116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Iowa State is ranked in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 2005. Coach Matt Campbell could not care less.
'I had no reaction,' Campbell said. 'I think it is what it is.'
He said those are things you want to be in and pay attention to at the end of the season. Right now, it doesn't mean much.
'I think the reality of it is that's what makes college football really hard — and that's why people don't stay in that poll — because they do react to it and they have reactions to it,' Campbell said.
The polls are great for the fans and the school because it brings attention to Iowa State, but for Campbell and his football team, polls are meaningless.
Old faces back again
Ever since Campbell was hired to be Iowa State's head coach, he has embraced the past and welcomed back former coaches and players.
This week, former coaches Dan McCarney (1995-2006) and Johnny Majors (1968-72) will be back in Ames.
'It's great to have people that have been in the foundation of true success here,' Campbell said. 'It's so great for our kids to have coaches that come back around and certainly players that come back around because it reminds them of where they want to be and where they want to have a chance to finish.'
What makes these two coaches stand out is they didn't have success for just six or seven games, they sustained success for years.
Majors has the seventh-most wins in Iowa State history despite coaching just five seasons. He also holds the distinct honor of taking Iowa State to its first bowl game.
McCarney led Iowa State to five bowl games, more than any other coach in school history and his 56 wins are the most in school history.
'They're great mentors to all of us and I'm just excited to have great coaches like that back around our football program,' Campbell said.
Situational football key to Iowa State's success
Iowa State practices situational football a lot. Campbell said as small as Iowa State's margin for error is, it has to be great at situational football.
Fourth down conversions and red-zone offense have been bright spots this year.
The Cyclones are 8-of-11 on fourth downs and 28-of-31 on red-zone scores.
Campbell tries to mesh the emotion and flow of the game with the analytical part to determine whether or not Iowa State goes for it on fourth down like it did in a key spot early in the game against Texas Tech.
'Stress, that's what goes into that,' Campbell said of the decisions on fourth down. 'I think the biggest thing that we try to do and I try to do — we do talk about it, there are some percentages and there are some analytics to some of that — but I think so much of it is really just a gut feeling. What's the flow of the game?'
Campbell has less stress in the red zone. In fact it's usually the opposing team's coach who starts to stress because Iowa State has so many playmakers.
The Cyclones can run it with David Montgomery, or they have six legitimate receiving threats. Only four of them are out there at a time, but every one of them has to be accounted for.
'Any time you have four of our receivers out there, it certainly gives you options,' Campbell said.
While the players are important in situational football, so are the coaches.
'The attribute there goes to our coaching staff,' Campbell said. 'They really try to do a good job of putting our playmakers in great positions to make plays and be successful.'
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