Full Transcript: DC Jon Heacock on first practice

After day one of practice, Iowa State defensive coordinator talks about several topics, including Mitchell Meyers, how some new faces are fitting in and more.

Mitchell Meyers has been through a lot. What did it mean to you and everyone else to see him out there today?
Jon Heacock: I mean just credit to him and I think we’re all blessed that he’s out there doing his thing. The thing about him – he just wants to play ball. That’s what’s exciting.

Do you see him contributing in 2016?
JH: I think so – just from what you see and from what you saw from before he’s got some learning to catch up to, but he’ll be fine he’s a sharp guy. He cares, and he did great out there today – I thought he was outstanding.

What’s the versatility between the STAR and the SAM with you guys?
JH: They’re the same player – obviously the SAM is a little more of a linebacker guy – gives us some ability out there depending on what kind of wideouts we see out there and what kind of blocking schemes –those guys are bigger bodies and can take some people on. Obviously the STARs are more athletic if they’re putting school guys out there we’ll put those guys [STARs] out there.

You guys are working a lot on take-aways, fumble recoveries, that kind of stuff. How important is it increasing that turnover margin for you?
JH: It’s the most important thing in this game. I’ve been doing this 30-40 years – there’s nothing more important than the turnover margin. You can go do all the stats, you can do an article, you can do whatever if you don’t win the turnover margin you don’t have a very good chance of winning – it’s a priority has to be how you live, and our job is to get the ball back.

You said Mitchell Meyers has some learning to catch up with – what is it that he has to catch up with?

JH: Well I think just the whole thing -- just getting reps -- the guys been away from football in fairness and he’ll be fine. He’s just like a young guy coming in, but he’s got some expierence  just learning this defense a little bit. The good news is he’s only 8-15 practices from behind – so he’s not very far away from it.


Going back to the turnover thing ISU was horrible at this last year – you’ve seen the footage and the stats. What can you do differently? How do you eliminate turnovers?

JH: I think you just got to emphasize it, and take care of the ball, and it’s got to be a priority in practice. You have to see it -- it has to mean something to the coaches and the players. I think everybody works on it – I don’t think there are many teams or schools or coaches who don’t believe in it. But you really have to buy in and it’s got to be something you emphasize everyday – we do everything on our side of the ball that we can do to promote it, to talk about it, to film it, to whatever it has to be a point of emphasis.

What do you see in Mike Johnson? A redshirt freshman but a little older age wise.

JH: He’s come along way, he’s made great progress. He had a good summer looks like. I think in fairness Rudy and his staff have done great job with our guys. I think it’s like a whole new group out there in my opinion – I think our strength staff has done a great job with those guys and he’s one of those guys. He had a great summer. Seems like he’s in excellent condition -- running around looks good.


D’Andre Payne had a good spring from what a lot of people said, how has he carried that over throughout the summer and just this short time in fall camp?

JH: The same. He’s a great leader, he has a great personal pride – it’s very important to him. He loves the game, he loves to compete, loves to learn, loves football, l and when you do that you have a chance to be successful.  


Are any d-backs standing out to you here?

JH: We just had half of them out here this morning. Again, I think the whole group looks different -- I think they’re in physically better shape since we’ve been here. I think they’ve physically looked stronger -- I think they look different out there physically, and we’ll expect a lot from those older guys that have had some reps


What does it mean to bolster that depth with Mackenro Alexander and Everett Edwards?

JH: Well it helps you. We’ll get a chance to see those guys a little bit this afternoon. We haven’t seen them they haven’t played so we’ll get a chance to really see them out there, and we’ll see how they fit in. Again they’re just out there. They’ve been here in the summer they’ve just learned a little bit. I think the biggest things is to give them an opportunity to teach them, let them learn, then see how they fit in. But it helps they’re older means they’ve had some reps .

How helpful is it having a guy like Allen Lazard? Having your guys go against him? And Mike Warren who’s quick and dicey, how big does that help you guys?

JH: It’s priceless, I think it’s priceless. The better you play against in practice, the easier it is to play. I told our guys yesterday – you’ve heard the saying – you can’t rise to the level of your opponent you got to rise to the level you play in practice at, and that just real. You don’t go to games – the better those guys are you see in practice and the more issues you see the better your team gets on defense, and hopefully we give our guys a lot of looks and different things that creates problems for them – those things just make you better as football team without question.




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