AMES — Senior offensive lineman Julian Good-Jones’ Iowa State career hasn’t always been smooth.
He endured a coaching change, changed positions three times in three years and was suspended one game at the beginning of last season.
But as he wraps up his senior season, he’s become a bona fide leader for the Cyclones’ offensive line.
“From Julian’s standpoint, here’s a guy that’s been through a lot and we know that, it’s been documented, we can all talk about that,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “But what I’ve always seen about Julian is this amazing spirit. Who he really is, is really special.
“He’s got great leadership ability because he’s got this unique ability to get along with everybody in our program. He’s got a big heart.”
That’s something redshirt freshman left guard Trevor Downing has noticed, too.
Downing said Good-Jones always is the one who texts everybody in the offensive line room to make plans, make sure everyone is staying on top of things — even small things like planning where the position group will eat. That may not actually be a small task given the size of these particular humans.
While Good-Jones is the leader off the field, he’s also turned himself into a leader on the field — thanks, in part, to playing the same position (left tackle) in consecutive seasons.
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“He’s always done what’s best for the team even though it’s never been what’s maybe been best for him,” Campbell said. “You probably could even say that at this point, he’s playing left tackle, he’s probably a natural center. But he has played incredible football for this team this year and he’s physically playing his best. I think one thing that’s been positive is we’ve been able to keep him in the same position now for the first time in his career, which I think you’re seeing the benefits (of) in the consistency he’s been able to play with for this team.
“I think Julian and really Bryce (Meeker), they’ve been anchors in why this offensive line room has changed.”
Bounce back Brock
Quarterback Brock Purdy had a miserable end to Iowa State’s last game against Oklahoma State. The sophomore threw three interceptions in the last seven minutes of the game, including the decisive pick-6 in a 34-27 defeat.
Campbell has seen Purdy bounce back well.
“Brock responds the same way all the time, which is really fun,” Campbell said. “That’s why it’s an honor to coach him. It’s what makes Brock really special — the unique ability to be present and to be in the moment. No matter what happened on the last play or what happened in the last game or what happened in the last situation, that ability to bounce back is always there.
“Brock Purdy is one of the greatest competitors that I’ve gotten to be around in terms of coaching. Nobody is harder on himself and nobody demands more of himself. When you get that combination, you get a pretty special player. He had a really great week to get himself ready physically and mentally.”
Iowa State played in seven straight games before last weekend’s bye. Many players had bumps and bruises and Campbell focused on making sure his players got right both mentally and physically before the stretch run of the season.
“The biggest thing is just getting healthy,” Campbell said. “For seven weeks, when you get into a run like we had, where every game is a big game, every situation was a big situation. Physically and mentally we had to get ourselves healthy.”
Safety Greg Eisworth was the only player with a significant injury that had a chance to return.
“Greg will definitely be available,” Campbell said. “He really benefited from having the week off and getting himself back to the best health he’s had in quite a long time.”
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