Everything Matt Campbell had to say during his media day press conference

Matt Campbell’s opening statement:

“(It’s) great to see you guys appreciate you guys coming obviously like every school in America, we’re excited to get ready for football season. So questions you got, we’ll certainly start with whoever, and wherever.”

Matt Campbell on what’s different this season:
“Yeah, I think for us, as always, you know, the cultural aspect of who we are. And what we’re continuing to do, I don’t think has has changed much at all, to be quite honest with you, I think we’ve really doubled down since January on man, our culture, the strength of our culture, and how it impacts who we are and how we continue to grow together. Obviously, the landscape of college athletics continues to change. And yet, you know, I think it’s constantly asking you and your program, how you’re defining yourself. And so I think from that standpoint, we have continued to really, men double down on the foundational pieces that have built, I would stayed football, certainly over the last six to seven years. And then, you know, I think as we continue to grow and adapt, you know, every year is definitely a different, you know, young, younger team. So, you know, how do you prepare that team from the January, February, March period to obviously the spring practice period, the summer period, and now going into fall camp, all those segments that prepare you for the football season. So, you know, I think we’ve spent the last couple of weeks just making sure trying to prepare ourselves to have the best camp to give this team the best opportunity to have the most success going into the season. What I would tell you, and I said this three weeks ago, you know, I have been very impressed with this group’s momentum that they’ve been able to create in each segment. And I do think those are traits that the teams that we’ve had that have been successful, have been able to create those momentum, opportunities to finish each of those blocks going into the next block. And this will be a great challenge for us, obviously, as we get into full camp.”

Campbell on how Xavier Hutchinson has developed:
“Yeah, probably a really good question. I don’t know if if Xavier was ever a guy that maybe surprised me in terms of what he brought to our program.
You know, I think that relationship with Xavier was very personal for me and him in the process. So I think I had a really good understanding of what we were getting and Xavier Hutchison, when he came here, I probably would say what I’m most grateful for is his approach to how he’s gone about his business in terms of his own process, right. And, obviously, you know, we talk a lot about man, perfecting yourself becoming the best version of yourself. And part of that is having a process to do that day in and day out. And Xavier is fantastic at that. You know, how he practices how he is in the weight room? What is the approach to, you know, becoming his best. That’s been really fun to watch. And I think one of the benefits that we’ve reaped as a team is when some of your best, most productive players have that kind of ability, then, you know, it spreads like wildfire through your program, because I think all the young players in the program, they want to be like the guys that are having success on the field. And he certainly laid great groundwork for our program to because of how he’s going about his business. And, you know, I think even as we go into the season, you know, X is a unique player, he can do a lot of different things. And I think the best thing that acts is is man getting the football in his hands. He is a dynamic playmaker. So, you know, I think you’ve seen us be able to do that a multitude of different ways man down the field, screen game, all those kinds of things. X is a guy can kind of do it all. So I think that’ll continue to be that kind of football player. And he’s shown the ability to certainly do that over the course of the last two years.”

Campbell on Hunter Dekkers taking the starting role
“Yeah, you know, I think Hunter probably the thing that I’m most impressed with is certainly the opportunities that he’s already had over the course of the last two years. In football game experience. You know, it’s not so much hypothetical. He’s actually been on the field and had the opportunity to play the game of football in command the offense and I think those experiences whether they were positive or you know, some of them, you know, maybe not as positive but great learning opportunities. Those are always positive for me as the coach, you know, and you know, even a young team, I’ll probably say a million times (answering), ‘Coach, what kind of team you think you have,’ or what we don’t know – you’re not going to know until we get into the season, and we have to play in front of 70,000 people, and we have to go execute our assignment and do our job. Well. You know, for us, I think there’s a lot of us that are excited, because you’ve seen 100 do that. And he’s done it in tough environments. I mean, you know, to be able to do it even last year and Norman and have to go into the game, you know, and really do some tough things and then have the ability to rebound and do some really positive things. That’s big, because that is what playing quarterback is, you know, Hunter is very talented. You know, he’s certainly got a lead arm strength. He’s got great athletic ability. But the quarterback is way more than that. It’s it’s the whole picture. And it’s the whole puzzle. And, you know, that’s what’s going to be really fun to see, even as we get through fall camp, how much have you grown in the offense, how much you’re ready to continue to evolve and, and grow and fundamentally and physically and mentally, really be ready to capture what it takes to play the quarterback position at this level, let alone obviously, in our offensive system. So I think a lot of real positives, and obviously, he’ll have to continue to earn the right to be confident and ready to take the reins and be productive and be a great quarterback. But there’s a lot of tools there that I think have everybody in our program, our players and coaches very competent, and Hunter, you’re talking about earning that right there. And that’s kind of leads into my question. Hunters had all since what February, January into January, whatever it is, knowing that he’s going to be the number one. And with the teammates, knowing he’s going to be number one. And so working is number one. Brock didn’t have that opportunity.”

