116 3rd St SE
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AMES — Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers slowly unwinds after a game in the least surprising way possible.
“To be honest, I just watch more football,” said the strong-armed redshirt sophomore from West Sioux.
Dekkers’ dedication to postgame film study mirrors that of record-setting Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy, who now is a backup for the San Francisco 49ers.
Dekkers pores over his own game footage, then clicks on any other games that might be on, whether live or previously aired.
“I would definitely say the night after the game is the hardest to get to sleep because you’re thinking about everything,” said Dekkers, who hopes to push his record as a starter to 4-0 against No. 17 Baylor in Saturday’s 11 a.m. Big 12 opener at Jack Trice Stadium (ESPN2).
Thinking morphs into curiosity. Watching games raises successes and failures into sharp relief. And Dekkers — like Purdy, whom he backed up the previous two seasons — readily admits to being a nit-picker.
“I’d like to say I’m a perfectionist, but with football, you’ll never have a perfect game,” said Dekkers, whose 74.3 completion percentage ranks fifth nationally. “So I definitely nitpick at the little things I do wrong, yes.”
Call it constructive self-criticism, but Dekkers is not alone in dwelling upon and seeking to improve on what went wrong, rather than reveling in the many aspects of his game that have gone right.
Case in point: Senior safety Anthony Johnson celebrated his first career interception in last Saturday’s 43-10 dousing of Ohio by immediately delving into film study instead of being interviewed by the media.
“I was kind of disappointed because I gave up a touchdown as well as catching that pick,” Johnson said. “And I felt like the defense didn’t play to the standard in the second half of that game and there were a couple of things that I wanted to watch and see if it was true — what I was seeing and what I was experiencing. I just had to get that work done.”
Meticulous attention to detail will be required if ISU is to beat the Bears (2-1) and improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2000. All three of the Cyclones’ losses to Baylor during head coach Matt Campbell’s tenure have been decided by three or fewer points and the Bears boast talent across all three phases on both sides of the ball.
“I think they have elite team speed across the board,” Campbell said. “When you look at (Baylor), it doesn’t matter what the position is, what jumps off the film is elite speed.”
ISU’s caught up to that Big 12-level speed while posting five consecutive winning seasons for the first time in the modern era, but patience — not seeking shortcuts — explains how that’s occurred.
Dekkers demonstrates that during and after games. Whether on the field or parked on his couch. Watching rather than playing; picking apart his performance in order to calmly and steadily approach that tantalizing, yet unreachable peak known as perfection.
“You kind of just have to have that thought process,” Dekkers said. “Forcing balls is going to get you beat in games, so taking what the defense gives you is going to help you win games.”
Iowa State injury report
Campbell said projected starting offensive tackle Jake Remsburg, backup running back Cartevious Norton and starting safety Beau Freyler all are expected to play against Baylor.