Matt Campbell sat down with the media for his final press conference of the year.
ISU dominated in every facet of the game against Texas Tech last week, winning by a comfortable margin of 66-10. But Mr. Campbell isn’t going to pat himself on the back — there’s always room to improve.
“I thought it was our most complete game,” said Campbell, whose Cyclones won back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2013. “Regardless of what the outcome was, it was the ability of our kids to stay focused and play four quarters of football, and I think that’s the greatest pride I’ll take from the football game.”
Trust in the Process
"You have to trust in the process." - Matt Campbell pic.twitter.com/MgSxpdgGNu— Taylor Wilhelm (@Taylor_Wilhelm) September 16, 2016
“Trust in the Process” are the words preached daily by the Campbell staff, and it seems the players are finally buying in (that or we were just playing inferior competition). To be honest, most teams would’ve given up after starting 1-8, but this program is resilient, and winning takes time. Just ask Campbell.
“I think we’re getting better,” Campbell said. “The whole key to building the program is you’ve got to lay a great foundation for anything to grow. I don’t care what we’re in — there has got to be a rock-solid foundation if there’s growth that’s going to occur.
“And to make sure for us that those foundations included attitude and effort. Then how you have success within a game, which I think so many times is missed in terms of coaching. The details in practice. How to take care of your body. How do you come to work every day in your process of practicing consistently. And then you ask kids to do it for an entire football season — that’s hard.”
Jacob Park’s Progression
Standout sophomore QB Jacob Park has improved tremendously over his last four games, throwing for 238 yards per game and 8 touchdowns while also completing his passes at over 66 percent. That is something that ISU hasn’t had since, dare I say it, Seneca Wallace?
“I think if you really go back and watch the previous four games, you would be really impressed with his performance,” Campbell said. “He’s got the ability to get the football across the board and he’s doing a really great job of taking what the defense is giving him and has had the patience to do that.
“I think you see his confidence growing and some of those throws he made in the first half of the (TTU) game were as good as I’ve seen — the ability to get the ball in tight spaces and tight throws,” Campbell said.
Going into the season, it appeared the job was all Joel Lanning’s, especially with Park missing the first few weeks of training camp and falling behind on the playbook, but the transfer from Georgia has found his footing and continues to impress.
“I don’t think I had much expectation in Jacob to start the season honestly,” Campbell said. “I think his growth, you have to go through the ups and downs as a quarterback, and that is how you have got to learn. I think the best growth he has had is how he studies the game.”
So What About Joel Lanning AKA Matt’s Man Crush?
You can tell whenever Coach Campbell talks about Lanning that he gets that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I mean, it is Man Crush Monday.
“He’s such a key piece to what we are offensively,” Campbell said. “Shoot, you might say Joel is our best runner. To me we are only starting what we are doing with Joel Lanning . The opportunities are endless. Joel wants to be great, and that’s the thing I love about Joel. He is his biggest critic, but he’s a guy that wants to do it here and wants to be a Cyclone.”
Uncle Randy’s Question of the Week Sponsored By Our Friends at CleanWaste, Where They Pride Themselves on Being the “World’s Leader in Personal Human Waste Management”
Des Moines Register Reporter Randy Peterson: “Are you convinced that Joel Lanning is coming back next year? There has been some stuff about grad transferring.”
“All I know is he’s a guy that is really talented and can do a lot of things,” Campbell said. “He’s a guy to me who I think has just scratched the surface of what he can do. That is really exciting. We will sit down when the time is right, but I would have to think a guy that is so respected by his teammates and his coaches, I think there (are) great things left for Joel Lanning to do and lead this team down the road.”
On to West Virginia
The Cyclones welcome their fellow Riot Brothers to town on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for what some would think is a meaningless contest. To Campbell he wants to keep on riding the victory train and prove to others that he can win at ISU.
“In terms of what it takes to put yourself in position to win football games, that’s what I’m looking for (in the WVU game),” Campbell said. “The scoreboard will take care of itself. The more you do have success in successive weeks, the more people are jumping on the boat and saying, man, I want to be like that. That part is what I’m excited for this week.”
The Mountaineers are coming off a loss to Oklahoma, but are still ranked in the top 20 with a record of 8-2. Kickoff is at 2:30 PM at Jack Trice.