Campbell on Dekkers being able to go into the year knowing he’s the starter:
Well, I think the great thing that both Hunter and Brock did, and have done is they they have earned because of what they did in practice, how they practice, how they went about their business, I think they earned that trust in competence from everybody else within the team. And part of the quarterback is you got to earn the trust of your teammates, you got to earn the trust of the coaching staff, you got to earn the trust in the locker room. And you know, I think both situations and really you go back to even Kyle Kim, you know, those guys have earned the right to be trusted by everybody. And, you know, so I think one of the great things that Hunter valued, is valued is he got to see Brock Burton, he got to sit there and watch Brock’s man go through good and bad and tough and understand how do I apply the lessons that are being learned and being taught? And how do I apply that to my own opportunity when my opportunity comes my way. And, you know, I think those were valuable even when Hunter got into the game. And you you’ve seen him play for us last year. And certainly I think how we went about the offseason, how he studied and how he prepared in January, February, for spring practice, I think really how he how he produced in spring practice and the kind of spring practice he had. And equally how he led the summer. I think those are all really positive traits. And, you know, again, a lot of credit to Brock of being able to be that kind of servant leader during his time here to be able to give back and certainly help lead others for when their opportunity came to be ready to go.

Campbell on if there will be more passes down the field this year:
“Yeah, you know, I think those are all things that obviously we’re always going to play to the strength of our players. Right. And, you know, you still, I think the Mirage is the number one passing offense in the big 12. Last year was I was state. So you know, I think we create narratives sometimes that are maybe not always accurate. And at the end of the day, we’re always trying to put our players in the best position to be successful, whether it’s at the quarterback position, whether it’s at the skill players position, and that’s the one thing I think that’s exciting for all of us. You know, man, you’re going into fall camp. What kind of team do you have? What kind of team man what are some of these other resources and people and then our job is how do you then put those pieces in in position that when the game’s on the line, and it’s time to call plays and it’s time to execute? How do you put in the best position for the team to win the game? Not so much about the statistics or those things? It’s how do you try to go win the game? And obviously I think our staff and our guys have done a phenomenal job of that.”

Campbell on the conversations with Will McDonald over the off-season:
“Man that was a probably a little bit of a tricky one just because, you know, we’ll again there it probably could have went either way. And that’s what when I say tricky is, man, you know, I think he had a real option and a real opportunity that. He had gotten great feedback, I think at the end of it, I would say two things probably really important for Will, number one is finishing his degree, when we’ll have one class left, we’ll be the first young man in his family to get his college degree. I think that means a whole lot to well, McDonald, you know, in a day and age where, you know, we’ve maybe lost sight of some of those things, I think, when you talk to will, you know, Will is very thoughtful and understanding of how important that is. And then I think the other piece of it, you know, just really consistently getting himself to be one of the best defensive lineman in the country. And, you know, he felt like there was still room for growth and opportunity to grow in some of those areas. So, man, I would tell you, we’re really proud of will, you know, Will, has done a great job in the classroom has put himself in a great spot to be will graduate here at the end of spring or the fall semester. And, you know, physically he looks as good as he’s looked since he’s been here. And so I think we’re really proud of those two areas. I think what he set to accomplish, he really got out of, you know, at least what he was trying to get himself ready for, for this season.

“I think there’s been a lot that he’s seen. And I think there’s a lot of even it’s given us time of, again, I go back to, you know, even Randy’s last question of, you know, for us even how do we continue to evolve to help him, you know, be in the best position to be successful again, you know, and you’ve heard me all say this millions of times, but the players for patient play piece of it, man, we’re not naive, you have to put those guys in the best position situation to impact the game. And, you know, I think, you know, trying to always continue to find unique ways to help him impact the game is really positive, even from our standpoint as well.”

