Poise and consistency help Iowa State’s Kyle Kempt through first two starts

CLOSE

Randy Peterson and Tommy Birch discuss Matt Campbell’s weekly press conference.

AMES, Ia. — In his brief career as Iowa State’s starting quarterback, Kyle Kempt helped the Cyclones win at then-No. 3 Oklahoma, guided his team to two wins in the Big 12 Conference and turned himself into one of the biggest success stories in program history.

But in all the great things that Kempt has accomplished early on as a starter, Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell said there are two things that have stood out about Kempt.

“The biggest thing I like what I’ve seen about Kyle is poise and consistency,” Campbell said. “Those two things have been outstanding in two very chaotic environments for a quarterback to have to play in.”

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Kempt has just two starts under his belt, but he’s already accomplished a lot. The walk-on has helped Iowa State to a 2-1 start in Big 12 play for the first time since 2002. His two wins against Big 12 teams ties for the second-most by an Iowa State quarterback since 2011 when Jared Barnett went 3-6.

Kempt, a fifth-year senior, took over for Jacob Park, who took a leave from the team to work through some personal health issues. Kempt has quickly gone from unknown to solidifying himself a spot in Iowa State football history.

Kempt’s first start came against Oklahoma, when he completed 18-of-24 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. Against Kansas, he completed 13-20 passes for one touchdown.

Two starts, two wins. It’s a crazy turnaround for Kempt, who began his career at Oregon State, transferred to Hutchinson Community College and waited for his shot as a walk-on for the Cyclones. Before taking over the starting spot, Kempt has thrown just two passes in his college career.

“I’m content,” Kempt said. “I’m not satisfied at all. I’m happy to be playing again.”

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Kempt has managed Iowa State’s offense with a heavy dose of short passes and run plays that have allowed the Cyclones to chew up the clock and keep their defense on the sidelines. One of the reasons the approach has worked so well is that Kempt has done a good job of taking care of the football.

He has yet to turn the ball over this season despite playing in front of a hostile Oklahoma home crowd and on a rainy and wet day in Ames at Jack Trice Stadium against Kansas.

“He did a very good job of handling both environments,” Campbell said.

But there are things that Kempt needs to get better at. One of the things Kempt has pinpointed: Getting the offense going faster. The Cyclones have struggled in the first few series of Kempt’s two starts.

“I’ve definitely got to start faster,” he said.

Campbell has faith that Kempt will continue to make strides.

“The only thing you hope to continue to see is his growth within the system,” Campbell said. “You’ve seen him be able to make hard throws — to step in there and stand in there under pressure. He’s made some big throws in some big moments in both football games. Just continue to grow and stay within himself. Kyle has such a poise about him.”

That poise has helped Kempt stay focused week to week. Park remains a member of the team but is inactive. Campbell won’t put a timetable on when Park will be back. If he does come back this season, Kempt may have to prove that the starting spot should stay his. Kempt said he’s not thinking about that.

“I’m just going out right now and executing our game plan,” Kempt said. “The team’s got confidence in me and I’ve got confidence in myself.”

Kempt said it hasn’t been hard not thinking too far ahead.

“You would think it would be hard to do, but at the same time, this is something that my journey has really prepared me for,” Kempt said. “So I feel like I’m prepared for this.” 

 

Source: Des Moines Register

Powered by WPeMatico