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Transcript: Washington State’s Mike Leach and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell talk football, parenting, San Antonio history during Alamo Bowl press conference

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 6, 2018, 5:42 p.m.

Washington State’s Mike Leach and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell held a joint press conference Thursday morning in San Antonio. Here’s everything the coaches of the Dec. 28 Alamo Bowl had to say.

(Opening statement)

Campbell: “First and foremost, we couldn’t be more honored to represent Iowa State University, our athletic program and to be honest, to be able to play in such a prestigious bowl game. I know when these bowl announcements got made on Sunday, the excitement our university and especially our student athletes, were second to none. We’re humbled and to be here and grateful to be able to represent Iowa State University and quite honestly to be able to play a program like coach Leach has built at Washington State. The season that they’ve had, we certainly know the opportunity and the challenge ahead of us, but really looking forward to the opportunity to be here.”

(On winning Pac-12 Coach of the year)

Leach: “I haven’t thought about it very much. I’m going to ask Matt what he thinks and then I’ll pretty much pair it with that. But it’s excitin, we have great coaches in the Pac-12 and to get that distinction is an honor. In the end, it’s a team honor. I think it says a lot about our team. Al awards are team awards and I guess I don’t feel like I earned coach of the year, I feel like our team, the Washington State Cougars earned conference coach of the year. I think that’s a team award. There’s a lot of people involved, we’ve got players throwing balls, catching balls, blocking, tackling and creating turnovers. So all awards are team awards and I’m very proud of our team to win that distinction.

(On what Matt Campbell has accomplished at Iowa State and the Cyclones’ defense)

Leach: “Well I think it’s really impressive. I’ve played at Iowa State a number of times and they played at our place before coach Campbell was there, so I know it’s an impressive and unique place and I think he does a great job on defense. The biggest thing is, they just keep playing extremely hard. Whether you’re on offense or defense, you face a certain amount of adversity and one of the biggest strengths I think they have is they just keep playing no matter what and just relentlessly till the clock says :00 and I think that’s one of the highest compliments you can give any team or any side of the ball. But they’re certainly good on defense, a very complete group, but also offense and as a team.

(On facing Mike Leach and the nation’s best passing attack)

Campbell: “Well again, I think you go back to what coach Leach has done really in terms of shaping and changing the game of football in a lot of ways in terms of passing attack and you watch the success that they’ve had and being able to build a tremendous foundation and again, I think it goes down to fundamentals and details and like coach said, playing hard. I think also what’s critical in this sport is fundamentals, details and having really a great foundation to what you’re about. You turn the videotape on and you see a really well-coached football team in every aspect of the game.

(On 1,000-yard ISU rusher David Montgomery and receiver Hakeem Butler)

Campbell: “They’re two young men that certainly have guided a young freshman quarterback from the middle of the season on and they’re two guys that have unique leadership ability as well as talent, and so those two have played the best when we’ve needed them the most to kind of usher in a really young quarterback in terms of giving our football team the best opportunity to have success.”

(Any parenting advice for coach Campbell?)

Leach: “Well, I’ve got four older children so you’ve got to be a little like coach Campbell’s defense, you’ve got to just keep persevering. Just keep signing up and showing up. I’ll tell you this though, it goes pretty fast, they’ll be out of the house before you know it. Boys? Girls? What do you got?”

Campbell: “Two and two, coach.”

Leach: “Two and two, see that, consistency. Very consistent. I’m three and one, but it’s an impressive deal. The thing is, though, it’s funny that it goes quick and when they’re leaving you don’t want them to leave and then when you get down to the tail end, you’re kind of saying hey we’re going to have this house to ourselves. So that part’s good, too.”

(On reading Leach’s ‘Swing Your Sword’ book)

Campbell: “Well, I did. For me, I’ve got a lot of respect as a young coach looking at coaches that have sustained success and coaches that build programs and I think sometimes in our profession, there’s guys that are trying to be somebody or guys that are trying to do something. And from afar, watching coach Leach and how he’s built his programs and the way he’s done it has been really impressive. So I did have the opportunity to read his book, I’ve got so much respect for what coach has done not only at Washington State but at Texas Tech and the way he’s come up and built programs. So just a lot of respect and certainly enjoyed reading the book.

(On 11th win being a rallying point for Washington State)

Leach: “I think so. The biggest thing is, we talk a lot about improving and just getting a week better and that’s important to us. And then like Matt said, I think virtually everybody in America needs a couple copies of the book Swing Your Sword and they make great Christmas gifts as we’re coming into the holidays. I think we’re thrilled to be in a bowl, we’re thrilled to have a game, we’re thrilled to have a challenge and our team’s done a good job about just being fired up about having a game and playing it.”

(On ISU’s theme music at practices and plans for San Antonio)

Campbell: “Well, it’s the holiday season so I think Christmas music will get us at least down here through Christmas, but after that we’ll have to figure that out. But at least the holiday music this time of year is pretty good.”

(On experience in San Antonio and knowledge of city’s history)

Leach: “I’ve always loved San Antonio because they’ve got these old, gorgeous buildings. One of my favorite places is the hotel bar at the Menger looking at the pictures and all the history going on there, everything from Teddy Roosevelt to Babe Ruth to ghosts. I’ve heard just little bitty things on how the city’s designed, how the river was developed and stuff like that. I’d like to know more about that and I don’t know as much about that as I’d like. I’ve read and studied some on the Alamo and it’s always been an omission. I’ve gone past the Alamo constantly about, ‘Well, I’m going to go to the Alamo.’ Then I run out of time. ‘Well, next time, then next time.’ Well I have to make sure I go this time, because I have read some and studied about the Alamo, which is captivating and pretty much when you get right down to it, because it only took a couple years of statehood, the settlement of statehood of Texas and it was almost a microcosm of our country in just dynamic from the standpoint that it took a short period of time. So I’m very interested in that, but then just San Antonio kind of looks and feels right with the unique buildings, unique architecture and just that whole setting. And a lot of places, you go downtown and it’s a mess and it’s kind of an ugly gun and knife area. San Antonio’s got a gorgeous downtown. San Antonio’s kind of one of those places where you’d like to live downtown, or at least I would.

(Do you have a preferred carwash spot in San Antonio?)

Leach: “There’s a lot of places in San Antonio. I don’t have one specific one, though Bohanan’s (Steakhouse) was very good last night and we got to meet the owner/founder and what an impressive place that is. That’s one thing about San Antonio, food-wise you can’t go wrong. I haven’t seen it co-mingled with carwash food here in San Antonio, but I’m not saying that it’s not and I’ll bet you somewhere that it is. In LA, I had a great carwash food place I used to go to right by my house. So anyway, carwash and food is a good combination and if somebody is looking for a business in San Antonio, that’d probably be a good one.”

(Would you rather leave your house with a lunch that included a meal with onions or forget your watch?)

Campbell: “Well, I don’t like onions so forgetting my watch I think would be the way I go.”


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