Sep 21, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell watches his team play against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones beat the Warhawks 72 to 20. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
The following is a transcript of Matt Campbell’s time on the 11-4-19 edition of the Big 12 Teleconference.
Q: You guys are making your first trip back to Norman since that 2017 game. That was sort of your coming out party for what Iowa State football could do. Look back, what did that victory that day do for Cyclone Nation, for the belief your guys had in the squad, confidence, all those kinds of things?
Campbell: I really just think that year in general and, obviously, winning a conference game on the road and beating a program like Oklahoma, I think it just allowed us instead of, sometimes this has happens in coaching, you know this, where you’re constantly talking about what you’re going to do, and then finally having the ability to put some proof to maybe the vision that you have for your program. I think that football season in general for us allowed us to put some proof into the vision that we thought we would have for where Iowa State football could be and could go.
Q: For your veterans who were on that trip, does having won down in Oklahoma before, does that give them even more confidence that they can do it again?
Campbell: Yeah, I think in today’s society with 18 to 22-year-old kids, and I don’t even mean to say this naively, I think so much of what happened two years ago is, gosh, that’s almost like 40 years ago. I think dealing with what happened yesterday or today is really the trick with 18 to 22-year-olds. I think for us and our kids and this year’s football team, I really think it’s been a one day at a time mentality and trying to really learn from every game we’ve played and being the best team we can be in the future. I really appreciate this group because I think they’ve done a great job of doing that.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Brock Purdy. I noticed he’s third-best in the country in passing yards per game and leads the Big 12. This is kind of an odd stat for an Iowa State quarterback. Did anticipate he would have this kind of success in his sophomore season given the style of offense that you play that likes to involve the running game?
Campbell: I think Brock is one those players who has just continued to emerge as a really special football player in college football. When you continue to see a young man grow with the consistency that he’s grown, I think you want to continue to find ways to put the ball in his hand to have success. Our philosophy whether it’s offense, defense or special teams, has always been around players, formations, plays. Who are the players? What formations do you get in? What plays do you run? Having a guy like Brock at the quarterback spot who has continued to get better, you want to continue to find ways to allow him to affect the football game in a positive way. We’re really fortunate that he just continues to get better and better and better as his career has continued on.
Q: Coach, along the lines of what you were talking about day-by-day and having a short memory, what was the off week like for Brock? He had a rough fourth quarter against Oklahoma State. Was he able to shake that stuff off? What do you expect him to be like attitude-wise as you head out this week?
Campbell: That’s a great question. I think that’s one of the things that’s made him really special to be quite honest with you. I think the thing I love about Brock is he’s taken every moment as a learning experience. Another great learning experience for him in the last football game he played. The great thing about him whether it’s been a positive or a negative experience, he’s had the unique ability to come back on Sunday or Monday and be ready to practice and get better and grow from it. I think that’s what’s allowed him to be a really special player and I think it’s what will allow him to continue to be a really special player. He had a great week. I expect him only to continue to grow and get better.
Q: When you have a bye week like this, how early do you start install for the next game? Is it like a normal week where you start on Sunday or do you really take some time for yourselves to work some things out and then install later in the week or the beginning of the next week? How do you kind of organize your timeline?
Campbell: I think every bye week is different in how they come and when they come. I think this one for us was coming after seven straight games of playing, physical and a lot of wear-and-tear on this football team. I think, No. 1, our big thing was physically to get ourselves right. No. 2, was correct maybe some of those areas that we needed to correct where maybe we weren’t as good as we needed to be through that stretch run of things. Then, obviously, getting ready for an opponent. I think you take all three of those things into the bye week and try to sure all three of those things up the best you could to get ready for more opportunities.
Q: I know we’ve talked before about how it’s hard to look at any kind of stats with an offensive line, but is there a certain area where you think it’s improved? I know in looking at the analytics your sack rate and your stuff rate in terms of run and pass are really good nationally, but what have you see as maybe the key point where they’ve improved?
Campbell: I’ve said this before, I think good offensive lines are really judged by the consistency they’ve got the ability to play with. That’s a great challenge for any offensive line, especially at this level with the amount of great defenses and great defensive lines you play with and play against. I think that consistency really has the opportunity to tell the story of an offensive line. I think this group continues to grow in that area. If you said, ‘What’s the most growth that’s happened this year in eight football games,’ I’d say for the most part consistently they’ve had the ability to play at a really positive level. I think they’re still growing in that because you’ve seen some setbacks at times through this season and it’s going to be really imperative for this group to continue to play with great consistency if we want to have success down the stretch run.
Q: Has there been any notable improvement with Greg this week with the time off?
Campbell: Oh, absolutely, Greg’s one of those guys where it has just been time and the ability to get him as much time as we could. I think that’s what hard during a season. That’s what’s huge about having a bye week. I think certainly Greg is a lot better today than he’s been since he got dinged up early in the season.