Football

TRANSCRIPT: Campbell speaks at Big 12 Media Days

The following is a transcript from the Big 12 Conference.

MATT CAMPBELL: First and foremost, just really extremely grateful to be here and the opportunity to represent Iowa State University, obviously our athletic department and certainly our football program. For me, it is, it’s an honor to be going into our seventh season here at Iowa State. We’ve got a really special senior class, 18 seniors here at Iowa State, and really what I would say is this group has been actually a true joy to be able to work with and watch them really lead our football team through the off-season.

I brought four of our great seniors with us today. The two offensive players are Xavier Hutchinson, our outstanding All-Conference receiver from a year ago, three-year starter now in our football program, and then Trevor Downing. Trevor Downing, again, a First Team All-Conference player, a three-year starter for us, as well. Trevor will be shifting from the guard position to the center position for us this fall. 

Then on the defensive side, we’ve got O’Rien Vance. O’Rien is in his sixth year in our program. O’Rien has been a four-year starter at the Mike linebacker position for us, has just been a pillar of success in leadership for our football team. Really proud of what he stands for. And then Anthony Johnson. Anthony will be a fifth-year senior and a four-year starter All-Conference player for us as well. Anthony playing a little bit of corner and safety for our football program. 

We’re really proud of those guys. We talk a lot in our program about momentum. This group has done a great job throughout the off-season creating great momentum for themselves moving forward, and obviously great challenges and opportunities ahead. 

With that said, I’ll certainly open it up to you guys for questions.

Q. Iowa State has managed to maintain a rivalry with Iowa even though y’all are in different conferences. As we see conference realignment progressing, we’re starting to see more of those traditional rivalries disappear. How can schools manage to accept the change that realignment presents while also maintaining those traditional rivalries?

MATT CAMPBELL: Man, great question. I wish I had the power to answer that question other than the fact of I would just say for us, in our state, we’re really fortunate. There are no pro sports teams. To have two what are Power Five conferences right now programs playing and to be able to compete against one another, I think it’s really special for our entire state. I know that’s meant a lot to the state of Iowa, certainly means a lot to our alumni bases and our universities. So for us we’re really grateful that that’s continued and certainly has the opportunity to continue moving forward.

Q. You’re the second longest tenured coach in the Big 12 now, and the biggest thing Brett (Yormark) said yesterday was that the conference was open for business. When you look at the Big 12 and you look at the model, when you look at how conference realignment is going and potential expansion, what makes the Big 12 the next conference and the third conference to potentially be in that superconference realignment?

MATT CAMPBELL: Again, for myself and in general, just being here, I can’t even believe that I’m going into my seventh year here at Iowa State. Being in this conference from year one to now going into year seven, the one thing that I do think is really special top to bottom in this conference is consistency. There’s not an easy out on Saturday in the football conference. I think you’ve seen great coaches, great teams really consistently play week in and week out.

I think that has made this conference really special. I think it makes every game that gets played in this conference really special.

To be quite honest with you, it’s the competition and competitiveness I think gives us an opportunity to move itself forward for sure.

Q. You’ve only missed a bowl game one time in your time at Iowa State. Can you just talk about maybe a key factor to your consistency and just the thriving nature of your team that you’ve been able to coach?

MATT CAMPBELL: Oh, yeah. I think for us, we really haven’t deviated too far off of what’s built Iowa State football from year one that we got to Iowa State to where we are today. We said at the beginning that we were going to build our program on trust. I know that’s a very simple word. I think it’s really hard to have and build. Trust in college football has to roll from player to player, player to coach, coach to coach and coach back to player.

I think the loyalty and consistency of our players and our coaches to stay the course on that value system has really given us the ability to work through hard times and work through success equally with the same mentality and the same focus of trying to just become the best version of ourselves that we can be.

Q. There are three new coaches in the Big 12 this year. What are your thoughts on having new faces in the conference?

MATT CAMPBELL: Well, I think you look at the success that all those coaches have had in their past, and I think that — again, it goes back to maybe my comment a little bit earlier, just the consistency that this conference has had, the talent and the ability for anybody to beat anybody any given Saturday.

I think it certainly adds to what this conference has got the ability to be, especially this fall. I think a very consistent, very talented conference from top to bottom.

Q. The popular trend nowadays is kind of entering into that transfer portal to find a new QB when your old one graduates, but you stick with the guy that’s been around in (Hunter) Dekkers. Take me through that decision and what made you confident in him?

