Pregame Quotebook: K-State

Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney and select players met with the local media for the Cyclones' weekly Tuesday press conference. Here is a complete transcription their comments.

Dan McCarney's opening comments:

"The special teams captain for Kansas State will be Tony Yelk. He has had a real good season overall as our punter, long field goal guy and kickoffs. He's very valuable to our football team, so I'm real glad we can honor him that way."

"The help has improved overall. Jordan Carstens and Bob Montgomery have really improved and look as close to 100 percent as I've seen them since they had their injuries. I'm very encouraged with those guys. They have really toughed it out playing the last couple games when they were not 100 percent, but they are getting very close right now."

"Harold Clewis and Luke Vander Sanden I think will be available. Neither one of them will start. We'll continue to get them more practice time as the week goes on, but I think both of those guys will be available on Saturday. If they have a setback during practice, then we'll hold them and get them ready for next week. Both of them are doing a good job and we'll see how things go in practice this week."

"It doesn't look like Nik Moser will be available this week. Hopefully he'll be ready by the Colorado game. We had him checked by the doctor and it looks like he'll sit out another game. But with the exception of the guys that are out for the season, this is about as healthy as we've been since the Ohio game."

"Kansas State is a tremendous football team. They're completely dominating people in recent weeks. They were picked preseason fifth in the country and there are a lot of reasons for that. A lot of that team is back. They lost a few players, but they've got a fine program. And many of the best players that Kansas State had on last season's outstanding team return. They're a very veteran football team and look like they're playing great football in recent weeks. They're outscoring people 39-17."

"Through a long season of 10 games, they're 7-3 right now. With the exception of when Ell Roberson was out of the lineup, they have really played outstanding football. We'll have a real challenge this week."

"Our kids are anxious and excited to play again. It's been a while since we were on a game field over there in Nebraska. We'll continue evaluating this week from a personnel standpoint and who's starting. There's not going to be lots of new faces in the starting lineup, but we've had more time to evaluate every special team and positions on offense and defense. There might be some playing time that's distributed differently on Saturday, based on what we see in practice this week. It's been very competitive and I'm real pleased with the way my kids have worked the past few days."

On K-State quarterback Roberson:

"He's one of the best running backs in the Big 12, obviously. He's one of the top four quarterbacks in the country from a rushing standpoint, he's got a gun for an arm and has all kinds of starts under his belt. He's very experience, but is one of those guys – like so many of the quarterbacks you've seen in recent years in our conference – that can get you with his arm and legs. He's clearly one of those guys, because he is a tremendous running back.

"With Darren Sproles and Roberson, they have two of the better running backs in the conference in the same backfield. Roberson can get you with play-action, drop-back or scrambles. He has a 52 to 53 percent completion average. He made a couple throws in the Baylor game that looked like stuff you see on Sundays. He put it in there where the coverage was real good. He's so dangerous and plays with great confidence."

"He missed the Marshall game and was just coming off the injury in the two close losses at Texas and Oklahoma State. They've just improved as a team, as all Bill Snyder's teams do this time of the year. They're getting better. They're tied for first in the Big 12 North and it's wide open. I'm sure they're going to come in here really ready to play on Saturday."

On outlook heading into final four games:

"We're not used to the things that have happened in recent weeks, but we're not dwelling on that. What we're dwelling on, talking about and focusing on is Kansas State and the finish to the season. We have the chance to play two more times on our home field. In the last four seasons we have had the best attendance in decades around Iowa State. The fans have been fantastic. We've had great attendance and great support from our fans, so we want to give them something to be really proud of these last few weeks of the season.

"Our kids understand that we're getting some guys back that either haven't been in the lineup much or had been gone for a while. They can see our team getting back closer to full strength and I think that encourages a lot of them."

On mental boost of getting healthier:

"It certainly does help. We'll see Saturday against a really outstanding Kansas State team. These kids want to be coached, are hungry, asking questions and are putting extra time into watching tape. It's the same things that we have seen in recent years from our football team that had a better record at this time of the year. It's not a bunch of deadheads and guys running around with this dark cloud of losing in recent weeks over their heads. They're anxious and excited to play."

On what position battles can lead to:

"I think it's real good. They know there's a realistic chance to play. When you're not satisfied with where we're at as a team, we're not going to go out there and turn the depth charts upside down. But we need to find the guys that are most consistent, practice the best, want it the most and are the hungriest. I like the ways these kids have competed.

"With Clewis coming back, it's wide open their at cornerback. DeAndre Jackson is one of those true freshmen that have been playing a lot of football. He's going to be hard to keep off the field and will definitely get more playing time, regardless of who is back in the lineup.

"At quarterback right now with Austin Flynn and Waye Terry, both of them know there's a good competition going. Those two guys are our top two quarterbacks going into this game. At running back with Mike Wagner and Stevie Hicks, it's going real good. With Luke back in the mix, he can play center or guard and helps us inside from a competition standpoint. At linebacker when you see Matt Robertson and Joe Woodley rotating and Brandon Brown and Chris Whitaker rotating, that's a good situation. Those are the ones that come to mind first."

On starter at quarterback for K-State:

"We're going to continue to evaluate as the week goes on. Waye really did some good things in that fourth quarter at Nebraska and has continued that in the three practices last week and last night. We'll continue to follow it and make a decision later in the week. Austin is taking the first reps with the ones, but we're rotating both of them with ones and twos. That's more because of Waye's improvement and grasp of the offense than Austin Flynn falling apart. Waye has really come on and I'm real encouraged."

