McCarney Big 12 Teleconference

Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney spoke to the Big 12 media Monday via teleconference, looking ahead to his team's road trip to Nebraska, which blasted Texas A&M in Lincoln last weekend.

Opening comments:

"We played another tremendous football team this past Saturday in the Texas Longhorns. Congratulations to Mack Brown, his team and program. They're an outstanding football team and I think everybody around the country recognizes that. They're well-coached and have a lot of talent. They came in here ready to play and thoroughly dominated us in the first half of the football game. I was proud of our kids and coaches fighting back in the second half, and doing some good things. We'll pull those things out of the game and build on that to get ready for Nebraska."

"Nebraska is a tremendous football team, and another ranked team that we'll be playing this Saturday in one of the toughest environments in college football. Frank Solich has done a great job again this year. Their defense is leading our conference in just about every category. They're playing outstanding football. It's another great challenge for the Cyclones on Saturday, but we're looking forward to playing over in Lincoln, Nebraska."

On pressure on young offense to score points:

"The league is just loaded with tremendous offenses and talent and quarterbacks. I don't know that there's ever been a year where we've had the types of quarterbacks we have this year. It's an unbelievable collection of great players. Obviously they all lead their offenses, and that's one of the many reasons you're seeing a lot of points being scored.

"You can't get out there and get into a lot of three-and-out situations when you play these explosive offenses with your own offense. That's what we did in the first half Saturday, and the next thing you know we're down 27-0 at halftime. We only played 25 snaps of offense in the first half. You find out first-hand that if you don't sustain some drives, score some points and make some plays on offense, you're going to get into a deep hole against these types of teams we're playing."

On defensive players returning:

"Hopefully Harold Clewis and Andy Moser have a chance to come back – a few other starters that missed last week. That's the first game we haven't lost any players in the two-deep throughout the season. That's a positive. We didn't lose any new guys in last Saturday's game, so hopefully we'll take a more healthy team into the Nebraska game."

On starting quarterback versus Nebraska:

"Austin Flynn will definitely start over at Nebraska, barring any injuries in practice this week. We're coming out of the game Saturday with that decision made."

On any decision at tailback between Stevie Hicks and Michael Wagner:

"Wagner will start over at Nebraska, but Stevie will continue to get more playing time and more opportunities. It was almost 50-50, as far as their number of plays in the game Saturday. I think you'll continue to see that. Stevie Hicks, now that he's healthy, will get more and more playing time the rest of the season."

On Hicks' gradual move back to his previous form:

"In the last couple weeks he has come and practiced well and looked good. Those turf toes can be a nagging injury at any position, much less running back where you're cutting all the time. You saw him Saturday at full health and he did some good things in the second half."

On playing against Nebraska defense:

"Maybe we can get a few draft picks to help us move the ball on those guys this week. The Blackshirts are alive and well in Lincoln, Nebraska. They are playing lights-out defense. They forced eight turnovers against Texas A&M and are leading the nation with 29 turnovers. It's just fantastic defense. It's not just forcing turnovers. Their rush defense and pass defense are great. They're breaking on the ball. There are not a lot of open spots out there to throw the football. They're screaming to the football.

"We have to find a way to move the ball. There are no white flags going up around Ames. We're not giving in to anything. We've got to find a way and put ourselves in the position to move the ball and give our defense a break."

On Husker defense compared to last year's:

"Definitely, scheme-wise, it's different than it was a year ago. There are a lot of the same players that we coached against last year. Many of the same players are back, including a few that were injured at this time. They are really attacking defensively. Twenty-nine turnovers in seven games is almost unheard of. That's phenomenal. They're really to be commended for a great job so far."

On ISU quarterback situation compared to past years:

"We really had that the last three seasons with Seneca Wallace and Sage Rosenfels, who are both in the NFL now. Like always, you've got to have a pretty solid supporting cast. You've got to win as a team and be good with penalties and turnover ratio. But when you're still trying to make a decision in the sixth or seventh week on who your quarterback is, as we've been forced to do, you're going to struggle."


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