AMES — Whenever the college football coaching rumor mill starts up — whether it’s a Florida radio personality or an Arkansas blogger — the Iowa State players catch wind of it.
“There are times when the rumors start up — and it’ll probably happen again in these next couple of years — it always happens with coach (Matt Campbell),” quarterback Brock Purdy said. “But for me, I have such a great relationship with Coach that I can just shoot him a text or call him or walk into his office — he leaves his door open for us — and I can just ask him straight up about it.
“So when it happens and there are guys in the locker room talking about rumors they heard, we just go straight up to Coach’s office and he tells us the truth. He’s a loyal coach, I’m glad he’s staying and I knew that he would.”
Campbell proved his loyalty by signing a one-year contract extension on Dec. 3.
The process was as simple as it has always been between Campbell and Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard.
Last year, Campbell and his wife Erica went to Pollard’s house and had a meal with Pollard and his wife Ellen and discussed the contract extension over supper.
This season, it was just as simple.
“We had a conversation on that Monday,” Campbell said. “It was just a conversation. We’re really fortunate that we have that great sense of trust between each other.”
There are no big negotiations or fireworks when the two discuss a contract extension.
“It was similar to how Matt and I handle all things,” Pollard said. “We have a great relationship and there aren’t a lot of surprises. We both knew his name was going to be out there and we also knew it was important to get something done quickly to get that uncertainty out of the air.”
Campbell only found out his name was being thrown around because his players asked him about it.
He held a team meeting to clear the air and a couple days later, he had a contract extension.
“Maybe I did a poor job of that, to be honest,” Campbell said. “I don’t look at that stuff, so my awareness of it was minimal so I don’t do the best job of staying on top of those things. I understand it’s important so I do the best job that I can being present and being open and honest with our kids. It’s my responsibility to over communicate with our football team.”
For Campbell, it’s important to back up your words with actions. It’s something he demands of his players and himself.
He believes this contract extension is a way to show his players and recruits that he’s in it for the long haul.
“We know he’s a man of his word and that he’s loyal,” Purdy said. “When he tells us he’s staying, we know that’s the truth.”
Bowl preparation used as springboard
Football coaches often see bowl preparation as a catalyst into the next season.
The young players often practice early on and that allows the freshmen and sophomores to get some much needed practice time before the next season.
“This is a year where not too many true freshmen played as much as it did in years past,” Campbell said. “I think that says a lot about our program.”
Running back Breece Hall and defensive backs Kym-Mani King and D.J. Miller were the two true freshmen who saw the field a lot this season.
“Those guys that did play got a wealth of experience so they can continue to work hard to take that next step,” Campbell said. “Bowl games are a way to finish 2019, but man, it’s a way to really springboard yourself into 2020.”
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Because the young players are practicing early on, it allows the starters, like banged-up safety Greg Eisworth, to get some much needed rest.
“A lot of guys played a lot of snaps and a lot of guys were dinged up and banged up,” Campbell said. “Just the ability to catch your breath a little bit as been really big.
Iowa State sells out its allotment
Iowa State fans have made a name for themselves as a fan base that travels well and drinks a lot of beer.
That word travels fast and bowls love it. It’s why the Cyclones were able to jump two 8-4 teams to land in the Camping World bowl.
Iowa State fans have come through again.
Pollard and Iowa State had an allotment of 8,000 tickets for the Camping World Bowl and on Thursday, Pollard announced on Twitter they sold out their allotment for the third straight year.
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