ISU press conference report

Dan McCarney addressed the media on Tuesday in advance of this week's homecoming game against 20th-ranked Texas.

ISU pre Texas presser: Dan McCarney:

Opening comments:

"We just got things finalized with the pay-per-view, so it's another great opportunity for the Cyclone program to get national exposure. It's great for our fans around the country. It's the fifth or sixth time in the Big 12 they've done it and the first time at Iowa State. Anytime you can get people a chance a watch your program, fans and stadium on gameday, it's a great thing."

"Our special teams captain for this week will be Adam Benike. He has had a tremendous year so far, is 5-for-6 on field goals, and has hit all of his PATs, 16 out of 16. That kind of gets lost in the shuffle of some losses in recent weeks. He has really been consistent and done a heck of a job for us."

"We have got some guys questionable for this week, but James Wright was back last week and is doing fine. Bobby Montgomery got through the game and is doing fine. Matt Bockes is fine. Those guys are ready to go."

"It's day-to-day with Jordan Carstens, Harold Clewis and Nik Moser. We'll see how they do, come back and recover. Jordan tried to give it a shot and played two plays the other night. He just couldn't go the way he knew he needed to go. He's definitely further ahead right now than he was last week at this time. His chances are definitely improved. He'll get a little work tonight and a little more tomorrow. We'll see if he can be ready to go."

"We're going to evaluate the quarterback position the next few days to see who does the best job of leading, practicing, being most efficient and making the most plays. In the end, we'll see which quarterback gives us the best chance to beat Texas."

"To me, it's not a controversy. It's a competition. I know at quarterback it always seems to be controversy. At tackle, guard, punter, running back and tight end it's usually competition. But as soon as a quarterback job is open, it's controversy."

"Texas has tremendous talent. Mack Brown is one of the best coaches through a lot of years as a head coach. He'll be in the hall of fame one day, I don't think there's any question with all that he's done at every program he's been with.

"Texas is really talented. They've had basically three blowouts where they just basically blew three teams off the field, they had a big victory over Kansas State and then a very tough loss to Oklahoma. It sure doesn't hide the talent they have in losing a couple games, because they're an extremely talented team when you look at them on tape. They have some of the best players in college football on their team. They're one of the biggest, most physical and fastest teams in our league."

"We're proud of the young kids on this team. We have 15 freshmen, either true or redshirt that have played in recent weeks. Some of them have played and some have started. Those kids are making progress. They are making mistakes, but we knew that. You can really see some genuine improvement in all of those young guys."

"There aren't any teams in the Big 12 North that are undefeated, so to say that we still couldn't finish with a lot of good things and that there's not a lot to play for is ridiculous. There are still a lot of rewards to play for."

"It's not an excuse, but we have gone through number one, number nine, number 12 and number 23 that are on the polls right now, and we've got number 20 coming in and they were in the top 10 at one time. I've got to keep that in mind, too, when I evaluate this team and where we're at right now."

On Cris Love getting another opportunity:

"From my standpoint, it just means that we haven't lost faith in him and we are still going to give him a real good opportunity to be a number one quarterback, both because he has improved in practice and Austin (Flynn) has struggled some against some really outstanding football teams and good defenses.

"It shows with the kind of character he has. It's real quality character and he handled the mistake he made like a man. He has a lot of faith in himself to come back and help this team. He got that chance on Saturday and may get a chance to do it again this week."

On offense with Love versus Flynn at QB:

"Our offense is designed to do some things with the quarterback besides just throwing the ball. Cris is not a big staff. He runs a lot better than some tall, rangy quarterbacks do. Some of them just don't have real good speed, but Cris can pull it down and run. We won't change it up much. We've just got to do what we think we can do best with our personnel versus Texas' to score more points than they do."

On playing two quarterbacks:

"I'd like to settle on one if I can. We ended up playing two last week and it wasn't in the plans. We didn't have any frequency of decisions that Cris would be in the game. We want to play, hope that we can, but both of them have to be ready. But if we can keep defenses guessing and that's what it takes and what we want to feature with those two quarterbacks, we'll do it."

