Campbell shares his thoughts after second spring practice

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell gets emotional as he watches players honored on Senior Day on Nov. 26.

Andrew Harrington

With the second spring practice for the Iowa State football team in the books, head coach Matt Campbell discussed what he has seen from his players so far on Monday.

As a lot of younger players get numerous reps in these spring practices, the coaching staff looks for specific qualities in how they approach this competition.

“Can you have the ability to consistently stack good days, and you know there will be tough days, and you hope there are tough days. And then, how quickly can you rebound from a tough day or a tough play?” Campbell said.

Position groups such as the tight ends and linebackers suffered some big losses ahead of the offseason in players such as Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen, Jake Hummel and Mike Rose. Through this, Campbell is putting a lot of faith in the players that have experience at these positions.

“Every rep there’s competition,” Campbell said. “The conversation is going to be really fun, because I think it’s gonna be a great race.”

In the tight end room, these leaders are Easton Dean and DeShawn Hanika. Campbell feels that Dean and Hanika are two players that do not get enough credit for what they do.

Adding in redshirt freshman Tyler Moore to the mix is why Campbell believes that every rep will be important as the competition for the spot continues.

“If you would’ve asked me a year ago, one of your top freshmen from last year’s class, I would have put Tyler Moore right towards the top of it,” Campbell said.

As for the offensive schemes, Campbell and the coaching staff have not yet determined if the Cyclones will be as reliant on pass catching from the tight ends as new players fill the roles like they have been in previous seasons.

He also mentioned that position battles are not won or lost in spring practice, but it does help to gauge where individual players are at in their progression.

“Good coaching is not just saying, ‘this is what we do.’ Great coaching is the ability to adapt your offense or defensive scheme around who your players are,” Campbell said.

On the other side of the ball, the linebackers are also experiencing some player turnover.

Due to this, players that have played a higher quantity of snaps such as O’Rien Vance, who was the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP, and Gerry Vaughn, who started six games in the previous season, will need to step up.

“The linebacker group in general is probably the deepest and most competitive build that we’ve had since we’ve been here,” Campbell said.

While position battles are not solely determined by spring practice in Campbell’s mind, Hunter Dekkers appears to be the leading candidate for the quarterback job next season.

Based off of the experience that he has, and what he has shown in his first two seasons with the Cyclones, Campbell said if there was a game today, he would be the starter.

“He’s the guy that’s had the most game reps,” Campbell said. “If you were playing a game today, obviously Hunter is the guy that’s had the most game experience.”