AMES — Chaos is a natural part of football.
Defenses rely on chaos to confuse and slow down offenses.
The offensive line is a chaotic position.
When you break it down, 16 of the 22 players on the football field are creating chaos. The remaining six try to navigate the chaos.
But teams like Iowa State have a new form of chaos to deal with during the global pandemic. Games will get postponed or canceled, teams will lose key players due to COVID-19 and whole position groups might have to quarantine.
How will Iowa State manage the chaos?
“We hold very high standards for ourselves,” tight end Chase Allen said Friday during a Zoom press conference. “With the group that we have and given the circumstances, we feel confident. There’s going to be a lot of chaos. We can’t act like there won’t be any chaos this year because there will. We feel like we’re one of the groups that will be able to take advantage of it.”
Coach Matt Campbell has a coaching technique to help his players with uncertainties, unknowns and uncontrollables.
He said football has taken a back seat while the health and safety of managing his players has taken a spot next to him in the front seat.
“My time has really been put into our kids and the day-to-day situation,” Campbell said. “I can’t control whether or not we play a game — I wish we could, obviously, but I can’t. I demand this from everybody, including myself, we can’t worry about what we can’t control because if I do worry about that, then I’ll miss what I can control.
“A lot of our time and effort has been put into just being present and getting better one day at a time. I’ve been really proud of our team and program because since March, the bulk have been able to do that and we’re going to have to continue to do that through challenging times when there is a lot of uncertainty in the air.”
The message of “living in the moment” has hit home for Allen, a senior.
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“It’s something we’ve all learned,” Allen said. “The things that we thought would always be around, aren’t guaranteed — and that’s for any part of your life. It’s helped us learn to stay present. Am I going to miss having all the fans at Jack Trice Stadium? Of course. Are fans going to miss coming to the games? Of course.
“It just makes me value those memories that I have like K-State two years ago with everyone getting their cell phone lights out unprompted — it makes it so much more special to me.”
Even with the uncertainty, Iowa State is approaching the season like it is certain.
“The Big 12 said we’re moving forward with this, so in all of our minds, this is set in stone and we’re going to be playing,” Allen said. “If we don’t have that mindset, then we’re not going to be ready come Sept. 12.”
The Joker had a great line in “The Dark Knight.”
“Introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order and everything becomes chaos. I’m an Agent of Chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about Chaos? It’s fair.”
Every team in the nation has to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The successful teams will be able to handle the problems that come with it like games getting moved and canceled and they’ll be able to mitigate the spread within their own team.
“If you’re attacking this from any other way other than the health, safety and well-being of your student athletes, then you’re wrong,” Campbell said.
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