INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
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AMES — In the wake of three-straight losses, Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell has three objectives he set before his program.
A bye week is standing in the way of five final regular season games, but in the opinion of the first-year Cyclones coach, it couldn’t come at a better time.
“We’ve got to get healthy, we’ve got to continue our development and then the biggest thing I think we have to continue to do is continue to develop our growth,” Campbell said Monday morning on the Big 12 teleconference. “The healthy piece of it, we’ve got to be really smart about how we practice.”
Iowa State (1-6, 0-4) will maintain a similar practice schedule to game weeks, Campbell said, but will allow players time to cure what ails them.
The Cyclones haven’t had much depth to speak of at any position — except perhaps wide receiver and secondary — and the off-week gives a chance to take a breather. Wide receiver Allen Lazard, safety Kamari Cotton-Moya and wide receiver Trever Ryen could all use the time.
Along with his duties in the return game, Ryen has been heavily used in the pass game and has 24 catches for 283 yards and two touchdowns this season. He turned an ankle in a loss at Oklahoma State and after attempting to play at Texas, he hobbled to the sidelines early in the first half and didn’t return — he recorded no stats in the 27-6 loss.
“Trever is a warrior,” Campbell said. “When you’re talking an ankle injury, time is the most important thing. Getting some of this time back, for him, will be a really big thing. We’ll be able to evaluate him by the end of the week, where is he and where is his health and strength at with that ankle.
“So getting this time for these guys to get themselves closer to 100 percent will certainly be a huge advantage for us down the stretch run.”
While practice continues in Ames, Campbell said coaches would use the week to be on the road recruiting around the country.
As telling as Iowa State’s final five games — Kansas State, Oklahoma, at Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia — could be for the direction of the program, building a culture on the recruiting trail is just as crucial. Campbell has 19 verbal commitments in his 2017 class with expectations to round out the group with about 25 signees.
“I think there’s a lot to sell here,” Campbell said. “I know where we’re going. I know this program, even more today, I know where this program is going and I know the foundational principles we have that sell Iowa State.
“I just think more than anything it’s been a belief and a unification of everybody within our walls of what Iowa State is and where we want to go with this program.”
K-State kickoff time set
Iowa State’s homecoming game on Oct. 29 against Kansas State has been selected for an 11 a.m. kickoff and will be televised on FSN.
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