Matt Campbell analyzes his offensive line heading into the season

Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones offensive lineman Trevor Downing is interviewed during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas — It feels like the offensive line is always a big talker at the conference media days in July. This year was no different. 

You guessed it. Matt Campbell, a football geek whose eyes get glassy when he talks about the big boys up front, is bullish on Iowa State’s group heading into the 2022 season. 

I spoke with him at length about this on Thursday morning at AT&T Stadium. 

“You know, I think the first name that I would give you is Tyler Miller,” Campbell said. “Tyler Miller a year ago was a redshirt freshman. We thought early last fall camp that this guy was going to have an opportunity to be a big-time player in our football program. Then we kind of got into a rhythm of what that offensive line was by the midseason point. When Jarrod Hufford went out to left tackle and played and then when we got the opportunity to get Tyler prepped, ready for the bowl game and then watch him play in that game. Boy, you’re really impressed with what you saw.”

Iowa State dealt with multiple offensive line injuries in 2021, specifically at the tackle positions. Getting a healthy Jake Remsberg back, who missed last season, is a major boost. 

“I was very optimistic about that group going into the season,” Campbell. “And I still really proud of how those guys scrapped and played as the season went. But the tackle spot, to have two starting tackles, really, by the first game or the end of the first game, be really limited to not be able to play, that was tough. And then you had to find some answers. You know, you’d lost Sean Foster for the season pretty much. Yeah, obviously you lose Jake for the season. And those were tough pills to swallow.”

Campbell says that Iowa State essentially played five guards on the field at once last year. 

“Derek Schweiger moves from the inside to the outside really played his tail off for us was a, you know, an all-conference player and pretty tough, but not your typical tackle. Jarrod Hufford, who we thought was really one of the most talented offensive linemen, we coached just to get them on the field, we put him at left tackle, and, you know, his run blocking and some of the things he did was fantastic throughout the season, but again, not a true tackle. But we felt like those guys gave us the best opportunity to be successful and really did do some great things in the run game for us.”

Again, Campbell brought up Tyler Miller. I remember last summer when the sophomore out of Greene County High School, was projected to start. 

“You get a guy like Tyler Miller, who we think is super talented at the tackle position then you bring in a guy like James Neal, who we’re excited about. Grant Treiber is probably one of the guys that I would say made the greatest growth in our football program in the course of the last nine months.” 

“Now you not only have competition, you have depth at the tackle spot,” Campbell said. “So you know, it’s kind of how our sport works is you know, sometimes you’re gonna have some injuries and you know, you’re gonna have to fill it in a unique way and that we had to do that a little bit at the offensive tackle position a year ago.”

Chris Williams’ projected offensive line two-deep for fall camp

LT: Tyler Miller (So.), James Neal (So.)
LG: Jarrod Hufford (Jr.), Brady Petersen (So.)
C: Trevor Downing (Sr.), Dodge Sauser (Fr.)
RG: Darrell Simmons (Jr.), Zach Ross (Sr.)
RT: Jake Remsburg (Jr.), Grant Treiber (Jr.)