference, where he touched on the QB combo, how good Oklahoma is, and to trust in the process.
Took A Step Back on Saturday?
ISU lost to Kansas State on Saturday, by a score of 31-26, and had every chance to win the game.
“We made some really good play at times, (but) had some missed opportunities,” said Campbell. “The hardest part to swallow is the consistency of play that is needed to win football games, and I put that on myself and my coaches.”
Some of those missed opportunities came by way of some errant throws, a dropped TD catch, and the inability to stop the run.
It seems as though this team can put together stretches of good plays, but can’t do it for a full 60 minutes. Campbell wants to make sure this team continues to improve and get better each and every day.
“It’s about the growth. Some of the areas where I’ve seen us make great strides, I saw that maybe plateau on Saturday,” Campbell said.
“This is a relentless pursuit to get where we are going, and anything short of allowing a plateau can’t be tolerated. We have to do a great job of continuing to get better.”
“You love to see us do all the little things it takes to get to the fourth quarter and win the football game. But, you have to earn that, and earn the right to have that feeling.”
Trust in the Process
Campbell then stood on his soap box and talked about three things – situational football, consistency, and getting players in the right place to be successful.
If I had a dollar for every time he mentioned those terms, I could retire today, just a few months shy of my 30th birthday.
“I think we’ve made some great strides, and the next four games will be defining on where we want to go and build the program the right way,” Matt Campbell exclaimed.
“We are in every game. Why we’re not winning is because of a play here or a play there. Those are things that don’t take talent, they take great concentration, practice and consistency,” said Campbell.
Short Week for Thursday’s Game: AKA No Sleep
There will be a few less practices this week as ISU hosts Bob Stoops and Oklahoma on Thursday night on prime time television.
Campbell is used to the short turnaround when he was at Toledo coaching in the MAC conference, so huge advantage to ISU in this one.
“It simplifies you a little bit,” said Campbell about fewer practices and the lack of additional wrinkles you can add to your game plan. “We’ve had these short of weeks before, and it at least lends you the idea of how to practice.”
“Us coaches, we don’t need sleep, but the players do. We’ve got to do a really job of planning, and get the players ready for Thursday night,” said Campbell.
P.S. We have seen crazy things happen in week-night games in Jack Trice before…
Oklahoma! Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain
Fortunately for Oklahoma, they don’t need much prep time, as the Sooners are riding high on their Schooners after winning their last five games, and doing it behind the gun-slinging arm of Baker Mayfield.
“You are just not handling Mayfield,” said Campbell.
“You’re handling two elite running backs and one elite wide receiver. What you have to do constantly is win situationally – got to win on first down, be able to get off field on third down, and win in the red zone,” says Campbell.
Good luck with that one, Coach.
The coaches went from switching play-callers every two series to multiple quarterbacks playing on the same drive on Saturday.
Apparently over the bye week, the staff got all hopped up on Advocare products and decided they were going to pull the old switcheroo during drives.
“It was a plan for us going into the game, and I think it’s the best (offensive) flow we have had,” said Campbell.
It actually worked, as Park led the team successfully through the air, and Lanning ran for multiple conversions in the red zone and on third downs.
“Both of those guys have made positive yardage, and made really good things happen for our offense, (and) we have got to continue to find ways to integrate them into our system.”
So it sounds like the two-headed monster at QB will continue at least for one more week.
Mike Warren’s ankle is so-so, and it sounds like he should be able to play this week. Other than that, no new injuries to discuss, and no changes in the depth chart.
I hope to see you all with your drinking shoes on come Thursday. Make sure to bring one, maybe two flasks to the game. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday night.