Behind Enemy Lines: Northwestern safety Ibraheim Campbell

By Max Cohen, Daily Sports Editor
Published November 6, 2014

Fifth-year senior safety Ibraheim Campbell has been a leader on Northwestern’s defense the past three years. During that time, he’s seen it all.

He’s experienced highlights — like the Wildcats’ win in the 2013 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl — and endured struggles — like Northwestern winning just one conference game the following season, losing most in close fashion.

This season has been another season of strife for Campbell. He’s missed four straight games with a hamstring injury while the Wildcats have struggled.

The Daily sat down with Campbell at Big Ten Media Day in July.

The Michigan Daily: How much has last year been a motivator for you guys?

Ibraheim Campbell: It’s been a pretty big motivation. It’s really given us a big sense of what we need to change, what we need to improve going into this offseason. It really created a whole new energy around the football program that kind of got away from us last season.

TMD: The Michigan game specifically last year, has that served as a motivator? Was that loss particularly painful with how it went down in the end there?

IC: We had a couple tough losses last year. I don’t think one hurt any more than the other. Losing a game, losing sucks, bottom line. Whether we lost in that fashion or whether we lost by a landslide, no one likes to lose. Every time we lose a game, we take something from it, just like we take from games that we win and try to improve and try to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

TMD: Do you remember as regulation expired when Drew Dileo (Michigan’s holder) had to dive to make that hold as regulation expired, what was going on in your head if you remember the play?

IC: It was a lot happening at once. I don’t necessarily remember watching that Dileo dive or anything like that. I remember seeing that on film and thinking back to it. I mean, but at the moment, honestly, I was kind of trying to figure out what was going on because it was like guys were running on and off the field, I actually thought we had too many guys on the field, so I didn’t even realize that they, I mean, it was a lot.

TMD: I see you smiling, kind of rolling your eyes. Is it still tough to comprehend that all of that happened?

IC: Like I said, losing sucks, it’s never fun. I’m just smiling, because thinking back to it, I really don’t know. Like, it was just so chaotic those last couple seconds that it’s hard to kind of put it into words, because I don’t really know. Yeah, I don’t know.

TMD: With all of those close losses last year, does it almost make you feel good that there is no way some of that crazy stuff could happen?

IC: I think if anything, we’ve realized that those crazy things can happen multiple times. And they happened to us. So, the fact that they happened makes me feel no more comfortable that they won’t happen again because they happened over and over again last season.