Campbell talks about his struggles and future

To say that this season has been a disappointment for Calais Campbell would be an understatement. Read on to hear what he had to say about it and much more...

"I haven't played as good as I wanted to at all," Calais Campbell said. "I've been frustrated for a couple of games and trying to hard to make plays and putting myself in bad positions to make them."

Prior to the season, Campbell, a junior, vowed to break the Hurricanes all-time career sack record. He would have had to record a nationally unprecedented 26 sacks, a number that would have put him ahead of former Hurricane great Daniel Stubbs' mark of 36.5 career sacks and would have broken the NCAA single season record currently held by former Arizona State and current Baltimore Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs' mark of 24 sacks in 2002.

Campbell enters Saturday's game against Virginia with a pedestrian five sacks and only 8.5 tackles for loss.

"I feel like I am playing hard, but my technique has been bad," Campbell said critiquing his season. "I feel I am going to finish strong. It is all about how you finish. I wish I could have had a better year but I am playing hard and trying to win every game."

Throughout the season, Campbell has fought through the pressures that come with being a marked man. Constant double teams and protections slid to his direction on the field have taken a toll on Campbell's production and play.

"I am getting a lot more double teams and I am getting a lot more focus," Campbell said. "Teams are making sure that I don't beat them. I was kind of frustrated for a while, I was a little tired. I am playing more plays then I am used to play."

Game fatigue has also been a factor. Prior to this season, Campbell was used in only 30-35 plays per game as a situational player. Now he is involved in nearly double his total plays from last season, playing in 60-65 plays per game. For a player that is described by coaches and team mates as a hustle player with a motor always that is always going, the expanded playing time has slowed Campbell's engine.

When he has slowed down, Campbell admits that he is ineffective as pacing himself down takes away one of his best attributes. For that to happen, he will have step off the field more often and allow someone to take his place, so when he does re-enter the game, he can play with the energy that allowed him to be a pre-season favorite for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation's best defensive end, which isn't easy for a player who prides himself on playing a full 60 minutes.

"If I am tired now I come out and Courtney Harris can come in and play," Campbell said. "It is hard for me to come out, but if I am tired and I feel like I can't really give it my all, then I will let Courtney come in. He is more then capable of being a standout player here."


With only three games left in the season, the time is now for Campbell to play up to his potential. What happens during those weeks will determine a lot in the future of the 6-foot-8, 280 pound potential first round pick.

Following the conclusion of the 2007 season, Campbell will have to make one of the biggest decisions of his life. In one corner he will be weighing an option that every highly touted college football player will make in their junior year, to enter the NFL as an early entrant or to stay in college for his senior season.

"I have not made a choice yet," Campbell said. "You have to make a lot of heavy considerations."

Campbell was projected by most draft pundits and NFL scouts as a potential high first round pick prior to the season. Should he get a first round grade, the decision for Campbell would be difficult.

"It will be tough for me to leave here, because I love it here," Campbell said about the option to leave early. "I believe that next year, with the type of guys coming in and the guys we have returning we can win a championship."

For Campbell, does where he is projected to go matter? He certainly thinks so. And it may ultimately be a deciding factor.

"Where you are projected to go plays a big part in it." Campbell said. "If you are the number one pick overall, it is kind of hard not to go. But if you are projected as a late first round it is easier to come back."

He will petition the NFL's Draft Advisory Committee at the end of the season to see where they project him to be drafted. Scouts have told Campbell that he needs to work on his technique.

"They said to continue to work on my technique, because that is the biggest transition from here to the NFL. It is all about technique because everyone is a lot stronger, a lot faster, smarter, so it really comes down to technique. So it is what I want to improve on, it was what I wanted to improve on already and it something I really have to improve on. I am a high effort player, I am always playing with a lot of effort, but sometimes my technique is bad and I need to play with a lot more effort to get by."

So, what if Campbell was told by the committee that his draft stock was placed in the second or third round?

"That right there would make me come back no matter what, because I see myself as a lot better then that and I'd feel like I was selling myself short if I settled for that," Campbell said. "But I mean, it comes down to what teams who they want and stuff, so nothing is guaranteed. Whatever they give us back, isn't guaranteed. Brady Quinn was supposed to be a top three pick and didn't go until late in round one. I really have to do more research and think before I make a decision."

So, the most important question that needs to be asked is, where does Campbell sit on the decision at the moment?

"I'm leaning more toward coming back then leaving," Campbell said with confidence. "But, I am not ruling out of anything yet. I definitely have to consider my family and my family here at the University of Miami. There are a lot of things that come into play."

"When it comes time, I'm going to sit down with my family and consider what is important. I'm going to sit down with my old high school coaches, my family and a couple of good friends I trust. And with that hopefully I make a good decision and god helps me make the right decision."

Canes Time Top Stories