AMES – Iowa State football has had a relatively injury-free season so far. Players have had a few bumps and bruises but no serious injuries.
On Saturday, offensive tackle Bryce Meeker went down with a knee injury. On Monday, coach Matt Campbell updated Meeker’s situation.
“Bryce is going to be out an extended amount of time,” Campbell said. “The positive is that it’s not an ACL injury, which we were all nervous about. We will get Bryce back at some point. Exactly when that’ll be, I don’t know.”
Sean Foster will step into that role. Foster and Meeker shared the right tackle spot in the beginning of the year, and Foster even started a game when Iowa State traveled to Akron.
Campbell was impressed by Foster when he came in to replace Meeker in the game on Saturday.
“Sean went in and graded out what we’d call a winning effort on Saturday,” Campbell said. “He played really well and he did that earlier in the season. Now he’s got a great challenge ahead of him. Can he sustain the level that Bryce started to play with?”
Last week Campbell mentioned the possibility of giving medical redshirts to running back Johnnie Lang and defensive end Matt Leo.
Campbell said Lang is still up in the air, he’s back on the practice field and doing more things on the field. Leo, on the other hand, will get a medical redshirt.
“When and how we would use [Lang], I think has to be a really educated decision,” Campbell said. “If not, maybe you put him back on the backburner. Matt’s dealt with some injuries since he’s gotten here. We’re trying to be really smart with him. There’s a lot of high-end potential at the end of Matt’s career and you want to do what’s best for Matt Leo.”
Front seven surprise
When Campbell moved Joel Lanning from quarterback to linebacker, most people thought that was an indictment on Iowa State’s linebacker core. It’s proven to be just the opposite. All three of Iowa State’s linebackers, Lanning, Willie Harvey and Marcel Spears, are in the top 15 in tackles in the Big 12.
“I’m going to go back to media day in Dallas,” Campbell said. “And somebody asked me this, ‘What will be the biggest surprise on our team?’ And I said our linebacker core. I really, really thought that group had a chance to be really special. Not just because they’re great players but because of who those guys are.”
On the line, Campbell said those players developed faster than he expected. J.D. Waggoner and Vernell Trent both dealt with injuries and JaQuan Baily and Ray Lima were young and didn’t have a lot of Big 12 expereince.
“To see that group as a whole, develop as quickly as they have, and continuing to get better – I’ll say this, they can only continue to grow and get better,” Campbell said. “I think there’s a lot more out there for that group.”
Iowa State hasn’t lost a road game since Oct. 15 of last season. Campbell credits the seniors on the football team its success on the road.
“You have so many guys that have been to a lot of places that we haven’t been to as a coaching staff,” Campbell said. “I just think there’s a sense of calmness when we go on the road. Whether it’s at home or on the road I don’t see a different mentality from this team.”