Campbell on replacing Breece Hall and the running back room:
“Yeah, yeah. Well, I think the first thing is, you know, you, you look at that position group as a whole. And I, I have said this, and this is not a slight, because we’ve had great players so far in our program at that position. And I think from top to bottom right now, you would say, at least coming out of the spring as a coaching staff, we felt and maybe we’re as healthy and as competitive as we’ve ever been right now at the running back position. And so, you know, when, when that when that looks like that, it now comes to well, it’s it is practice, and then obviously what you do in the game, and you know, so I think there’s a great competition, and that will really kind of evolve throughout the entirety of fall camp, you hope that it reveals itself, but at the end of the day, you know, even very similar to what you talked about a couple years ago, you know, there wasn’t a clear cut favorite by the time we left fall camp. And, you know, you were trying to kind of find what was the right mix for this team as through the early part of the season. So we’ll take as long as it takes to either, you know, is it is it by committee is there somebody that kind of steps out in the forefront? I think no matter what it is, we feel very confident that whatever it is, it’s got the tools to be be pretty special, it has the tools to be up to the standard that that running back room has lived to over the course of the last couple of years.

Campbell on the cornerback group:
“Yeah, you know, I just, it’s the healthiest group, Jared, that I would say that we’ve been, you know, the corner position and we know in today’s world of football, the more you can cover and have the ability to you know, do different things with your coverages and and a lot of that lends to who is covering then I think the more unique and different and multiple you can be in terms of your secondary and what you do on the defensive side of the football. And you know, for us, there’s a lot of guys that have played a lot of football there that group. Those guys are all what I would say hitting probably at the right time in their career, man their growth and who they are and what they become. And you know, we talk about Darien Porter, I can’t say enough glowing things about who he is what he’s done where he’s at. You know, he’s a guy that has been a special teams guru for us. The play
He said he has made for our football team on special teams have been monumental. For our conversation it was how do we get this guy on the field more? How can he help us even more? He’s as trusted as you’re gonna find in our program. And then he really took it and ran with it this offseason, you know what he did in terms of the secondary, I think shocked all of us, you know, and hopefully he can replicate that and continue to earn confidence through the fall. So so he can be that guy. When games come around for us as well. You know, TJ Tampa has, man, he’s had great moments for us. I think finding consistency for TJ, we see great talent and he showcase great talent. But for him young player that has been trying to find that consistency that great players have the ability to have but you know, again, I think he’s growing up and you saw some of that consistency come obviously this this spring, you know, miles purchase, you know what he did the last six games as a true freshman on last year’s team that probably were shocked that some true freshmen were even playing last year and Miles was a guy that kind of forged his way to the front. competitive excellence. Man hasn’t been consistent from day one, and has really earned the right to get on the field and be a guy there. And then, you know, probably one of my favorite guys to talk about is Tavon. Kyle, you know, Tavon is senior in our program now has played a lot of football, kind of himself has rode the wave of inconsistencies. And you’re talking literally the best 11 months of his career that I’ve seen from Tavon. He’s got an elite skill. He’s got elite talent. And a guy that has really risen as not only a great senior leader right now in our program, but a guy that man has just really done all the little things, right. So proud of those four guys, we think they’re all in a really healthy spot, going into the fall camp, again, will be a great battle, the more of those guys that we feel coming out of fall camp that can play for us and that are ready to play for us to meet the better team that we’ve got the ability to be.”

Campbell on things he looks for in a game 1 starter:
“Yeah, great question. We’re gonna get deeply into that tonight in my final meeting. So we try to kind of leave everything you know, understood for everybody of what what they’re getting evaluated on. But I would tell you, the very first item that we evaluate a player on is Do we trust you? And you know, to me, that trust factor, there’s a lot of ways you can go with that. Obviously, that trust factor, it goes into, you know, physically do we trust you mentally do you trust? Yeah, psychologically? Do we trust you? How do we carry How do you carry yourself on and off the field, like that stuff still matters. So I would say trust, number one, number two, the ability to do your job. You know, that’s the one great thing about our sport, it’s not singular, it’s team, it’s the greatest team sport still alive. And the fact of the matter of it is, is you have to do your 1/11, whether it’s on offense, defense, or special teams, and if you don’t do your job, you’re probably going to get our team beat. And then I think, you know, from there, things like the ability to make a play within the system, the ability to be healthy and available. Those are some factors as you go. But I’d say one, and two is the ability to be trusted, and number two, to be able to do your job and show the ability to do your job with great consistency. We’ve been better. And we’ve been at our best when we have the 11 guys that are representing our team on the field, the ability to consistently do their job. That’s when we played great football here. So that’s really, I would say the starting point for us. So great question.”

