AMES — Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy is human.
It’s a fact he somewhat begrudgingly admitted to on Tuesday during a news conference.
He was asked about the range of emotions he felt from March until now. He described the highs and lows of dealing with the unknowns surrounding everything related to COVID-19 and whether or not there would be a football season.
“You name it, I probably went through it,” Purdy said. “When we left for spring break, most of us thought this would pass come football season and we’d have fans and life would be back to normal. I was all high on, ‘Hey, we’re going to play.’ Then, as we got closer, you started to hear people say, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to play or not.’ Then you kind of get down on yourself.
“We finally got word that we are going to play, we all zoned back in. That’s just the reality of being a human.”
Purdy already is arguably the best quarterback in Iowa State football history. He set 18 records last season and was the second Cyclone quarterback ever to make an all-Big 12 team.
He’s an even keeled guy who doesn’t often show his emotions or admit to feeling pressure, publicly.
But instead of ignoring the emotions and the pressure, he’s learned to deal with it.
“Last year I had pressure because I had all these expectations after my freshman year,” Purdy said. “But I’ve learned how to handle that and I’m ready to move forward into this year.”
Coach Matt Campbell has noticed a more mature Purdy.
“You’re talking about a guy that from a physical standpoint, I think, has matured and mastered his craft in a lot of ways,” Campbell said. “I think now it’s mastering the end game growth and handling the offense and continuing to take ownership in what we do, what we do offensively.”
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What’s helped Purdy deal with the pressure are all the experiences he and the Cyclones went through last season.
They lost three games by less than two points, got beat handily by Kansas State and Notre Dame but, on the other hand, also beat Texas in a close game.
Purdy believes the Cyclones have figured out what they need to do to close out games and be more consistent.
“One of the cool things about our team is we’ve all been together over the past three years,” Purdy said. “We were fairly young last year and a lot of us have already been through almost every situation, whether that’s coming up short in the games we lost last year or coming through against the teams where we’ve won at the end. We’ve faced a lot of adversity and we’ve faced a lot of pressure situations.
“Taking that and reminding the guys that we’ve been through this stuff together. This isn’t anybody’s first time. Everyone has experienced great things that they can go back and look at when they’re in pressure situations.”
Iowa State still faces high expectations, at a national level. ESPN’s Chris Fallica picked Iowa State to play in the Big 12 championship game.
Campbell said the biggest thing Purdy and the team learned from last season was how to handle expectations and pressure situations.
“I think that was probably a lot of what we learned a year ago,” Campbell said. “You start at the quarterback position and I think he could feel the external pressure that a young quarterback, that was talented, start to put on his shoulders. I think you felt that as a coaching staff at times and maybe the way we did some things.
“I just think that’s part of, in my opinion, that’s part of growing.”