MATT CAMPBELL: Well, part of our job is to develop, so that is still a part of the coaching model. I think one thing that we believed is recruit, retain and develop. I think for us, we’ve been really fortunate that you look at our last couple quarterbacks, Kyle Kempt was kind of an unheard of football player that kind of came and patiently sat and waited his opportunity. When his opportunity came, he made the most of it.

Brock Purdy really kind of took over in the same vein a little bit. He got his opportunity, his moment, he took advantage of it, and then really got better with it and really shined for our program.

I think Hunter (Dekkers) is in a very similar situation. Hunter did play some really meaningful snaps a year ago. You got to see him going in in critical situations, have success. We also got to watch him fail a little bit and work through failure, which is part of playing quarterback. I think all those things were hugely positive for Hunter.

Then you got to watch him in his work ethic over the last two years, being around Brock, supporting Brock, taking the knowledge and really coming to practice every day and getting better.

Myself, our program, our players have complete faith in our quarterback room, and especially a guy like Hunter because of how he practiced every day, and when he got the moments to get in the game and perform, he was able to perform at a really high rate.

Q. What makes Iowa State’s offense is great is the usage of 12 and 13, so many tight ends, but the depth chart is filled with redshirt freshmen. Are we going to continue seeing more 12 and 13 and is there a redshirt freshman that kind of sticks out so far?

MATT CAMPBELL: Sure, great question. I think one of the positives for us with the success of so many of those tight ends that we’ve had over the last couple years is we’ve been able to recruit to that model and to that system. We certainly do have an All-Conference tight end coming back in Jared Rus, so that’s one building block that’s great to have to our advantage.

Guys like Easton Dean, DeShawn Hanika are guys that have played a lot of football for us, even though they weren’t the starters. They’re guys that have played meaningful reps and give us an opportunity to have success. A young man named Tyler Moore, another young redshirt freshman in our program that we feel has a chance to be really successful, as well.

I would also tell you that I think our ability at Iowa State to adapt, we’re not — this is just who we are, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go with the model of players, formations, plays; who are your players, what formations do you get into really dictate what plays do you run.

And I think what we’ve tried to do is put our best players in position to help us have success and win the football games. I am excited about that because I think the receiving corps is as deep and talented as maybe we’ve had.

We really like our running back room, and it’s going to be really fun to see through fall camp and the early part of the season, is what is the evolution of this year’s Iowa State offense? What does that look like? What do we become? But to say we have really good pieces, that part I’m really excited about.

Q. Based on your tenure, how unusual is it going to be to not see Gary Patterson on the sidelines and not hear him screaming from the other sideline?

MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, it was tough to go through our Big 12 meetings and not get educated by Coach Patterson. That was tough for a little bit.

But quite honestly, I’m a young guy that’s probably a little bit more of a traditionalist. I have so much respect for coaches that stay and build. One of our jobs as coaches you would hope is to build a program that inspires and empowers young people, and part of that is the ability to kind of stay there and be a part of their lives.

Man, you look at the success Coach Patterson had, you see what he did to lead that TCU program from obviously one conference to another conference, sustained success at a really high rate, have the defenses and the football teams that Coach Patterson had throughout his tenure, it was a great challenge every time you competed.

I certainly had the utmost respect and will greatly miss competing against a great competitor like Coach Patterson for sure.

Q. You built the program last year to the point where you had the high preseason ranking. The season didn’t go as you would have hoped. You’ve lost some headline players. How motivated are you to bounce back from that and sort of get it going back the direction you want?

MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, you know, I’ve said this from the standpoint of the preseason piece of it, I think I said this a year ago, if we would have ever listened to what people said about Iowa State in the preseason hype, we would have never got our program off the ground.

For us, it’s always been really about us. It’s been about this term that I talk a lot about our football team, is greatness is never overcoming others. The ability to find greatness is the ability to overcome yourself. We’ve always kind of just honed in on that model. We’ve really tried to find out where we need to continue to grow, why we’ve either taken steps back or taken steps forward, and how do we continue to push forward as a program, both individually and collectively.

So from our end, I don’t think we need to be motivated by what did or didn’t happen a year ago. I think we’re motivated on how do we continue to find success and push our program and push ourselves forward, and I really think that’s what we’ve rallied around since we’ve been back in January.

Jared Stansbury

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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.

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