Quick Hits: Campbell on Singleton, McElvain, Noland and more

Oct 31, 2020; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell watches play from the sidelines during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The following are a series of quick-hitting quotes from Matt Campbell’s weekly press conference on Monday ahead of the Cyclones’ season opener against Northern Iowa.

On JR Singleton’s rise to the top of the depth chart

“He really flashed at times last fall for us. I was really impressed with his, I think, veteran approach at such a young age. I think that’s one thing I’ve seen from young talented players that have put themselves in the opportunity to play early in our program is there’s a great sense of maturity and how they go about their work and JR brings that. Man, he’s the same guy every day. He’s been on a relentless pursuit to become the best version of himself that he can be. You know what you’re gonna get from JR Singleton every single day and I think that alone then you add in his talent, you know, I think he’s got elite athleticism for a big guy. He’s certainly got all the tools to be able to run sideline to sideline. And so I think from his standpoint, it’s the consistency of that approach that he’s been able to display so far, that’s really allowed him to put himself in a great position to help our team be successful.”

On UNI quarterback Will McElvain

“I’m a huge Will McElvain fan, just because I love guys that are competitive excellence. When I watch Will play, he’s an elite competitor. I really go back to the 2019 season and you watch the run that they make through the playoffs, right, and I think it’s almost the national semifinal game where he’s leading that football team and plays break down, tough situations come, you go to that playoff game at South Dakota State and it’s an incredible football game. He makes two critical plays at the end of that football game that continue them in the tournament and continue playing. I think, to me, what he brings to the table is he’s an elite competitor on every play. You watch how he approaches every play and he’s playing every play to win every single play and to me that’s impressive.”

On finding a kick returner

“We’ve talked about guys like Breece (Hall) who have been back there and been able to do some different things for us. Xavier (Hutchinson) has been back there, Jalen Noel’s been back there. There’s a lot of guys back there that we feel really confident with the ball in their hand. I think that’s kind of an until you get into the season and see what it is and kind of see where we’re at. I think that’s kind of a revolving door right now until we can really get some live looks at exactly what that looks like for us. But I think we feel really confident with the guys and the names that can be back there for us.”

On former Cyclone QB Zeb Noland being named the starter at South Carolina

“I’m excited for Zeb. He had texted me when he was going to go to South Carolina as a graduate assistant. I met Coach Beamer right before the Big 12 championship game last year as he got named the head coach I think right before our game. Man, what a neat guy and felt like he’s gonna do a great job. For Zeb to be able to get his first experience going there as a coach, I thought would be really good for Zeb to start his career. I think circling back to what allows him to be successful. I think Zeb coming from a coaching family, man, he’s already done that one time. Went to a great program around great quarterbacks, around a great football team, his ability to adapt… I think it makes sense that this opportunity came his way and he was able to capitalize on it. So I’m excited for him. I’m a big Zeb Noland fan from recruiting Zeb at the University of Toledo to recruiting him here, his family, what he’s about what he stands for, Zeb’s a great kid and great for him. Hopefully, he can do a great job for those guys.”

On the importance of Iowa State playing UNI

“Just being in this state now for five, six years, I think you understand the players in the state, especially at the (four) schools that play Division I football, gosh, it means something. They’re highly competitive games. You want to play games where, man, it means something and there’s something on the line, especially, for us, jeez, you play a conference where every game, you got to have it on the line. I think when you have such a rivalry that comes with these in-state games, it forces you (to have) that zoom focus that you actually get in conference play, and it makes you be your best from the beginning of the season on because you know you’re going to get the best shot and no matter what in-state team, you’re going to play, everybody wants to win that game, because there’s so much on the line. So to me, I do think, number one, it makes it unique. Number two, I think it makes it really special, especially when you play a program that has had elite success. It forces you to play your A-game right away. I’ve said that in this conference if you play your B or C game here, you’re going to get beat. If you play your B or C game in these rivalry games, you’re going to get yourself beat.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.