MATT CAMPBELL: Let me start with this from my end of things. First of all, I’ll again say this about Valero Alamo Bowl. Incredible experience for our kids this week, first-class organization, first-class event, beyond grateful to represent the Big 12 and be able to be a part of this event. You know, from my end in terms of — I think I should say another great thank you is to our fan base. You see the energy and the excitement that they have been so loyal to us, not only through the good times but through some of the tough times, and what an honor to be able to put them on this stage and to be able to be in this environment. They were incredible tonight and we’re beyond thankful to them and their support for us.
Really for this football team, really simple: I’m really proud of what this team stands for. I think if you look at our football team and our football program, you’re talking about a team that just like you saw tonight, never quits, plays with elite attitude and elite effort, is a team that demands to continue to get better. I think the missing piece for us right now is in the detail, and you want to take the next step in this program. We had to learn how to be consistent, we had to learn to prove that we could win with consistency here at Iowa State. We’ve proven that. Now to take the next step in this program, it’s detail, and it’s really what got us tonight really in all three phases of the game. Big kickoff return right before half, some silly mistakes in the pass game early. Obviously a tough fumble, and then some missed tackles early in the football game, and I think it comes down to that. But I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach Leach and Washington State. They didn’t make those mistakes, and ultimately they won the football game.
Q. Matt, I’m just going to start at the beginning. What interpretation did you get about the spearings?
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, I didn’t, and I guess that’s where a little bit of my frustration was, that there wasn’t any communication with that. And like I said, it’s a crazy environment. The officiating crew has got a lot going on so I get that and I understand that. My frustration during the football game was just getting an explanation. Now, I should be better than that, but really didn’t get any in those unfortunate situations. What I was really proud of, though, is our kids’ tremendous ability to overcome the loss of two what you would say would be very good football players for us this year.
Q. In your estimation, was the second one spearing?
MATT CAMPBELL: It’s really hard until I see the videotape. Obviously, like I said, the officials got a hard job, and I’ve got the utmost respect for any officiating crew that comes out here and does what they do, and I think they’re working as hard as they can to make the right call, so I have to go with that obviously would have been the right call.
Q. Just take us through that two-point conversion and the options that were available and what ultimately happened.
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, obviously our young center struggled at times tonight in terms of hearing the cadence, and that’s unfortunate. We thought we had a really good play. There were multiple options that would have been a part of it and thought we had the perfect play called. But again, those things happen. We went back then and had a couple options on the next play, as well, and just weren’t able to execute in a critical moment.
Q. You’ve talked about winning in the details. What are some of the biggest ones you want to get fixed up, and what gives you hope that you’re going to get them fixed up for next year?
MATT CAMPBELL: Well, I would certainly think our kids and how they played give us hope. Nobody — I couldn’t ask for a group of kids to work any harder than what our kids do, and I really think this group has gotten better as this season has gone on, and it’s a really young football team in a lot of ways. It’s got a chance to have a senior class that’s maybe — there’s a lot of guys that played a lot of football in this upcoming senior class that have had a huge impact, so I think our leadership coming into this coming year has got a chance to be really special, which is exciting from my end of it. I think that’s a credit to the last two senior classes and what they’ve taught us of how to do things the right way. And you know, I really just think it’s detail. Again, I’ve said this and I always say this: Our margin for error with the people we play and the opponents we play against has always got to be small. Tackling in space, running and converting the right routes, throwing the ball to the right people, taking care of the football, those things gotta be the different maker, and you turn it over three times in a football game like we did today, it’s really hard for us to win, and it doesn’t matter who we play and that’s not to knock Washington State at all, because they are a tremendous football team. That’s just we got to know who we are and what gives us the best chance for Iowa State to be really successful.
Q. You mentioned details. Seven false starts. How much of a factor is it to not play for a month, to have a month between games?
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, I really don’t think it was a huge factor from that standpoint of it. I really think the noise was a major factor, and especially for our young center, who has played really good football for us. And again, I put that as much on me as anybody, where do we need to have a different cadence. We tried to do some different things to help him out throughout the game, but it certainly got really loud in there at times, so I think just handling the environment more than anything, especially as those environments continue to escalate with the noise. We’ve got to do a better job, and that’s really on the head football coach.
Q. After Brock started 1-4 with the two interceptions he finished 7 of 23. What did you see from his ability to settle in there?