Campbell on Tyler Miller:
“Yeah, you know, I think Tyler, the biggest thing that Tyler has done is he is you know, he he’s grown and matured a great deal on and off the football field. You know, Tyler came in with just tremendous raw ability. You know, I remember going to watch him play basketball as a junior watching him play football his senior year. And you just were so enamored with this young man that was long, tall, athletic, and could really just run and, you know, for at that position group, I’ve talked a lot about it. And it there’s no quick fix to be a great offensive lineman. It takes time. And Tyler, I would say even for some of the linemen that we’ve had his expedited the process because of his natural God given ability. He’s certainly extremely talented. And you know, I think for him, really the middle of last year, his redshirt freshman year, you’re really saw him start to take off. You know, I think, you know, we were at a kind of a crossroads, we ended up moving Jared Hufford with some injuries to Shawn foster last year. He moved to the left tackle position. You know, at that time, it was what was best for our team. And Jared did a great job out there. You know, I think it’ll serve him well going into this fall. But, you know, when we got to time for things to slow down again, at the bowl prep, you know, we really felt, you know, man, Tyler had come so far so fast that he had earned the right to start in that bowl game. And I think that experience played really well in the bowl game. And I think he took that, that opportunity to be confident into this offseason. And man really had a great offseason, I think big strong physical, a guy that gives us you know, back to having true Offensive Tackles back on the football field for us, which is exciting. And a guy that we think has got a great future to be a mainstay there on the left side of our offensive line for a long while.”

Campbell on if Tyler Miller can make it to the NFL:
Oh, you know, I think we when you look in the National Football League, you know, some of those raw traits of size, speed athleticism, the way this sports being played. Now, I think you would say yes. Does he still have a long way to go to live up to that potential? I would say yes. But, you know, Tyler, I think has a great understanding of what his ceiling looks like and what his potential looks like. And I think for all those him myself, his family, we’re all really excited about his future.”

Campbell on the kicking position
As we all know, Andrew Mevis so important for your team last year, in a number of ways. Is Jace Gilbert. That guy this year. Yeah, I think Randy for us, you know, that’s, that’s another great really competitive area for us going into this offseason, or going into the offseason, obviously, going into camp. You know, there’s a young man named Keegan Shackford. Keegan was on our team a year ago. Boy was was incredibly impressive in terms of last season, you know, I probably if there was an injury at all, to Andrew, from both a kickoff standpoint, and a leg power standpoint, Keegan was would have been probably the next guy in a year ago. And so I think really beneficial for him to have Andrew Davis and to be able to work with Andrew a year ago. Then you talk about Drake metals, who man Drake, you talk about two years ago was kind of kind of solve the mystery for us a little bit in the kickoff situation was able to do some unique things. Man is almost a professional in terms of how he goes about his business. And then you bring in a really talented guy like James Gilbert. And so for us, we’ve known and certainly have put the stock into how critical those specialists are for the success of your football team. And, you know, I think, again, we feel that that rooms as healthy and as competitive as ever, and I think that’s going to be a great battle. As we get into fall camp. We’re really excited about all three of those guys, we think all three of those guys have great potential. And it’s going to be fun to see where that challenge in that race goes.

More on the kicking spot:
“Yeah. Now 62 yarder for no matter who it is, would be a great challenge. But But I would just say, you know, in terms of leg strength, both, you know, all three of those guys have leg strength, you know, all those guys got the ability to, you know, have distance to what they want to do and kicking the ball. And as you and I know, man, leg strength is one thing, it’s like having arm strength. It’s all about consistency. It’s all about the ability to perform. It’s all about the ability to replicate, you know your process so you can perform with great consistency. And that’s what we would be looking for from that position group.”

Campbell on competition in the running back room:
“And I would only hope that I think almost every position group has been that way during our time here, you know. And I think for us, what we always try to tell our kids is we are going to play the best players that earn the right of those qualities of man, we trust them. And they do their job with great consistency within the scheme. Because we owe the team, the ability to play the right players and the players that have earned the right to get on the field. And then we’ve also owe the team when we need to make an adjustment to step up and make that adjustment when it’s time to make those adjustments. So, you know, I think our kids have a great respect of that. I think our veteran kids can echo that. We’ve got players that are now back here in our program coaching that can echo that. And it’s not just lip service. It’s not just getting up on the first night of camp and saying, Hey, this is we can give real life examples. So I do think that is positive. And that is one nice thing about being having consistency to your program that that kids certainly understand what the standard is and what we’re looking for. So I think that’s a really great question.”

