Randy Peterson is in his fifth decade of covering Iowa State sports for the Des Moines Register, giving him the historical perspective and first-hand knowledge to opine on all things Cyclone. He took time out to answer our questions on the new look ISU program.
Q: New coach Matt Campbell generated a lot on enthusiasm upon his arrival in Ames. Is that still buzzing, even with the tough start and middle of the season, and no bowl game in the offing?
Peterson: The buzzing for Matt Campbell is as loud now as it was when he was hired. Four one-possession losses, including a couple during which touchdown passes were dropped, have ISU fans actually looking anxiously forward to next season. Manhandling a Texas Tech outfit that didn't even want to be in Ames last Saturday caught fans' eye as well. Recruiting appears to be going well, and Matt Campbell and his staff are all over the social media. It was a very popular hire in November, and it continues to be a popular hire.
Q: ISU has played much better of late. What areas of the team have shown the most improvement, and which ones still have the most work to do?
Peterson: The entire defense played very well last week against Texas Tech and Patrick Mahomes. The secondary is the best collection of players that I've seen in ISU's defensive backfield in a long time, led by Kamari Cotton-Moya, who had a Pick-Six against Mahomes. Linebacker Kane Seeley has been very solid, and the defensive line certainly isn't great against the rush, but can put pressure on quarterbacks. Receivers have been very good, as expected, especially with Allen Lazard. He's at the top of his game right now.
Q: Does the two-quarterback system cause any problems in terms of team unity, or in establishing an identity for the offense?
Peterson: I'm not afraid to admit that I was wrong in my initial thoughts on QB Combo. I thought it would lead to unrest among players, since co-captain and very popular Joel Lanning was now sharing a position with a newcomer. Man, was I wrong. There is no problem whatsoever. As a matter of fact, this is the most united ISU football locker room as I've seen in a long time.