116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — For its entire existence, Iowa State’s football team has been the hunters.
Former coaches Dan McCarney, Earle Bruce and Johnny Majors all had seasons or a stretch of a few seasons where they brought the Cyclones into relevance. But that success always waned.
Coach Matt Campbell has been the first coach to sustain success and, after finishing with the best record in the Big 12 last season, teams are now gunning for the Cyclones.
“I said this to our team after the Baylor game — and I think we understand it, the leaders of our team understand it, but you're still dealing with 18- to 22-year-olds — I told them, ‘Number one is everybody's trying to kill you,’” Campbell said. “They have (been) since last January.”
Iowa State is getting everybody’s best shot this season. And it resulted in the Cyclones losing a game like the one at West Virginia on Saturday.
“When they're all trying to kill you, your precision and detail has to be elite,” Campbell said. “Even though you're tired, even though it's the third game in a row of some back-to-back emotional football games, nobody cares. And if you want to be the team you want to be and you want to reach your full potential, then you’ve got to keep staying the course and you’ve got to keep getting better.”
Campbell saw some players were able to stay the course, but some others shrunk in the moment.
“Some guys were incredible,” Campbell said. “And some other areas we weren't as sharp as we needed to be — at least early. I think those are great learning lessons for all of us and there's a lot of football left to be played, and there's a lot of time for us to reach our full potential. And we have (done that) at times this year.
“Can we do it consistently and sustain it?”
Matt Campbell now Big 12’s second longest tenured coach
TCU and coach Gary Patterson parted ways on Monday, effective immediately. Patterson, who coached at TCU for more than 20 years and brought it into relevance, was the second longest tenured coach in the FBS behind only Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz.
With Patterson out, Campbell now is the second longest tenured coach in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy.
“It's crazy,” Campbell said. “I mean, we live in a crazy time and I get it. Boy, I could go down a long rabbit hole on this whole thing.
“Gary Patterson, you know what I would say? There's a lot of great coaches in our profession that have sustained success over the long haul. And I think anybody in this profession that can do this job for the length of time, especially at one place, deserves respect. It's hard. I think Coach Patterson did such a transformational job at TCU and I've had a lot of respect for him just because of the way he coaches.
“I think our profession’s at a very interesting crossroads right now. Obviously with the jobs, and I get that, but I also think, man, what are we really doing with 18- to 22-year-old young people? Have we lost our way? I don't know, but I think it's a challenging time, and I think it's a very interesting time. But my respect for Coach Patterson, nothing short of first class.”
Iowa State injury report
Linebacker Mike Rose missed the West Virginia game with an injury. Tight end Jared Rus got hurt on the game’s first play and missed the remainder of the game.
“I really think Mike was in a lot better spot on Sunday and Monday than where he was last week,” Campbell said. “He got really close to playing in the game on Saturday. He worked hard to get himself back. Anything can happen between now and Saturday but he’s certainly trending toward being ready to go for this coming Saturday.
“Jared got a really deep cut on the first play of the game. It was really nasty and it didn’t allow him to come back into the game. But it’s not anything that I think is going to keep him out for an extended period of time. We certainly hope to see Jared back in the lineup again this weekend.”