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Top Three Questions for Iowa State Heading in Big 12 Media Days

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days

Big 12 Media Days are right around the corner, which means the 2023 college football season is less than two months away.

The burning questions for every team are starting to build some momentum and at media days we will finally get the answers to some of those questions.

As each fanbase prepares itself for another season of Big 12 football, we’re here to help with the three biggest questions that each team is facing before heading to Arlington for Media Days on July 12-13.

With that being said, here are the three biggest questions that the Iowa State Cyclones are facing heading into 2023 Big 12 Football Media Days.

 

Matt Campbell’s Mindset

Matt Campbell is coming off his worst season at Iowa State after going 1-8 in Big 12 play, which is worse than the 2-7 Big 12 record he had during his first season back in 2016. It’s likely his worst season as a head coach dating back to his time at Toledo. So what exactly is the mindset for Matt Campbell? Many are questioning if he hung around too long. Should he have taken one of the several “bigger” jobs he was offered during the last couple of offseasons? Has he maximized his potential at Iowa State?

All these conversations are swirling across college football at a time when Campbell has done things he has typically been reluctant to do: overhaul the staff. That’s what the head coach did on the offensive side of the ball, most notably replacing offensive coordinator Tom Manning, who was with Campbell for years dating back to Toledo, in favor of Nate Scheelhaase, who was previously the running backs and receivers coach. Other new faces on the offensive side include receivers coach Noah Pauley (previously at North Dakota State), offensive line coach Ryan Clanton (formerly at Northern Iowa), and Running backs/Special teams coach Jordan Langs (formerly the head coach at Indiana Wesleyan).

This leads us into the next question…

 

The Offensive Changes

As just mentioned, you now know all the new faces on the offensive side of the ball, but do the Cyclones ultimately have the horses to make a difference?

There’s no doubt the play calling was an issue last season as Iowa State’s offense was ranked last in scoring, total offense and rushing yards, but as is often the question: How good are the players? Most notably, Hunter Dekkers at quarterback came in with high hopes, but had an up-and-down first season in Ames.

But to find out if he can be the guy, it’s just as important to figure out what’s around him. The Cyclones return four starters on the offensive line, while adding key transfers at running back (Arlen Harris, Stanford) and wide receiver (Dimitri Stanley, Colorado) to the mix. We need to hear from Campbell and the players on what exactly this side of the ball will look like and if they can make the proper adjustments to take a big leap in 2023.

 

The Underdog Role

This is team is right where Matt Campbell likes it. Not being discussed. No one is talking about them. They’re being called a team that is likely to finish in the bottom half of the Big 12. Just look at 2020 vs. 2021 as the prime example. Iowa State was not ranked prior to the 2020 season, but they reached the Big 12 Championship Game and won the Fiesta Bowl. Then in 2021, they had huge preseason expectations with a Top 10 ranking, but ended up going 7-6.

Expect Campbell to downplay this team and the expectations, but secretly, with 15 returning starters and some new blood in the offensive coaching room, the head coach might be feeling better than most expect him to be feeling.

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