Matt Campbell provides COVID-19 related updates, talked about social issue discussions

Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell and Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly speak to the media ahead of their matchup in the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28.

Sam Stuve

Iowa State football players have been on campus for voluntary workouts since June 15 and have been tested for COVID-19 on arrival to campus.

According to head coach Matt Campbell, only 3 out of the 105 players tested had a positive test result.

All three of them are now healthy and back to working out with the team.

Campbell talked to the media on Thursday about the team’s current efforts to avoid contracting COVID-19, as well as the team’s discussions about current social issues.

Campbell’s message to the team on how they can do what they can to avoid contracting COVID-19 was simple.

“Wearing a face mask is really important, washing hands, avoiding social scene with people you don’t really know,” Campbell said.

He also that because they have been working out on campus, they needed to create a “bubble.” He said that the team has “created a good bubble,” and there has been a lot of “loyalty to the bubble.”

According to Campbell, the most important thing the team has had to do in recent weeks is “make sure there’s testing and make sure our players are healthy.”

For junior quarterback Brock Purdy, the thing that he and the upperclassmen have been preaching to the team is unselfishness.

“If a younger guy gets COVID-19 from someone on campus and they come back after getting it, that’s just a selfish move,” Purdy said. “Right now, we are preaching unselfishness.

Purdy says the message has been received well by the team and that he feels “comfortable” on campus right now.

“Coach Campbell has done a great job with procedures in terms of workouts, sanitizing and screenings,” Purdy said.

Campbell also said “[The players] have done a great job away from campus in the past three months.”

The first official practice for Iowa State is on Monday.

COVID-19 caused the football team to cancel spring practices.

So Campbell, along with the strength and conditioning staff led by Dave Andrews, began talking virtually with the team.

Campbell says that he and his staff talked “Monday through Friday” every week, which he said helped in the players return to campus.

In regards to the potential of the football season being canceled or postponed to the spring, Campbell said he’d heard nothing about that because he and the team are focused on “what they can do right now.”

During Monday’s teleconference, Campbell discussed the conversations that the team has had about social issues after the death of George Floyd.

He said he is going to keep their discussions internal, that Iowa State has been a place where player’s and their feelings come first.

Campbell said conversation about what is going on in the world is critical. 

“A lot of conversations have gone a lot of different places, conversation is critical, positive conversations have been critical [for us],” Campbell said.

He said having these conversations are very important nowadays.

“It’s a powerful time and we have to be educated and have conversations on this with our players,” Campbell said. “We have so many different young players from so many different backgrounds that have to unify if you want to have a successful program. To now see our sport and young men from all across the country begin to stand, to be educated and to have the opportunity to speak their feelings I think is a huge positive.”

Previously, Matt Campbell was in attendance, along with many players at a peaceful protest on June 2.

The protest was organized by Ames resident Shanita Southward, who is the daughter of Iowa State assistant/defensive line coach Eli Rasheed.

Campbell described his experience at the protest during Monday’s teleconference.

“It had peace, unity and a good message,” Campbell said. “It was an honor to be at. It was a great opportunity to unify and grow.”

He added that he is seeing a lot of people grow as leaders on and off the field.

Campbell said that his job as head football coach at Iowa State is not just about football.

“We’ve had powerful conversations in our program before this time and for me, this job has never just been about football,” Campbell said. 

He said it‘s also important to have these conversations in the locker room because “these are 18 to 22 or 23 year old men that are about to leave our program, go out in the world and their about to be great leaders, fathers, husbands and community servants,” and that in his job, “coaching is teaching.”

Iowa State is set to kick off the 2020 season on Sept. 5 in Jack Trice Stadium versus the South Dakota Coyotes.