When a new coach is introduced at a school, among the first questions asked is ‘what offense and defense do you favor’? Everyone wants to know the coach’s philosophy on the X’s & O’s.
Fair enough. What may be more important at Iowa State, however, is Matt Campbell’s ability to help the Cyclones win close games.
Campbell inherits an Iowa State team which entered the fourth quarter tied or leading six times last fall. The Cyclones, however, dropped three of those games late.
An undersold trait of Campbell’s background is that he is accustomed to winning. As head coach at Toledo, the Rockets won 70% of their games. As a player and coach at Mount Union, the Purple Raiders won five national titles and 83 of 85 games.
Mount Union built a program that expected to win. Campbell copied that blueprint at Toledo. A culture was developed and a confidence was created.
“Our record is games decided by fewer than seven points was pretty impressive,” Campbell said of his UT teams that won 71% of their games decided by six or fewer points. “That’s culture and getting your program playing at an elite level. (It) is not easy to do. It doesn’t happen at the snap of a finger.”
Campbell has been a part of winning cultures throughout his career. Building a confident culture will probably have a larger impact on the ISU program than the formations and plays that are used.