Campbell not worried about polls
Cyclones picked 3rd, but coach knows proof will come on field
ARLINGTON, Tex. — Expectations center around Iowa State and Matt Campbell this fall on the gridiron.
The Cyclones were picked to finish third in the Big 12 behind conference heavyweights Oklahoma and Texas a season removed from going 8-5 and playing in the Alamo Bowl.
“I will say this about the expectation, first and foremost, I don’t mean this to be negative in any stretch of the imagination, but if we worried about what the expectations of our football program were outside of our walls, the first three years, I think we would have crumbled really fast,” said Campbell during the recent Big 12 Media Day event. “So what we’ve been able to do is handle our own expectations and making our own expectations way loftier than anything that could be said outside of our walls.
“I think one of the greatest things that’s been known when I first got to Iowa State all of the questions were what color uniforms are you wearing, what’s your entrance song, people cared about stuff that really doesn’t matter, and now we’re talking about a football team, we’re asking football questions and we’re concerned about what’s really important. In terms of growing a football culture in a football program the right way. I think it’s been a lot more our ability to address the ‘how.’ How do you be successful? What does success look like? How do you play hard every day? How do you show up to work every day and present a football program and a culture? We have been able to address the “how” maybe than some of those areas that aren’t so important in football.”
Four players from the defensive side of the ball were selected to the preseason all-Big 12 team in defensive end JaQuan Bailey, defensive lineman Ray Lima, safety Greg Eisworth and linebacker Marcel Spears, Jr.
Bailey and Spears were both present with Campbell at the press conference along with offensive lineman Josh Knipfel and receiver Deshaunte Jones.
Campbell called Spears “probably the greatest leader in our football program.” The two-time all-Big 12 selection is currently tied with Shawn Moorehead for the school’s career sacks record with 18.5.
“We wanted to look at the areas where we can continue to grow and build our culture both on and off the football field, identifying the margins in our football program that we’d like to continue to fill and continue to work on, and I really couldn’t be prouder of the growth and the change that we have been able to make in the last seven months,” Campbell said. “This group has done a great job and I’m sure like every coach that’s been up here so far. We are excited to get going here pretty soon.”
The Iowa State offense will be led by sophomore Brock Purdy, who was named to the preseason Davey O’Brien Award watch list. Purdy led the Cyclones to a 7-2 record, earning honorable mention all-Big 12 status after throwing for 2,250 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Owen Terwilliger, a former all-stater at Humboldt, is a freshman working on the offensive line this summer for Iowa State.