Matt Campbell reported to the media on Monday. The first-year coach touched on the growth of the team as a whole unit, and previewed the mighty Baylor Bears.
Campbell started off with a brief thought on Saturday’s win. He didn’t praise any of his guys, or give any fist pumps like his predecessor. In fact, Campbell was as calm of a demeanor as he was in the previous press conferences (which followed losses).
“Not much to report on Saturday. The film showed exactly what we talked about - our kids played hard and with consistency, and I thought we were able to execute,” said Campbell.
Execute they did. The Cyclones escaped Jack Trice last Saturday with their first victory of the year, a 44-10 shellacking at the expense of San Jose State. The Cyclone quarterbacks combined to throw five touchdowns, and the ISU defense picked off four passes.
Campbell touched on those interceptions, and how this defense is starting to understand what the coaching staff has been preaching.
“That was just guys making plays,” Campbell said. “You look at those plays on film – it’s (Brian) Peavy making a great play on the ball, it’s Nigel (Tribune) understanding situational football, and Kamari (Cotton-Moya) being in the right place. Those guys feel comfortable with the technique and system.”
The question was asked by a fellow Des Moines news reporter who went to the University of Iowa - I won’t name names - but he asked if this team gained anything in resiliency after its first victory of the year?
Campbell popped right up like a kid in a candy store – “Well, we have handled not having success in the first three weeks, and we didn’t tank, (so) that easily could have happened.”
“The one thing I appreciate is we play together. It’s not about you, it’s not about me. It’s about us.”
“And the one thing leaving TCU (after a loss two weeks ago), regardless of the scoreboard – is we were playing together, and I think we saw that on Saturday (against SJSU),” Campbell said.
Moving on to Baylor. The Bears come in undefeated at 4-0, and are ranked 14th in the country. Baylor and new coach Jim Grobe bring a potent offense to Ames, one that scores 42 points per game, and gains 550 yards per game.
Campbell exclaimed that in years past yards were a big story in the box score, but over time, it has come down to situational football.
“Yardage happens with tempo, but it’s situational football that has become so critical for success,” said Campbell.
“You’re never going to stop the yardage, they (Baylor) are a team that is always going to gain yards. They do a great job of spreading you out horizontally and vertically. What has to happen is winning situational football games – you’ve got to get off the field on third down, got to do a great job in the red zone, and you have to do a great job of understanding and winning situational football,” Campbell said.
It sounds like going into the Baylor game Campbell will continue the musical chairs at quarterback. Both players provided a spark for the offense, with backup Jacob Park seeing more snaps and completing more passes against San Jose State, but according to the depth chart Joel Lanning is still number one.
One big change that has been a large topic of discussion is the omission of left tackle Jaypee Philbert’s name on the depth chart.
Campbell said “he is indefinitely suspended, and I will let you know when he is back on the football team.”
As far as the 16 points Baylor is favored by on Saturday – does Campbell use that as motivation and play the underdog story?
“No - we talk about one day at a time. We come with a purpose. I don’t care if we’re 100 point underdogs, it’s all about us right now. How we can be the best we can be, one day at a time. Our opponent is irrelevant at this time,” said Campbell.
Love it. This guy doesn’t care who comes to play. Bring on Bama.
ISU kicks off at 11:00 a.m. in Ames on Saturday against the SCUMbags of Baylor.