Senior Week is here for the Cyclones.
Iowa State's final home game of the 2019 football season is Saturday against the Kansas Jayhawks at 11 a.m. With the team having likely secured a bowl bid, Campbell's press conference mostly focused on the seniors who will be leaving Iowa State at the end of the season — with praise for Les Miles sprinkled in for good measure.
Leo's learning curve
One of the Cyclones' most unique senior stories is of Matt Leo, a defensive lineman who has been in and out of the rotation during his three-year stint in Ames.
But Campbell said the fact that he had to learn the game in a short period of time after arriving from Adelaide, Australia, and turned into a contributor made him a special part of the 20-man group.
"Matt has done everything above and beyond the call of duty to practice and get to this point to become a great player," Campbell said.
Leo has appeared in every game this season for Iowa State and recorded 13 tackles.
Kansas under Les Miles
The Jayhawks are 3-7 and 1-6 in Big 12 play — but Campbell said he sees a lot of improvement from the first season of Miles' tenure with the program.
"They’ve got talent, they’ve got playmakers, but I think the big difference that you’ve seen right now is the belief that he's been able to instill in them," Campbell said. "To go on the road and you see the value of that Boston College win, what they've done at Texas, how those guys have played there has been a really good consistency of that. I think their kids believe."
Kansas boasts wins over Boston College and Texas Tech this year, and the Jayhawks put a big scare into Texas on the road, falling 50-47.
Eisworth playing through the pain
Safety Greg Eisworth has been perhaps the most important player to this Iowa State defense all season. The junior safety is everywhere in the secondary, making tackles in the run game and going his part in coverage in pass defense.
He's also been playing hurt.
Eisworth said he's been trying to play and manage a shoulder injury since the Louisiana-Monroe game in September.
"At times it’s pretty bad depending on like the angle of the hit," Eisworth said. "Sometimes I could feel it shift around and kinda go numb. Other times it’ll be a hit, certain angle and I don’t really feel anything, so it’s just kinda, you know, it’s a probability thing."
Eisworth said the injury would need to be re-evaluated after the season was over, although he wouldn't say specifically what the injury was.
Kolar makes Mackey Award semifinal list
With seven touchdowns in seven games and a place on the John Mackey Award semifinalist list — which will honor the nation's best tight end — Charlie Kolar has been garnering consistent praise for his new role as a focal point of the Cyclones' attack.
Campbell on Greg Eisworth playing after multiple injuries this season: "Greg's got warrior spirit." Campbell said Eisworth "rights the ship" when he's on the field.— Matt Belinson (@BelinsonMatt) November 19, 2019
Kolar tried to deflect conversation about himself on Tuesday, instead trying to get the focus turned towards the team.
"I thought it was a great win this weekend," Kolar said with a smile after being asked what sets him apart as a player. "It was a real team effort and [we'll] get ready for Kansas."
The redshirt sophomore added that it was great to see the Cyclones come out in "13" personnel — which includes one receiver and three tight ends — and were in the package for 15 percent of Iowa State's plays.