It has been several years since expectations were as high at Iowa State as they are heading into this football season. The Cyclones return 16 players with starting experience off a team that posted top five upsets of Oklahoma and TCU on its way to an 8-5 record and a win over Memphis in the Liberty Bowl. As he enters his third season at the helm coach Matt Campbell is dealing with the expectations.
“That was the biggest challenge in my opinion to our off season was not buying into the positive”, said Campbell. “Last year it was primarily dealing with the opposite and people thinking we can’t win here.”
Not only is there more talent but Campbell says there is better leadership across the board and improvement this season begins with a running game that ranked ninth in the Big 12 in 2017.
“Our team will make great movement if our offensive line can take a step forward”, added Campbell. “That is a huge challenge for our football team but they are trending in a positive direction.”
One of the top returnees is quarterback Kyle Kempt, who was granted an extra year after guiding ISU to five victories a year ago.
A year ago at Media Day nobody asked Kyle Kempt for an interview. This year he was the most sought after player.
“It is definitely different this time around just because I am the full time starter this year”, said Kempt. “I was really close to the senior class last year and I am extremely close to a ton guys on the team this year so I really appreciate that aspect of it.”
The Cyclones open at home against South Dakota State on September first.