Matt Campbell sat down with the media for his weekly press conference on Monday detailing his thoughts on the Oklahoma loss, looking ahead to Saturday’s game against Kansas, and of course — the running back situation.
“I was really proud of our kids’ effort,” Campbell said. “I thought our kids played hard, (and) we gave ourselves chances to win the football game. We didn’t capitalize on a couple of opportunities.”
The team only made it in the red zone once, and was dominated in time of possession against the Sooners, but the defense played soundly, holding Oklahoma to 34 points, much below their season average.
“Our whole team grew up a lot in that game,” Campbell said. “I continue to challenge this senior class and this team, because this senior class has a chance to put their stamp on this thing. They have a chance to come back here someday and say we laid the foundation for this program.”
Campbell then turned it up a notch.
“I told our kids and our coaches that we are not playing for next year, I am playing for right now. We are not quitting on those seniors either and will do everything in my power for those kids to win their remaining football games,” he said.
One of those games is against 1-8 Kansas, aka College Football’s greatest “slump-buster.” The Jayhawks rank as one of the worst teams in the nation in multiple categories and have the luxury of paying two coaches at the same time.
Charlie Weis could use a few less lunches though.
Running Back Conundrum
Mike Warren was unable to play due to injury against Oklahoma and appears to be sleeping in the dog house. His backup David Montgomery played well in his absence, but was also knocked out due to a head injury.
The good news is, they are both cleared to play.
The bad news: all three are listed as co-starters.
“It continues to be interesting where we are at,” Campbell said. “All three guys were at practice on Sunday. One thing we feel good about — we feel really comfortable with all three guys.”
“David has continued to show significant improvement. We know what Mike can do, Kene is really starting to come on and continues to show that he deserves to get carries.”
In other words, we are going to trot out all three on Saturday for the same play.
For the quarterbacks’ sake, it seems as though Jacob Park will move the offense with his arm and Joel Lanning with his legs. The coaching staff seem confident in both to play the position, but has recently loosened the reins on Park.
Campbell talked about how he wanted to see more reps and more throws out of Park, as he thinks the young man out of South Carolina is just getting started.
“Jacob has a chance to get rid of the ball really fast. What you want are more reps and to see what that overall byproduct can be,” Campbell said. “Both are playing their best football together in the last six quarters, and we have great confidence in both of those guys.”
Coach was then asked how he determines who gets the snaps come game day.
“As to who goes out there first — I think it comes down to the game plan,” Campbell said. “Practice still is a major indicator as to who starts the game, but the way I look at it, we have two starting quarterbacks.”
Except Park is that starter, and Joel is his backup. Got it.
Uncle Randy asks — How do You Keep the Running Backs Happy?
Campbell went on to answer this question in a gentleman-like way.
“You’re always honest. We are a big believer in, you earn everything you get, (and) you earn that through practice, through reps, and through games,” Campbell said. “Whether you are a freshman or senior, there is always competition. Nothing is ever given, you have to earn the right to get everything.”
I’ll leave it at that..
Assistant named in a Lawsuit
Recruiting Coordinator and Tight Ends coach Alex Golesh was named in a lawsuit a few days ago. The former Illinois assistant was tied to the Tim Beckman regime and is being sought after by a former player. You can read more here.
ISU plays Kansas on Saturday and hope to win their first conference game under Campbell. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m.