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Football

Q&A: Matt Campbell spring game recap

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AMES — The Cardinal team beat the Gold 10-6 team in a very well attended Iowa State spring game on Saturday. See what head coach Matt Campbell had to say afterwards in this Q&A. 

Q: What did you think of Joel Lanning today?

MC:Obviously we were really watered down offensively. We were only running a couple of things but I thought he was really sharp throwing the ball. I thought that his drives were really effective. He took care of the football. I thought that he really progressed every day this spring and I really appreciate that about him. Joel has great ability and I think you saw some of that with the way he threw the football down the field and threw it on the run. Obviously we didn’t run him very much in terms of the run game but I thought he really managed today well. 

Q: Is he where you want him to be at this point?

MC:I think he is. I don’t know if we as a team are but I would say that I’ll leave here today feeling confident about that position and certainly confident about Joel Lanning. 

Q: Where do you want him to progress the most this summer? 

MC:I think leadership. Once you leave the spring with 15 practices knowing now what systematically to do, now it is who are you going to bring with you? As the quarterback, what receivers and what offensive linemen? What are you going to do when nobody else is watching? That will be the signature moment for Joel Lanning. He has that opportunity and he has won football games. He had a good spring. 

Q: Did Mike Warren play a snap today?

MC: No just the 40 (vs. a student at halftime). He won the 40 so I would say that he won the day too. There was no reason. Mike got a lot of carries last week in the scrimmage. He played a lot of live football. I know what Mike Warren can do and the reality is that I wanted to see what some of those other guys could do with bulk carries. Mike will be ready and had a really good spring.

Q: Do you head into the summer with Julian Good-Jones being your starting center?

MC:Yeah I think Julian has really solidified the interior of our offensive line. I think we will evaluate all practices but he has really gotten better. We will see where we are at come fall camp. I think that’s the great thing is that nobody has really earned anything yet. You carry that competition into camp and then let’s see where we are at. 

Q: He told us that he had never even snapped a ball before. What did you see out of him at center?

MC:If you look at our history even back to when I was the offensive line coach at Bowling Green, the last five centers that we have coached are all playing in the National Football League. They are guys who have the ability to physically be imposing inside but also pull and do some things. I felt like Julian was really good during winter workouts and he can play probably anywhere across the offensive line.

Q: What did you like from the defense today?

MC:We ran to the ball. I thought our kids played hard on the defensive side. We weren’t packaging anything. We were just playing a base defense. When you split the teams up like we did, it’s a big group. I thought they played hard and ran to the football and our defensive front was able to do some good things at times. It was interesting. Our two defense is ahead of our two offense obviously. If you look at it, those two are kind of competing against each other. There are a lot of guys on that two defense who have started football games here. It’s going to be interesting to see who comes out with the 11 starting positions as we go into the season.

Q: The linebacker position concerned you throughout the spring. What did you see out of them today?

MC: I feel like that group has improved. I think we can sit down and evaluate that group now as well as all 15 practices. I thought Willie Harvey played really well today which was good to see. Jordan Harris made some plays today as we are playing him at different spots, at SAM and at MIKE. I think the evaluation piece is that those guys have gotten better.

Q: What about the offensive line? 

MC:The offensive line is a work in progress. They are going to have to have a great, great, great offseason here in the next three months. They need to get bigger and stronger and learn how to play. But I saw progress there. Scoggins, again, you talk about 15 really good practices. I feel like he is really heading in the right direction. Nick Fett continues to improve greatly. It will be great to get Campos back. I think Philbert had a good spring. We have pieces. Playing offensive line, nobody in the world wants to play offensive line. We all grew up catching it, tackling it and scoring touchdowns. It takes a mentally tough and physically tough guy to do it every day. I can see the beginning phases of that but we will see what the next three months bring. 

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