Iowa State hired successful Head Football Coach Matt Campbell to rebuild and overhaul the Cyclone Football Program.
Campbell and his coaching staff, who went 35-15 in four plus seasons as the Head Coach of Toledo, may not have realized how much rebuilding it was going to take to get Iowa State back to competing for Big 12 championships and beating arch rival Iowa.
Saturday’s game at Iowa gave fans and the Iowa State coaching staff a little better picture of how much work has to be done.
Iowa dominated the Cyclones 42-3 in Iowa City, giving Campbell and coaching staff a few things to think about headed into Big 12 play next week against TCU on the road in Fort Worth Texas.
“Are we doing too much,” Campbell asked. “I think we have to look at it as coaches, first and foremost. Is that on us as coaches, if it is we will figure that out. If not, are we playing the right people.”
One thing that was obvious in Saturday’s game against the Hawkeyes was the fact that ISU must have better play at the signal caller position.
Redshirt Junior Joel Lanning, who has started the last seven games for the Cyclones, struggled the first three quarters against Iowa, completing only 8 passes out of 20 attempts and one interception. The Hawkeye defense was able to keep him contained and pressured him for most of the night.
Redshirt Sophomore transfer quarterback Jacob Park provided some much need spark in the fourth quarter of play. Park, a four-star signal caller, signed out of high school with the University of Georgia. He spent the 2015 season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College before joining the Cyclones this summer.
Park went 6 completions against 15 attempts and no interceptions for 79 yards including an impressive 36-yard completion to Allen Lazard. Campbell made it clear that he and the Iowa State coaching staff would open up competition at that position.
“We have to look at what gives us the best chance to win games,” Campbell said. “We will sit down and figure out that situation as well as others.”
Park was asked after the game about his performance.
“We lost,” Park said. “I haven’t really thought about my performance. I thought made my reads pretty good.”
Lanning also noted that regardless of what happens at the quarterback position, it’s his job as a captain of the team to remain a positive leader. “Regardless of what happens at the position, I’m still a team captain.”
BRIGHT SPOTS FOR CYCLONES
While these spots were few and far between, the play of junior wide out Lazard was definitely one of them. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound receiver finished the contest with seven receptions for 111 yards.
CAMPBELL CHALLENGES ISU RUNNING BACKS
Campbell wasn’t shy after Saturday night’s disappointing loss to the Hawkeyes on what has to happen in the future at the running back position for his Cyclones to be successful.
“I keep hearing about how great Mike is, but Mike’s a guy that has to practice well and has to be a player that’s accountable on and off the field. He has talent, but we have some good competition at that position.” Campbell was referring to ISU’s red shirt sophomore Mike Warren. Warren ended the contest with 29 yards on 7 carries. Kene Nwangwu fielded 33 yards on the same amount of totes.
“We have to have a better running attack,” Campbell noted.
ALL CYCLONES Thoughts of IOWA STATES GAME AGAINST IOWA
It was obvious that the Hawkeye team was a more experienced squad that has been running the same system for a long period of time.
Iowa controlled both lines of scrimmage that caused Iowa State problems from the onset of the contest.
Iowa State’s new head coach Matt Campbell is known for building winners. He also is known as a great recruiter. This writer has spoken to several Scout.com recruiting analyst who are all impressed with how this coaching staff recruits on a national level.
One state recruiting analyst noted that Campbell really recruited one recent commitment as well as he had seen from any other coaching staff.
It’s all obvious that it will take that kind of recruiting, improvement on a weekly basis for this team to reach the expectations of Campbell and his staff as well as Cyclone Nation.