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AMES — The education on culture and process hasn’t stopped since Matt Campbell stepped foot on campus.
The players in the Iowa State locker room want to win, but the first-year Cyclones coach has made his point clear. Wanting to win and doing what it takes to win are different things.
Iowa State could have those two points finally intersect when it meets San Jose State on Saturday in Jack Trice Stadium. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. on FSN.
“Obviously we want to go and win a football game and get that first win, but to me, it’s what does Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday look like,” Campbell said. “Can we learn to earn the right to win football games and earn the right to feel like we had success instead of just go out and fling it around and score more points than the other team.
“That’s way more meaningful to me than it is what happens on Saturday even though eventually that’s really important.”
Despite a loss to FCS Northern Iowa and blowout losses at the hands of Iowa and TCU, the Cyclones (0-3) enter Saturday’s game against the Spartans as favorites. Iowa State is 6.5 or 7-point favorites depending on which Las Vegas line you call up, but that’s the last thing anyone in the ISU locker room is concerned about.
All Iowa State is concerned with is making progress — even in a loss at TCU — and the goal is to not have setbacks. Favorites, underdogs or any chatter outside of the white lines is for others to intake.
“We’ve been favored in games we’ve lost and we’ve been not favored in games we’ve won,” said quarterback Joel Lanning. “You’ve got to go into every single game and play as best as you can and execute because anything can happen on Saturday.
“Any team is good in college football and they may not have the best record, but they showed up that Saturday and they beat you or something like that.”
San Jose State got its only win against Portland State of the FCS, but scored 66 points in the process. Its two losses were to Tulsa and Utah, 45-10 and 34-17, respectively, but the Spartans were in a bowl game as recently as last year.
A win would go a long way for an Iowa State team that has had more questions than answers through three games.
“What (Campbell’s) really trying to say is the fact that this is a brand-new team and this is a whole different philosophy, so the process is going to be a lot different,” said defensive lineman Pierre Aka. “Guys really have to trust in. Not necessarily buy in, but trust in.”
- Wide receiver Allen Lazard has been limited in practice this week with a foot injury, but is expected to play against San Jose State. The junior was targeted only three times against TCU and had one catch for eight yards.
Campbell doesn’t expect the injury to be one that lingers through the entire season.
“He’s certainly not practicing at 100 percent,” Campbell said. “I think it says a lot about him that he gets himself out there and has practiced and put himself in a position to, at least, when it’s game time to be as close to 100 percent as he can be.”
Wide receivers Dondre Daley and Hakeem Butler were limited by injuries last week against TCU, too. Butler didn’t play while Daley had two catches for 16 yards. Campbell expects both to be available Saturday.
Freshman running back David Montgomery suffered an abdomen strain last week in practice and had just two carries for no yards against TCU. Campbell thought Montgomery could have tweaked it on a normal run in drills.
“He’s back to 100 percent this week though and had a good week of practice,” Campbell said. “I think you’ll see more of David as the game goes on and the season goes on for us.”
- Iowa State has had several true freshmen play in the first three weeks, but tight end Chase Allen hasn’t been one. Allen has dealt with several ailments this fall after he was hit by a car and received 103 stitches as well as suffering the flu during Weeks 1 and 2.
Campbell said the coaching staff will make a determination on Allen, as well as the other true freshmen who haven’t played, on whether or not they will attempt to keep those redshirts intact. He hopes that is decided within the next couple weeks.
“I’m a guy that would rather play a kid too late than too early,” Campbell said. “If he’s not ready now at this point, are we really worth putting him into a situation where he should play or is he better off gaining his strength back and getting healthy and saving that year for the opportunity to get bigger and stronger and give himself the opportunity to come back to 100 percent health?”
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