Campbell on how O’Rien Vance is doing:
“O’Rien Vance is certainly one of the most experienced guys on your team got four letters already. He’s been a round a while. I know he battled some injuries last year as he looks like he’s back to 100%. Looking good this season? Well, I think again, we’ll we’ll certainly find that out as we get into the heat of this. But man, you talk about a guy that steps into that locker room. And when he speaks, everybody listens. It’s that guy. O’Rien Vance’s is the epitome in terms of great leaders that we’ve had in this program. He fits it. And you know, for him, it’s humble. For him. It’s not about him. I think if you asked O’Rien, he didn’t just come back here for O’Rien Vance, he came back here to leave it better. And he found that. And you know, when you have guys like that, you’re really appreciative. Because again, I don’t know if we’re always in a time where it’s about the team, sometimes it can be about your own journey. And O’Rien, it’s never been about that. It’s been about the team. So I think he’s worked really hard to be the healthiest he’s been over the course of the last couple of years. I think that’s really great for us, as we get into the startup camp, a healthy O’Rien Vance is really big for Iowa, State football, in my opinion, we’ll get a lot of headlines, for obvious reasons, but you have a pretty important guy to replace on that opposite side with any as well.”

Campbell on the defensive line:
“Yeah, I think that’s a great question. You know, I think really, in terms of of that group, you know, we are excited about obviously what that that group looks like in the depth of that group looks like again prove it is is you know, what, I’m excited to see who’s ready to give us videotape evidence that they’re ready to be that player for us. You know, when when I look at that position, obviously Jr. Singleton’s a guy that that’s a flex player in has played really good football for a strong, physical powerful football player, kind of like anything go in and play at the nose position can go outside, out and play in the boundary and position. MJ Anderson, you know, MJ’s come in a guy that’s played football, just not in our system yet. And a guy that I think has had a great summer came off a little bit of injury from from where he was in Minnesota to where he is now with us, but healthy and really had a phenomenal summer has got some of those very cynical, similar physical traits, in terms of what he brings in Tyler only 18, same kind of guy, flex guy, elite length, elite physicality, a guy that can go inside the nose also can play at the boundary end position. And then you talk about Blake Peterson and Joey Peterson. You know, I think both of those guys, Joey Peterson played as a true freshman last year, kind of like his brother, in some ways, a little bit looser, got a little bit more speed. And a guy that can probably flex in play both the field and the boundary. And then you know, I think Blake Peterson’s a guy to me that, again, has had a finally a junior in our program has had that same push really was a great special teams player for us last year made some plays on the defensive line. But now a guy that I think is ready to step into that competition, man, are you going to be in our 2d? Are you going to be a starter where you’re going with this thing? Had a really solid spring had a had a really great summer. So I think a lot of names a lot of guys. Now we’re not even talking about the young guys that just got here. So I think that’s as heated a battle just globally in the 2d but that defensive line position said a lot of guys that can flex back and forth, right? There’s that’s something you guys have been looking for people who can have that skill set they can play on the outside? Yeah, I think that’s big for us. You know, and I think what any gave us you know, is that ability to be that flex guy at times, was big, you know, you we use that in matchup situations at times, you know, when you want a guy with a little bit more length when you want a guy with a little bit more speed, obviously, it’s great to have kind of Isaiah in will is those two kingpins back there of guys that have played high end success on that defensive line? And then kind of man, what’s the rest of this group look like? Where do they fit? And how do we plug and play those guys? And certainly, what have they earned the right to do this fall force? Center is a position that people overlook until you don’t have one.

Campbell on what he looks for in a successful center:
“You know, it’s not what we used to say when our best player on the offensive line would always play center. And you know, I think well, if you look at our Toledo days, you know you talk about Greg Manson sacked Karen, two guys from and Greg’s on his 10th year in the National Football League SEC played for eight. And you know that that spot was so critical to the success of your team. And I think we really have now kind of morphed back into that philosophical idea of how critical that is. You know, I think for me, obviously you do have to be highly intelligent. You know, there’s a lot on that guy’s plate, recognizing what’s in front of you.”