On defensive play last time out:

"The performance of our defense was kind of lost in the shuffle over in that loss to Nebraska, because they did a lot of good things. There were a lot of snaps from scrimmage that we really played well. And the 28 points was not indicative of the way we played over there. The 317 yards and the things we did with two fourth-down stops and turnovers by Jason Berryman – those things were more indicative of the way our defense played rather than the final score."

On play of receivers this season:

"We've been so inconsistent with our offense overall. It's more that than truly an off year by a couple receivers or by that receiver position. We've had some drops. One drop is too many, much less a few of them. We've had a few plays that those receivers would liked to have had back, and caught the ball better in some situations. But overall they have done a good job. We haven't had quite the accuracy from the quarterback spot as we've been spoiled with the last few years with Seneca Wallace. That does make a difference. There haven't been as many throws right on the spot or right on the money as their was with Seneca. And at times the protection hasn't been as good.

"I'm looking for real good things out of those kids in the last half of this Big 12 season, because they're healthy, ready to go, excited to play and are anxious. When you have five seniors in their top five, those kids know their careers are winding down at Iowa State. How do you want to be remembered in your career at Iowa State."

On K-State physical presence:

"Physically, they've been better in the trenches. They've been better any way you look at it or measure it. They're a very physical football team and that's their style and the way they play. In the trenches it's been a mismatch in recent seasons with them. We're hoping it will be a better matchup this year, but we're going to have some guys out there that aren't as big or not as experienced as some of the guys they'll put on the field. It's a very experienced Kansas State football team.

"Those are things that are very disappointing to me and the coaches and to Matt McGettigan – when you say somebody is more physical. That's a fact. That's exactly the way it was. They were more physical."

On Snyder's attention to detail:

"There isn't anyone I've ever been around that's better at that. He's smart, motivated, hungry and has a plan. People will say that he's getting close to retirement I've got to believe are crazy. He's got a real good team and is coaching as good as he ever has. His health is good as far as I know. You talk about leaving a tremendous legacy at Kansas State and the coaching ranks, he can go out there and compare with anybody that ever coached the game."

On K-State defense versus run and pass:

"They've really been very sound and strong against all of them. A couple of teams, Marshall and Oklahoma State, probably ran the ball better than Bobby (Elliott) wanted them to against his defense. But they still look very physical, and the people they put on the field are very disruptive against the run, can pressure and their cover guys do an excellent job. They're still up there from a turnover-ratio standpoint.

"We have not been very consistent with either one of them, running the football or protecting, throwing and catching. But I sense like our football team has improved since the Nebraska game. That's what I see in practice and hopefully it will look like it on Saturday."

On the status of his assistant coaches:

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I get lots of emails and calls. They're not all supportive, but many of them are because I think they understand the big picture. I just don't make any decisions on any of those kinds of things until the end of the year, just like the president and athletic director won't make evaluations, hopefully, until the season is over. That's what we're evaluated on, the season and throughout the year. The real tangible things are wins and losses.

"I'm real proud of my staff. We've got 50 bowl games collectively on this coaching staff. We didn't turn dumb or stupid all of a sudden. We've had 28 television games over the last four years. The season ticket and student ticket sales are the best they've been in decades. The money we brought in, literally millions of dollars in recent years, I don't forget those things even though a lot of people may on the outside. I know what we've done to enhance and improve this program and athletic department. My staff has had a lot to do with that.

"But we're not sitting around and talking about the past as a coaching staff. We're trying to figure out what we need to do to do a better job this year and finish stronger. I believe in my staff. We're all very frustrated and disappointed with the recent weeks, but we're more determined than ever to do something about it. This is the same staff that had us in the top 10 in the country last year and eight weeks in the top 25."

On recruiting outlook with this season:

"When they see the success of the freshmen that played this year, the quality of that class, the fact we do give young guys opportunities, and that we could see four true freshmen starting this weekend and 15 or 16 total have played, they know that bodes well for the future. We're getting a lot of young guys experience. We recruited well in those classes. We had some misses in the sophomore and junior class. That's pretty evident when you're playing that many freshmen, but those are things we need to do a better job of. We need more classes like last year where it's hard to find a miss. There aren't many of them."

Jason Berryman on facing Roberson:

"He's a pretty good athlete and I've seen a few of them. I like how he works and the things he does. But I believe that we prepare for the best in teams, and that we'll come out and play strong as a defense. He's a quarterback that will tuck the ball away and run. We need to prepare for him like a running back and are not going to let up in any way."

Lane Danielsen on ISU's offense:

"I don't think anybody in the offense can feel like they've contributed as much as they through they could. As an offense we have struggled, and we don't want to point any fingers at any one position. As an offense, we haven't gotten it done. I'm going to leave it at that."

Erik Anderson on K-State's one-two punch of Roberson and Sproles:

"They've got to be the best three-loss team in the nation, watching them on film and over the last three years. Sproles has to be the quickest little running back in the Big 12...the most elusive, maybe. His size is real deceiving, because a lot of times you're trying to find him and you can't behind those big linemen. He'll be out of the gate. Roberson is unbelievably elusive and fast, and his passing has improved over the years. It's going to be tough."

Berryman speaks with reporters.

Lane Danielsen is poised to break ISU's all-time career receptions record this weekend.

Austin Flynn is faced with holding off resurgent quarterback Waye Terry.

Erik Anderson is optimistic after ISU's second half performance against Nebraska on defense.

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