3 Biggest Questions Facing Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell Ahead of Big 12 Media Days

    After getting the Cyclones back on track last year, what questions will Iowa State coach Matt Campbell face at Big 12 Media Days?

    After Iowa State Cyclones coach Matt Campbell experienced just his second losing record in 13 seasons as a head coach, falling to 4-8 in 2022, he got the Cyclones back on track with a winning record last year, finishing 7-6.

    Now, he’ll have to try to do it against some new foes, with the Big 12 now 16 teams deep after adding four — Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah — and two others leaving, Texas and Oklahoma. What questions is Campbell expected to face at Big 12 Media Days?

    Three Most Significant Questions for Matt Campbell at Big 12 Media Days

    1) How Much Does Nathan Scheelhaase’s Departure Impact the Cyclones’ Offense?

    Since 2018, Campbell leaned on Nathan Scheelhaase to oversee various offensive areas as RB coach (2018), WR coach (2019-2020), RB/WR coach, and run-game coordinator (2021-2022) before finally making him offensive coordinator (2023). Under Sheelhaase as OC, the Cyclones went from last in the Big 12 at 20.0 points per game to a respectable increase to 26.2.

    However, Scheelhaase left for the NFL to be a pass game specialist for the Los Angeles Rams, leaving Campbell to replace him with another long-time offensive assistant, Taylor Mouser. There shouldn’t be much of a drop-off, considering the talent returning to Ames and the fact that Mouser will likely rely on his teachings in the previous system as a first-year OC.

    2) Can Rocco Becht Avoid a Sophomore Slump?

    The Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2023, Rocco Becht re-set Iowa State’s freshman records for most passing yards (3,120), TD passes (23), and completions (231) in a season. He is one of a handful of crucial returning offensive skill position players, including RB Abu Sama III, WRs Jayden Higgins and Jaylin Noel, and TE Benjamin Brahmer.

    Becht is set for an encore, but a switch at OC could complicate things for the redshirt sophomore from Wesley Chapel, Florida.

    3) Is a Big 12 Championship a Realistic Goal?

    In eight seasons at the helm in Ames, Campbell came close to a conference Championship just once, losing in the Big 12 Championship Game to Oklahoma in 2020. He may have as good a chance as any to get back there this season.

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    With Texas and Oklahoma off to the SEC, there is a power vacuum at the top of the conference, something the Cyclones could capitalize on, given the talent on Iowa State’s roster.

    Big 12 Media Days Schedule: Matt Campbell, Iowa State Head Coach

    • Date: Tuesday, July 9
    • Time: 4:20 p.m. ET
    • How to watch: ESPN+

    The Cyclones are loaded across the board with a young gunslinger behind center. Changes at coordinator could play a factor, but Iowa State is nearly identical from last year outside of that.

    The table is set. How the meal is cooked in Ames is up to Campbell.

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