Iowa junior defensive end Joe Evans sacks Iowa State senior quarterback Brock Purdy in the third quarter at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Matt Campbell has a simple answer for why he felt comfortable taking Brock Purdy out of Saturday’s 27-17 loss to Iowa — trust.
That’s what it boils down to when Campbell assesses the impact of the decision to insert redshirt freshman Hunter Dekkers into the game during the fourth quarter. Campbell has built relationships with his players that hinge on trust and that fact works both ways in good times and bad.
“Whether that’s Brock or any of our players, I think that all of our kids know that we’re always straining to do everything in the best interest of our kids in our program,” Campbell said during Monday’s Big 12 Teleconference. “Whether it’s an in-game adjustment to give our kids or our team the best opportunity to have success, or it’s offseason decisions or changes we’re making. You’re relying on your trust and your relationships, when you make decisions of any kind, in any game, or certainly culturally within your program. I think Brock and I have a great relationship. And really, he’s got great trust in who we are. Equally, we have great trust in who he is.”
The decision to take Purdy out and insert Dekkers came as the conclusion to one of the least productive performances of Purdy’s historic career at Iowa State. The senior from Perry, Ariz. completed just 13-of-27 passes for 138 yards and three interceptions as Iowa’s defense allowed the Hawkeyes to build a several score lead despite solid play from the Cyclone defense.
It was the second consecutive game Iowa State’s offense has sputtered while the defense shined and figuring out a way to remedy those offensive deficiencies is near the front of Campbell’s mind as the Cyclones prepare to take on UNLV in Las Vegas this weekend.
“The reoccurring theme for us is, you know, I keep using this and I know, it’s not an out, but the reality is our precision and our detail. We’re like a hair off,” Campbell said. “Whether that’s giving credit, which I think we should to the defensive opponents that we played, but I think also more it’s precision and execution that really have kind of limited our ability to either sustain drives with consistency, or it’s really hindered us in terms of the outcome of the game such as last week when the ball got turned over.”
“I think that’s probably the most disappointing piece of things for us. I think it’s getting some of these guys back healthy. Obviously, the practice piece of things is critical to our success, especially when you’re talking about precision and execution in detail. Those are things that have to be ironed out in practice. Those are areas we’ve got to continue to, from my end, make sure we have a great practice plan. And then from an execution standpoint, we’ve got to continue to hammer away at it.”
A quick expansion note…
*** Campbell didn’t have much to say when asked three questions about Big 12 expansion, which was finalized (for now) last week when the league invited BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF into the league. He did note that bringing some clarity to the situation is a welcome development from his perspective.
“Oh, I think clarity no matter what the situation is that you would ever have, where there’s a little bit of gray, I think anytime you can have clarity in anything is huge,” Campbell said. “Exactly where we’re going, exactly what’s happening, what’s the overall piece, I still think probably on a global scale that is still a little bit cloudy, but to at least know that there’s a plan and there’s some clarity to what the future can hold, I think those things are certainly positive for everybody involved.”