AMES — Iowa State’s season opener against Louisiana went poorly.
All three phases had their issues and no one on the Cyclones hid from that fact in the postgame press conference.
The issues include, but are not limited to, the offense not getting and staying in rhythm, the defense allowing big plays and pretty much everything on special teams.
The bright spot for Iowa State is that it has two weeks to resolve the issues that coach Matt Campbell saw before the Cyclones (0-1) travel to TCU (0-0) on Sept. 26.
“We knew, from our end of it, that we were going to have to work through some of those things,” Campbell said. “We were working through that against a very good football team — hats off to them. I’m not in a panic mode by any stretch of the imagination. As long as the attitude and the effort of this team continues, then I have complete faith that we will have the ability to get where we need to go.”
Safety Greg Eisworth, who had six tackles Saturday, believes the 31-14 loss to a Louisiana team now ranked No. 19 is motivating.
“None of this stuff is really deflating for us,” Eisworth said. “It just adds more fuel to the fire. It exposes our areas of weakness and now we have to figure out how to fix it. There’s no deflation. We don’t allow that to happen.”
Tight end Chase Allen, who had two catches for 31 yards, believes Iowa State is poised to handle the early-season loss.
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“We just had a great conversation in the locker room about this,” Allen said. “We’ve been in this situation before — especially the seniors. We’re no strangers to having our backs against the wall. There’s no panic setting in and we know we just have to clean up these minor things and take the next step.”
The team not panicking was a theme Iowa State players and Campbell pushed throughout the postgame press conference.
Eisworth laid out a theoretically simple path forward for the Cyclones.
“We need a lot of self reflection and looking in the mirror,” Eisworth said. “We can’t be pointing fingers and saying, ‘We should’ve done this or that.’ It’s all about self reflection. If you didn’t play a perfect game, then you have to improve. If everybody improves, individually, then collectively, our team will as well.”
Campbell believes the improvement will come. His main concern is making sure the players stay healthy.
“It’s a long season and there are a lot of things going on,” Campbell said. “We need to continue to pound away at the health, safety and well being of our kids — that’s our No. 1 priority. We have enough good football players here to continue to get better at the sport of football.”
Allen echoed his coach’s sentiments and added another key reason why maintaining their “bubble” is important beyond just avoiding COVID-19 and potential quarantine.
“The biggest thing we have to do is just stay within our bubble, both physically and mentally,” Allen said. “We can’t listen to the outside noise — people are going to want to call us dead after this first game and say we’re the old Iowa State, and that’s just not true.”
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