On Flynn's taking of new situation:

"It's never easy. He's disappointed and disappointed in himself. But he's not walking around here with his head down. We're going to keep fighting and coaching with as much passion and mission as we ever have as a staff, and you want your players to do the same thing. But do they respond that way and react that way? I think Austin will. I expect him to come back, really fight for that job and try getting it back."

On decision to bench Flynn last week:

"It's missing on some throws. The second play of the game, there wasn't anybody within 15 yards of James Wright. He's right down the middle of the field. It's a touchdown. We're right where we should have been – in the end zone. We missed on another screen throw.

"It was just some execution things, but it wasn't just Saturday. We've been evaluating since the Northern Illinois game? Is there an opportunity for one of those other quarterbacks to make more plays. We're hoping for more consistency out of our quarterbacks. Our third-down efficiency has not been near as good as it needs to be. I think we were one of the top two teams in the league last year on third down, and we're one of the worst this year. All of that doesn't come back to your quarterback, but some of it does.

"We don't want to make any more out of this than it is. It's just a situation where we're trying to be more efficient, productive and score more points. We're very disappointed through six games where we are offensively. We've got to be better. If that's Austin, great. If that's Cris coming in, great. If that's both of them, great."

On playing Texas close in recent years:

"I can't tell you why we have. With some teams that we have had as much talent, or maybe more talent or less talent, we haven't done quite as well. But for some reason, it has been 44-41 and 21-10 down there last year. We've played good football. We're counting that we can go out and get that same kind of effort and confidence, and we're going to have to because Texas is a tremendous football team.

"As far as the mood of Texas, I'm sure they're going to really ready to play and take it out on Iowa State. It's hard for me to evaluate that. But we're disappointed and real upset. We got spanked in the second half down in Lubbock. We don't like that and are going to try to come back, do a better job and win this game. I'm more concerned with the confidence, mindset and approach of this team."

On more young players contributing:

"Some of them redshirted that have had a role this year, but we knew there was going to be some young kids playing on this team. But we also didn't expect to have as many guys missing games, some permanently or some temporarily like Luke Vander Sanden. We hoped to have him back, but he won't be back this week. There are lots of examples.

"There is a blend of seniors that are playing and more freshmen that we have had playing since we've been here. But I can assure you that we're not building for the future, and that any decision I make right now is not for 2004. It's all for winning this game, beating Texas, and going to a fourth-straight bowl."

On first challenge when taking over job at ISU:

"I think the first thing was try to rally the Cyclone Nation around our program and make football important again at Iowa State. That was one of the most important challenges – to feel good about the program, knowing that it was not going to happen real fast. Stick with me, hang with me, hang with my staff, hang with the program, hang with the system. We'll get this thing where we want it to be some day."

On Montgomery's handling move from guard to center:

"He is the ultimate team guy. That is not easy. Going in there and snapping the ball, as well as snapping shotgun snaps. Those are not things he normally does. We go into practice and we go center-quarterback exchanges, and he gets a little work. But it's mostly all been guard since he's been here. But to jump in there, it's all about what he could do to help the team. And he despises losing. That's why I want so badly for these seniors like Bobby Montgomery to experience some more success in these last few weeks of the Big 12."

On Texas' two quarterbacks, Chance Mock and Vincent Young:

"Both of them are real talented and were recruited by every program in the nation. They both have strong arms. Chance has rushed for only 14 yards, and Vincent has almost 400. So it's obvious that one of them has more of a strength running the ball. But they both have guns for arms, can throw it and have NFL guys out on the edge running patterns. And it's the typical Texas offensive line.

"We really won't change much, other than we know when number 10 is in there's more of likelihood he'll pull it down and run. Young looks like a much bigger Seneca Wallace when he pulls it down and runs with it. When you see him make a lot of Oklahoma defenders miss last week, even in a loss, it shows you what kind of athlete he is."

On defense's excessive playing time:

"We need more three-and-outs on defense and less of them on offense. We had five three-and-outs on offense the other day, and that's too many. In a game like this, the more opportunities that we can stay out there and get down in the red zone, it's going to be real important. "Getting Jordan back on defense would increase our chances a bit. Matt Robertson got his first playing time coming back off the broken foot, and so did Dominique Flower. Those guys will all get better. Brent Curvey is playing much more than we ever thought he would. Jason Berryman bounced back and played over 100 snaps last weekend. But that's too many snaps on defense."


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