By: Alex Crowl
As a 21 year-old senior at Iowa State, the football program has a certain importance to me. Having bled cardinal and gold since birth, three institutions of the football program I hold dearly are a couple of coaches, a handful of players and a one-of-a-kind stadium.
When I look back at Iowa State football, I remember Seneca Wallace. I remember running down on the field after a 17-14 win against Iowa at Jack Trice Stadium with my father. I remember patting Wallace on the rear end and telling him good game at age 7. I remember the kettle corn and how good it was on that day that we sat through elements of cold and light hail to watch the Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes.
I remember Sage Rosenfels, and Iowa boy Bret Meyer. I remember Todd Blythe, A.J. Klein, Jake Knott, and I definitely remember Jeff Woody.
I remember Dan McCarney, and I will forever cherish when every football season rolled around that coach Paul Rhoads led this football program in a magical stadium to the south of Hilton Coliseum.
If my rundown of nostalgia doesn’t raise Goosebumps on your forearms and chills down your spine, exit stage left.
Iowa State football has had two major problems that I can undeniably speak of: struggling to recruit and a lack of execution.
New head coach, Matt Campbell, has shifted the pattern of the storm that is this football program already in the recruiting front. No source can confirm or deny whether him or his staff sleeps, other than maybe their families. This early signing period has been a lucrative one for the Cyclones and “The Winds are swirling” according to Matt Campbell via his twitter account.
It takes a ton of elbow grease and a heck of a spiel to get a young man to Ames, Iowa. I think we all get that at this point. Regardless of the culture and facilities, that this university provides, it’s not easy. You would be lying to yourself if you think it is. Campbell might be the antidote to the illness that has plagued this football program.
You can recruit until the cows come home, or not recruit and develop, develop, develop, but one ingredient to Iowa State football that is missing is flat out execution. The “It factor” is relevant and so is momentum. This program hasn’t had either of those be apart of the mix for some time.
The 2015 Iowa State football team had bowl potential. A poorly lined up kick against Toledo, last few minutes against Iowa, 17-point lead against Oklahoma State, and the massacre in Manhattan. Four games that all ended up in the opposing team’s favor. I am no rocket scientist but if three of the four of those games fall Iowa State’s way, grab your bowling ball people because you would have needed it.
Execution is not always a tangible phenomenon. It isn’t just doing what you’re supposed to. It is having the stomach, and the “will over skill” to defeat your opponent. It is heading to the office with the right attitude and the right effort everyday. Attitude and effort being the only two things every human being wakes up and controls everyday when their feet hit the floor.
Campbell is going to have to build a program with a new brand, better recruiting, and will to finish football games to right the ship that sails on Saturdays in Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.
Campbell has plans to build a brand here at Iowa State that we haven’t seen on the pigskin end in some time.
I have faith in him, do you?