116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Matt Campbell didn't walk into his job at Iowa State with the intention of changing his philosophy. He has a plan he's familiar with and won't veer too far from it.
When the new Iowa State football coach was asked about how he can change and recruit offensive personnel to compete with the likes of Baylor and TCU, he took his answer in a different direction.
The Bears and Horned Frogs are some of the most potent offenses in the Big 12, but Campbell highlighted another philosophy that might more accurately represent his Cyclones: Kansas State and coach Bill Snyder.
'Who your players are dictate what plays you run and then obviously what formations you run those out of,' Campbell said. 'I'm not silly. It's about players — and getting those players the ball offensively, putting them in position to be successful, run, pass. Obviously we're going to be physical. It's the foundation of who we are.'
Campbell has used the phrase 'attitude and effort' to describe how his teams play, which he says won't change at Iowa State. He's tried to build his squads through the offensive and defensive lines first, and have run offensive formations with a strong foundation in the ground attack — and although he'll have to replace his interior offensive line at Iowa State, Mike Warren and Joshua Thomas return to give the backfield healthy experience.
In Campbell's last season at Toledo, the Rockets were first in the MAC and 26th nationally with 5.13 yards per rush while calling run plays 55 percent of the time. Toledo averaged 35.4 points per game and was first in the nation in pass attempts per sack (96). Campbell was an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator with the Rockets before elevating to head coach at the end of 2011.
'I might have to switch to running back to get some more touches,' receiver Allen Lazard said with a laugh. 'But I'm excited about the new offense or whatever new offense he puts in with us.'
When Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard looked at the qualities of coaches to hire, he crunched some numbers of his own that illustrated how vital and strong the running game is to success in Big 12 play. Last season, the Cyclones averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 25 points per game.
'In the last three years of the Big 12, the team that rushed for more yards, has won 80 percent of the games,' Pollard said. 'The team that rushed for more yards was in a one-possession game 90 percent of the time. And of the other 10 percent, half the time it was a team that was an unranked team playing a ranked team. So what does that tell you? What it tells you is if you can run the ball in the Big 12, you're going to be in the game or win the game 90 percent of the time.'
Defensively, Campbell's 2015 UT unit ranked in the top 25 in red zone scoring percentage (65.7) and points per game (21.09) while leading the MAC in both categories. Iowa State saw defensive improvements in a 3-4 defensive scheme this season, but Campbell said he won't commit to running any one scheme exclusively.
'I kind of see it as the whole pizza,' Campbell said. 'You've got to have pepperoni, you've got to have green pepper, you've got to have onion, you've got to have sausage; you've got to have a little bit of everything today in the world of college football. If you're just this, or this, that's pretty hard, because offenses and defenses are too good today.'
l Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org