McCarney Big 12 Teleconference

Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney spoke to the Big 12 media Monday via teleconference, with his team coming up on a weekend matchup with Colorado. Here is a complete transcription.

Opening comments:

"We're very disappointed with our loss to Kansas State. They're an excellent 8-3 football team and are very explosive, athletic, well-coached and are the typical Bill Snyder team. They continue to get better and always seem to be playing great football come November in that last month of the Big 12 season.

"We've got our last home game this week against Colorado. They're the two-time defending Big 12 North champs and are really improving. That was a tremendous victory over an outstanding Missouri team for Gary (Barnett) out in Boulder this past week. They've really had a great road record over the years under Gary's leadership. There are still a lot of players that had a lot to do with that Big 12 North championship the past few years coming in here. We've got our hands full. We've got a tremendous group of seniors that are playing their last home game here at Jack Trice Stadium. We're looking forward to this game."

On playing spoiler role now:

"We'll find out, I guess. I don't like the role of spoiler. We've been in the hunt for postseason play and been involved in postseason play the last three years, and there is some finality after losing Saturday. That's not possible for us this year. We're very disappointed with that.

"Still, I think great character is in this program. We've got a real good foundation in place. Even though some of the goals that we wanted to achieve are now gone, we're still playing for an awful lot. It's more than just going out and trying to play hard. We've got a lot of great fans and great people at this University to represent out there on the field, and we're going to try and make them proud."

On philosophy of not forgetting juniors and seniors, and playing for present:

"We're going to do everything we can to finish as strong as we can this year. We're playing a lot of young guys, with as many eight freshmen starting and four true freshmen. We do have a good blend of young guys. But there are some really fine upperclassmen, some older guys in this group of seniors, that mean an awful lot to me and to Iowa State. Even though this year we didn't take the program places it hadn't been before, they still had a lot to do with that in past seasons when we have.

"We're sure not going to start talking about who can do the best job at getting us ready for 2004. We're trying to finish as strong as we can, put these kids in the best position to win games this year and to finish this season on some positive notes. It has nothing to do with 2004."

On any improvement with team in recent weeks:

"It's hard to find, there's no doubt about it. Part of that is because of the quality of competition. It's been a tough run here with some of these teams in recent weeks – Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska and Kansas State. It goes on and on. I would say that on tape, Colorado has shown more improvement in recent weeks than we have. They really struggled defensively early in the season and were giving up a lot of points. Then you look at their last few games. They gave up only 16 points to Missouri, 26 to Texas and 34 to Oklahoma. They played Oklahoma better than anybody else has all year long."

On outlook at starting quarterback this week:

"It looks very good that we'll start Waye Terry again this week after watching game tape. We'll continue to evaluate how important practices are to coaches and their preparation and performance out here on the practice field. Coming out of Saturday's game, I'd say we're leaning very heavily towards giving Waye Terry his second start."

On Lance Young's status:

"He did get hurt, but he'll be fine. He didn't play the entire the second half Saturday. He was sky high going up for a ball and came down and landed the wrong way. He'll practice all week and be ready to play."

On Stevie Hicks building on 31-yard run:

"No question. We need to try and do more of that. That's one of the things we've really been missing with this offense this year – more runs, bigger runs and making guys miss. He did that in that play. Real good running backs have to do more than that. You're not going to knock down seven, eight, nine other guys down every time. With the way people cheat guys into the box, you're going to have to make people miss. Stevie did that on that play and we're hoping he can do more of that in the final three games."

On injuries playing a role in demise:

"Like always, you're looking for continuity and consistency in your team. That starts out at practice and who's there and not there. We've had too many of them this year. It's a shame. It's impacted the season. It's not the only thing, but it's been something that hurt us. I feel a lot worse for the kids than the overall record of the team. All of those kids worked so hard and missed time. Six of them are out for the year and there's other ones – 19 – that have missed games this year.

"But the ones that are there are giving us all they've got. They still played hard. It wasn't reflective in the score against Kansas State, but the kids are playing real hard for this coaching staff."

On certain improvements needed on team:

"We're continually trying to improve our fundamentals. It's really fun to be around some of these freshmen that are playing for us, because you really do see improvement. It's hard to find in some of these scores in recent weeks, but individually when you look at some of our guys, Jason Berryman is having a tremendous year as a true freshman. He had 13 tackles, two of them for loss the other day against an outstanding Kansas State football team.

"There's a lot of room to improve. We're not getting the turnovers that we need, although we're fifth in the conference from a turnover-ratio standpoint. We're always striving to do a better job of that.

"I still see a lot of players really hungry to be coached and I see a coaching staff that is working as hard as we ever have to get back on the field, and try to help these kids improve."


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