AMES — Iowa State’s fall camp is officially in the rearview mirror as festivities came to a conclusion on Saturday night with a closed scrimmage.
Up next is a section of the calendar that is often awkward for programs – the final non-game week before the season.
How will Iowa State spend the next five days or so before official game week preparation begins?
Think bowl prep with extra time being spent on Northern Iowa…
“Take that prep week and be a little advanced for UNI,” head coach Matt Campbell said. “It will probably be a little bit more individual in how we practice that way but I think we can get a great jump.”
Of course, the Panthers rolled into Jack Trice Stadium for the 2016 opener and ruined Matt Campbell’s first game as head coach walking away with a 25-20 win. UNI out-rushed Iowa State 252 to 51 in that contest before finishing 2016 with a disappointing 5-6 record.
Iowa State has lost three of its last four openers – all to FCS teams – with two coming to this very UNI program.
So yeah, Iowa State could use the extra prep time for the Panthers.
“Coach Farley has been there for a long time,” Campbell said. “Their formula for success doesn’t vary. They are going to run the football. They are going to play really good with their front-seven on the defensive side of the ball and try to keep things in front of them. I think it is a great reminder of just what they do when they are playing at their top. They played a really good football game that day (last year’s opener). They executed what you would say UNI football at its best was.”
The Panthers are ranked 13th in the preseason FCS poll.
*** What is Campbell’s biggest fear about this team right now?
“It’s the unknown with some of those groups and guys who have not played Division I Power-Five football. I am proud of what they have done and that they have laid a foundation but the fear of the unknown is the biggest fear that I have right now.”
*** How does Campbell feel about his offensive and defensive lines?
“I feel excited that we have numbers. I would love to sit here and brag and tell you those guys are the greatest guys in the world. That’s coach talk. Now it’s time to prove it. I feel a lot better about where we are at. I feel good about the improvement we have made. But until the lights come on and we put them in situations and there are some young guys – there will be ups and downs.”
*** The offensive line has some questions heading into 2017, but Campbell is especially excited about this group’s future.
“That group is really special. Those guys are going to be really fun to watch the growth and watching them come together.”