Iowa State takes a deep dive ahead of spring practice


Jacob Rice

Iowa State football head coach Matt Campbell talks with the media during the first day of fall camp Aug. 2.

Payne Blazevich, Sports Reporter

AMES — Iowa State took the field for its first spring practice Thursday, marking the start of the spring ball schedule for the Cyclones. 

Head coach Matt Campbell and his team are looking to resurge after a disappointing 2022 season. The Cyclones were a young team after graduating the program’s most talented group of seniors, and the inexperience generated a great deal of inconsistency. 

During the spring and summer months, Iowa State is working to cut down on the inconsistency and develop another group of playmakers. In the aftermath of a 4-8 season, the Cyclones dove deep to re-evaluate their process. 

“I think everybody is pushed,” Campbell said. “Any time you don’t reach the results that you would want, I think there’s a deep dive into everyone’s accountability to being pushed to be the best.” 

Aside from a select number of veteran pieces, Iowa State was a young team headed into the 2022 season. The team’s youth made for certain high points and flashes of excellence on the field, but it also carried an abundance of inconsistency. 

Iowa State has collectively aged as a team, but it has also sent another crop of contributors to the next level. Players like Will McDonald, Xavier Hutchinson and Anthony Johnson are gone, leaving more open spots to be filled by the young players. 

As some new players begin to step into the starting role, Campbell has been candid about emphasizing consistency with the team’s process, which was lacking last season. 

“When you look at the end result of being inconsistent, we were inconsistent at times with our process, how we do what we do,” Campbell said. 

Along with a crop of new players, Iowa State is also entering the 2023 season with a new look to its coaching staff. The program parted ways with offensive coordinator Tom Manning, promoting running backs/wide receivers coach Nate Scheelhaase to the position. 

Campbell also added strength and conditioning coach Reid Kagy and offensive line coach Ryan Clanton, among others.

The additions are meant to alleviate some offensive production struggles that plagued the team last season. Even with a flurry of changes, Campbell is still focused on refining his already-established process of player development. 

“The ‘how’ is really what we’ve been after, it’s not the talent, it’s not the not knowing how to do it, it’s really going back and redefining the ‘how’ in everything we do,” Campbell said. “That’s where our deep dive has been, globally.” 

“How we train, how we study film, how we teach to how we learn and play the game of football,” Campbell said. 

The picture of Iowa State’s 2023 starting roster is hazy at the start of spring ball, but things will begin to clear up toward the end of the five-week practice period. During one of the most crucial offseasons in Campbell’s tenure, Iowa State has been focused on course-correcting its process.