After Saturday’s 7-3 win, Jack Campbell was asked by a reporter whether or not he felt the defense was burdened to carry the team. In fairness, they literally did. The two safeties the defense registered accounted for more points than the offense and special teams could generate. The performance was so dominant that the South Dakota State Jackrabbits didn’t even see a trip inside the Iowa 20-yard line.
But the soft spoken Campbell offered some not-so-faint praise to the counterpart.
“I think they did a hell of a job,” the team captain proclaimed. “There’s no time to point fingers or whine or complain. When you’re in the locker room, you’re one team and one unit.”
“We play for each other no matter what, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
The response was so powerful that head coach Kirk Ferentz decided to share Campbell’s words with the rest of the team.
“That was just a really good message for everybody on our team to hear. That’s the way he’s wired,” Ferentz said about his team captain. “In my opinion that’s why he’s such a great player. I think it’s good for everybody to hear that kind of message. Just in all walks of life, quite frankly.”
Another one of the four Hawkeye team captains, Kaevon Merriweather, concurs that outside perception of the team isn’t reality inside the locker room.
“I agree with everything Jack said,” said the starting safety. “That’s how we think, we are always together day in and day out. Every single day.”
Perhaps nobody is under more fire than quarterback Spencer Petras, who said he appreciated the message and is happy there isn’t animosity between the two sides of the ball.
“It’s great. I don’t know any other way to operate. Myself, coaches, offense, we’re just looking forward to playing on Saturday.”
Starting lineman Mason Richman says he couldn’t have said it better himself.
“Jack Campbell is certainly one of the leaders on this team,” Richman said. “I know they have our backs and Tory (Taylor) and everyone. It’s not a matter of they’re not like us or being like, ‘Oh, we got to carry the load this game.’ It’s whatever we’ve got to get done to win the game. It’s a team sport, all three levels have got to play together.”
Campbell himself clarified that he wasn’t trying to make waves in the media, but rather to signify unity within the locker room.
“I just want to reinforce (that) we’re one team, one unit.” Campbell vocalized. “It’s the best teams that are one unit. I feel like any time that there’s a division in a team, that’s just going to lead to splintering and just lead to bad things down the road.”