MATT CAMPBELL: Yeah, you know, gosh, I didn’t think Brock was even bad early. I think he made the right reads, and it just — a couple unfortunate situations, their guy made a great play on the ball and just some situations that were what they were, but it’s what I love about Brock, his moxie and his consistency and it’s great to have guys like Hakeem and David to get the ball to, and those guys made some great plays on the ball. But I think what he has the ability to do is play the next play, and it’s what makes Brock Purdy really special. I thought he did a lot of things in a really powerful way tonight that continue to show his growth. It’ll be really fun to watch him and get him into the winter and watch him continue to grow.
Q. Hakeem, talk about your game tonight. What made you — what were you able to be so successful at tonight?
HAKEEM BUTLER: I think the coaches had a good plan coming into the game with everything, and that’s pretty much it. They had a good game plan, and I just tried to execute to the best of my ability.
Q. Brian and then Marcel, you guys obviously knew all week that this was the No. 1 passing offense in the country. What was able to work so well for you guys in slowing Minshew and that group down and getting to work in short fields a couple times? What was working especially early in the second half when they couldn’t really get much going?
BRIAN PEAVY: I would say playing together, playing as 11 as 1, pursuing to the ball. Like you said, explosive offense, No. 1 offense, you kind of do what you got to do to slow them down and playing as one unit that was our goal.
MARCEL SPEARS: Totally agree with Peavy, everything he said.
Q. Hakeem, just to follow up on the coverage, was there anything you saw in the coverage that just opened up the game for you?
HAKEEM BUTLER: With their corners, the way they played and the safeties and things like that, we studied them a lot. We had a long time before we had to play them, so we got to understand them really well, and we just saw some things that we really liked and just attacked at will.
Q. Brian, Coach was saying earlier how much the senior class had imparted to the rest of the roster. What are some of the things that you’ve left behind as a legacy at Iowa State as a senior?
BRIAN PEAVY: Yeah, first off, definitely not settling for less. My years here, we had two-win seasons, three-win seasons and now we’re kind of changing the culture of the program. So what I wanted to leave as my legacy is basically we before me, putting your teammates before yourself, and just serving, and I think I did a good job with that.
Q. Hakeem, where are you right now with the NFL, and what’s going to go into that decision, just trying to get an update from you?
HAKEEM BUTLER: We just lost a game, so it’s kind of hard to even think about going anywhere. I’m just focused on what just happened right now.
Q. What’s the process for you over the next couple days?
HAKEEM BUTLER: No idea.
Q. Brian, what did you say to Willie Harvey at halftime or after that game, being a fellow senior, and just the situation of him having to depart that game the way he did?
BRIAN PEAVY: Yeah, that’s a tough way to leave your senior year, your last game. But I know we talked about being physical, and I guess when you’re going full throttle, it’s hard to let off. We respect him for that, and we had his back, and that’s kind of what I told him.
Q. Matt, what was your thought on David’s fumble? There’s some thought that it might have been a forward motion thing or when he came to the sidelines what did you tell him?
MATT CAMPBELL: Well, I don’t have to say anything to David because it’s just like every one of our guys, mistakes happen in a football game. You know, I believe in our players. I trust them. I love them. I know none of those mistakes that happen are meant because of a lack of trying. You know, I think we went right back to David and we went right back to some guys early in the football game, and you just continue to let your great players make great plays, but mistakes happen.
Q. Matt, when you look back on this season, I guess what are you going to represent? How would you kind of define how it all went?
MATT CAMPBELL: 1-3 to 7-8 and the ability to turn the tide, it’s gutsy. I think if you look at the teams that started the football season 1-3 around the country and the teams that had the ability to recover like this group did, it’s really powerful. And I think this group has got a really powerful story. Obviously we came up short tonight, and that’s unfortunate, but I think those shortcomings will only guide us going forward, but what this senior class, what this team did this year, really powerful because I think a lot of people wrote us off at 1-3 and probably should have, but the reality of it is, in our walls our kids kept believing, and I think that’s more powerful than anything else going on, and to be honest with you, I think it’s why these kids can leave this — wherever they’re going tonight and tomorrow, they can hold their heads really high because what they’ve done and what they’ve stood for in changing a culture like Brian said, it continues to change in a really positive direction, and for that I’m really proud of this group.