Coach Matt Campbell provided his hot takes to the local media for his weekly press conference, leading up to the big-time matchup against San Jose State this weekend.
Something Good to Talk About
Instead of harping on all the mistakes after the first two weeks, it was nice to hear some positive words said about the play of the Iowa State football team.
“Our kids are starting to understand what our expectations are,” Campbell said. “It’s not just about winning and losing football games – but how you win football games is what I’m interested in. Our young men are trusting in that, and you saw some of the fruits of their labor (on Saturday). Even though I don’t believe in moral victories, I think you saw some success in terms of what we were trying to accomplish, how we were trying to practice, and we were able to execute it.”
Those successes came by way of the team’s first rushing touchdown of the year (thanks LANRAM), a solid defense, and the first catch by a tight end in SIX games!
"You have to trust in the process." - Matt Campbell pic.twitter.com/MgSxpdgGNu— Taylor Wilhelm (@Taylor_Wilhelm) September 16, 2016
While the Cyclones didn’t win on the scoreboard, Campbell still thought his team is moving in the right direction.
“I think there is a belief starting to occur and permeate a little bit within our building, of hey we can get this done,” Campbell said. “But we are going to have to do it this way if we are going to have the success we are capable of having.”
“Wanting to win, and doing what it takes to win are two different things,” Campbell said.
“You continue to educate (the kids) on what it takes to be successful – here’s what happened and why we weren’t successful – you show visual evidence, and how to correct those (mistakes). Then on the positives – how do we build on this? I think there is discipline and accountability, and it is effective across the board. Young guys don’t matter so much about the winning and losing – but about the day to day process of what it takes to be successful themselves.”
In other words – this coaching staff has a long-term goal of doing things the right way. You may not see it on the field right away, but the potential is there.
Nothing is more evident by the way Campbell has approached discipline with his players.
Starting left tackle Jaypee Philbert is suspended indefinitely for a violation of team policy. Philbert is one of the top offensive linemen (not saying much), but to lose a player of his caliber – especially with the lack of depth that this line has – speaks volumes to the expectations that Campbell sets for his team.
Another week, another discussion about the quarterbacks.
Instead of coming to the defense of Joel Lanning like last week, Campbell had nice things to say about both gun-slingers.
“They both earned the right to play last week, and both have skill-sets that can help our football team be successful,” said Campbell. “I thought it helped Joel to catch his breath, and sit back and see what was going on. It was good to get Jacob in the football game – it’s his first meaningful reps he’s gotten – I think (he’s) earned that through practice.”
Moving forward with the quarterback carousel, it seems that Campbell will continue to play musical chairs.
Campbell beat the word “consistency” into the ground over and over when talking about quarterback play, and these are the three things he is looking for in this tight competition.
1. Take Care of the Football
2. Completion Percentage and Accuracy
3. Decision Making Skills
“I think we will continue to compete at that position, but I really trust both those guys to play, and we’ll try to do whatever gives us the best situation, best opportunity to be successful,” said Campbell. “We will continue to navigate that – game for game, and sometimes that is series to series – it’s a feel deal.”
Coach Campbell saw some positives on the defensive side of the ball in the game on Saturday, as ISU held TCU to 200 yards below their average output, and 7 points below their point total.
But the Clones needed to tackle better in space, and not give up the explosive plays.
“The biggest thing defensively – we’ve got to tackle better. And number two, we’ve got to a better job of eliminating the big play,” said Campbell.
For the first time this unit will be relatively healthy moving forward, and it is exciting what we will see with these playmakers on the field at the same time.
Some of those names are Nigel Tribune and Willie Harvey. Tribune made his first appearance of the season on Saturday, and it appears that Harvey is back to 100% after an injury in the UNI game.
Winnable game against San Jose State?
This team from the sunshine state is coming off a bowl game from a year ago, but so far has struggled in 2016. They are 1-2 heading into Saturday.
Campbell isn’t worried about the wins or losses – it’s the effort he wants to see during the week to prepare leading up to gameday.
“What we look at ourselves – it’s our own process, and obviously we want to go and win a football game, and get that first win, but to me – its what’s Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday look like - can we learn to earn the right to win these football games, and earn the right to feel that we have success,” said Campbell.
“That’s way more meaningful to me.”
“When you are 3-0, or 0-3, it shouldn’t matter – it should matter how we get better, and how do we put ourselves in position to be successful. I hope our guys are not worried about whether we are supposed to win or not, because I don’t know if we’ve earned the right to feel that way,” said Campbell.
ISU kicks off on Saturday against San Jose State at 11:00 a.m.