Texas Football: Would Matt Campbell be the right fit as head coach?

We could be nearing a coaching search for the Texas football program to replace head coach Tom Herman. Could Iowa State’s Matt Campbell be a candidate?

Big news was made earlier this week when ESPN college football commentator/analyst and former Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman David Pollack gave his take on the coaching situation with the Texas football program. The candidate that Pollack reportedly endorses (per multiple sources, including 247Sports) is one that is a head coach for a current Big 12 foe.

Pollack’s endorsement to be the Longhorns next head coach is the former Toledo Rockets and current Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell. It would be ironic if Texas targeted Campbell to replace their current head coach Tom Herman in the near future. That is largely due to the fact that Campbell’s Iowa State team beating Herman and the Longhorns last week, on Black Friday/Senior Day, was what reignited this conversation all over again.

Here’s more on what Pollack had to say on his endorsement of Campbell as a potential Longhorns head coaching hire if they do replace Herman.

“If you’re going to give me (Matt) Campbell, I’d take Campbell,” Pollack said. “Campbell is one, the guy to me. Here’s what I want if I’m at Texas. First of all, I’ve got to realize I don’t get the same elite talent I used to. I want a guy that has proven to me that, if their roster says eight wins, they can get 10. If their roster says 10 wins, they’re going to get 11. I want that kind of coach. I want a coach that has a vision that’s going to embrace that kind of stuff, embrace development. I don’t think there’s anybody better than Matt Campbell for that.”

Herman took a lot of the heat off of his hot seat during Halloweekend, when Texas upset the previously undefeated and No. 6 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys in overtime on the road in Stillwater. That was one big win during a three-game winning streak that Texas built up throughout late October and early November.

Texas had also defeated the Baylor Bears and West Virginia Mountaineers during that aforementioned three-game winning streak.

Moreover, if the Longhorns were looking to replace Herman with a candidate like Iowa State’s Campbell, how would that project?

Campbell’s fit with Texas football

There is a clear improvement that Campbell made with the Iowa State football program in recent years. No doubt he deserves a shot at a top tier college football program as a head coach in the very near future. He could very well land a job with a program like the Michigan Wolverines, Penn State Nittany Lions, USC Trojans, etc., if they open up anytime soon.

Campbell is leading Iowa State to potentially make their first ever appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game this year. They hold a record of 7-2 (7-1 Big 12), with their only loss in Big 12 play to Oklahoma State. Their other loss on the season came to the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns back in their opener.

As a whole, Campbell holds a record of 33-27 during his five years as Iowa State’s head coach. His consistent improvement with that program is something that bodes very well for his coaching candidacy if he lands another job in the near future.

Considering his days as head coach for Toledo, prior to taking the job with Iowa State, he holds a career FBS coaching record of 68-42. His postseason record also sits at 3-3 (1-2 during his tenure with Iowa State).

The success on the field against the best of the best in the Big 12 (namely the blue bloods is clear). Campbell is 2-3 in five tries against the Longhorns during his time with Iowa State. But he has two of only four wins in program history against the Longhorns. Iowa State’s all-time record against Texas sits at 4-14.

Moreover, a big reason for optimism with the potential hiring of Campbell would be his success against Oklahoma. Campbell is also 2-3 in five tries against the Sooners. But considering that Iowa State’s all-time series record against Oklahoma sits at 7-76-2, that’s not too bad. Even the losses for Campbell’s Iowa State squad to Oklahoma were pretty close, including a one-point loss last season.

Knowing that Campbell would bring a lot of potential to the table in terms of taking the Texas program to the next level, and he can take care of business at some points against the blue bloods, means there is some intrigue in his candidacy. Again, that is if the Longhorns want to replace Herman.

The two other big focuses in regards to considering Campbell as a Texas coaching candidate would be his fit with the current roster at hand and any potential success on the recruiting trail. Iowa State never was a hot bed for recruiting. But the recruiting results did improve a bit under Campbell.

Former Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads would consistently haul in recruiting classes ranked at or near the bottom of the Big 12. And they normally ranked between No. 60-70 in the national class rankings. Blue chips were very rare for Rhoads. At least Campbell did land four blue chips from the 2017-2021 recruiting classes. That is a slight progression from what Iowa State saw on the recruiting trail under Rhoads.

Recruiting would be a big question mark for Campbell if he were to be considered as a top candidate for the Longhorns head coaching job. There are some signs of optimism in that regard, though. Even former Texas head coach Charlie Strong recruited well when there were questions as to how he would do in that regard on the trail.

Maybe the biggest argument in favor of Campbell is the way he’s able to develop a positive program culture which supports player development in a much more proven way what we’ve seen out of Herman in recent years. Campbell is brilliant at developing under-the-radar three-star recruits into quality starters and stars in the Big 12 (i.e. quarterback Brock Purdy and running backs Breece Hall and David Montgomery).