Matt Campbell talks about Iowa’s veteran experience on both sides of the ball
Randy Peterson, email@example.com
AMES, Ia. — Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy will be walking around campus when random students will stop him and ask the big question on everyone’s mind:
Why isn’t he running as much?
“(They’ll be) like, ‘Dude, are you all right?’” Purdy said.
Purdy is just fine.
In fact, the running-and-gunning quarterback from a season ago said that it was by design that he chose to utilize his arm and not his legs during Iowa State’s season opening win against Northern Iowa on Aug. 31.
“I know I can run and make plays and things like that,” Purdy said. “But the first game, I felt like I didn’t need to much.”
That wasn’t the case last season. Purdy broke onto the scene last season, completing 146-of-220 passes for 2,250 yards and 16 touchdown passes. But what made Purdy really special was his running abilities. Purdy provided a running threat Iowa State hadn’t had at quarterback for a long time.
He finished second on the team in rushing with 308 yards on the ground, averaging 3.1 yards per carry. He also finished second on the team with five rushing touchdowns. As good as Purdy was with his running, Iowa State coaches felt like he could improve on his game if he cut down on it some this season.
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell wanted Purdy to stay in the pocket more and look downfield before giving up so quickly on plays. It was something that Purdy took to heart during Iowa State’s first game of the season. During the triple-overtime win over the Panthers, Purdy tallied just two carries for negative 11 rushing yards. Both of those were from sacks that went against Purdy’s rushing totals. In reality, Purdy attempted just one run that resulted in a 9-yard touchdown that was brought back due to a holding call.
Fans had wondered if Purdy, who constantly distracted defenses with big pump fakes, had abandoned that part of his game. Some of his friends back home were even asking him what was up. But Purdy has a perfectly good explanation for why he wasn’t running: Purdy not only wanted to try to stay in the pocket more like his coaches had preached, but he said felt like the game didn’t dictate a need for him to run.
“It just depends on the team and situation and also knowing that it’s a long season,” Purdy said. “It’s the first game. You’ve got to be smart with things like that. That’s what was going through my mind.”
Purdy was still successful, throwing for 278 yards and a career-high 30 completions. It was the 10th-best single-game total in school history. Campbell called his play “outstanding.”
“I thought maybe his best game as a true quarterback that he’s played in some ways,” Campbell said. “In every critical moment, he stepped in and played. I think some games require different things. But he was outstanding. I thought there was great growth the last time we saw Brock Purdy play until we saw him play this past week. So, for us, we were all really proud of what he did.”
Purdy said he hasn’t abandoned the run. In fact, he said that times later in the season may call for it a lot.
“When I need to use it, that’s there,” Purdy said.
Even though Purdy didn’t showcase it much against Northern Iowa, it can still be a very dangerous dynamic for Iowa State’s offense later this season — and maybe even on Saturday when Iowa State hosts Iowa at 3 p.m.
“I think it just adds another dynamic to us,” said Iowa State offensive lineman Josh Knipfel. “He’s talented. He can do a lot of things with his legs.”
Source: Des Moines Register