Notebook: Campbell talks Broomfield addition, Jirehl Brock, Downing’s health

Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell speaks with media Dec. 31 as Iowa State arrives in Arizona ahead of the 2020 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. 

Sam Stuve

Iowa State football Head Coach Matt Campbell touched on a lot of different topics in a session with the media Tuesday, including his new contract, the changes he expects in spring development and more.

In addition to those topics, Campbell talked about adding Deon Broomfield as safeties coach, the development of running back Jirehl Brock and a health update on junior offensive lineman Trevor Downing.

Campbell praises Coach Broomfield

In February, Iowa State brought a new coach on staff in former Iowa State defensive back Deon Broomfield to replace D.K. McDonald as safeties coach.

Campbell said the addition of Broomfield on the coaching staff gives the program an opportunity to grow.

“I always see an opportunity to bring somebody new in as a huge opportunity for growth and you bring somebody like coach Broomfield back to Iowa State who, you know, chose to come to school here at Iowa State, had a great career here at Iowa State, actually had some of the biggest plays, prior to maybe us getting here in the history of this school,” Campbell said.

Broomfield comes to Iowa State after spending a year as a defensive assistant for the Houston Texans. Iowa State is the fifth stop for Broomfield in his coaching career.

Campbell said adding Broomfield to the staff is a huge win for the program.

“I think you talk about character, culture, a great smile, I think a great energy about himself,” Campbell said in regards to what Broomfield brings to the table. “I think you can tell it’s already had a huge impact and a huge positivity in our hallways, so we’re really excited to have coach Broomfield here.”

After spending the 2014 season and 2015 offseason as a player on the Buffalo Bills practice squad, Broomfield took a job at Carthage College (NCAA Division III) in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as the safeties coach for the 2015 season.

He then coached the cornerbacks at Western Illinois (NCAA Football Championship Subdivision) for the 2016 season and at Indiana State (NCAA FCS) from 2017-2019.

The Palm Bay, Florida, native played as a defensive back for Iowa State from 2009-2013 and played in 50 games (12 on special teams only and 38 on defense) after redshirting his first season.

Broomfield finished his playing career with 125 tackles, 19 pass deflections, four forced fumbles and three interceptions.

Campbell said the perspective Broomfield has is huge for the team.

“I think it’s huge for our players to see somebody that was in their shoes at one point, that had the ability to have success and go on and play into the next level and then also to see somebody that was in their shoes, succeeding in their professional field at the next level,” Campbell said.

Jirehl Brock’s growth

Iowa State will be leaning heavily on First Team All-American and Heisman finalist Breece Hall this season in the backfield, but with Kene Nwangwu and Johnnie Lang gone, it could be time to see another young back step in behind Hall.

Jirehl Brock might be that player.

Brock, a Quincy, Illinois, native, played in 10 games last season as a backup running back and a kick returner.

“I think if you watched us play last year, the last six games, you would say Jirehl Brock was as important as anybody in that running back room,” Campbell said. “I think he played almost an average of 15 to 20 snaps a game; he was a critical blocker on some third-down situations, had some big catches in some big moments for our team.”

Brock was third-string running back in the 2020 season, totaling 46 yards on 13 attempts, playing behind Hall and Nwangwu.

With Nwangwu heading into the 2021 NFL Draft and Lang transferring, Brock may be the front-runner for the backup running back spot, as well as the predominant kick returner.

Trevor Downing injury update

Redshirt junior Trevor Downing only played in the season opener in the 2020 season due to injury, but now it looks like he is back and training in the team’s winter activities and for practices in the spring.

“[Downing is] full go right now in our winter program and so, obviously, that part’s exciting for all of us,” Campbell said.

Campbell said Downing was “teetering back on to almost full strength” around the Fiesta Bowl game Jan. 3, but they didn’t pull the trigger on putting him in.

“It’s been great to have him have a full offseason and really back full go within our winter program,” Campbell said.

Downing has started 13 games in his career at Iowa State, mostly at left guard.

In his sophomore year, Downing was on The Athletic’s Freshman All-American Second Team and was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.