Dan McCarney Q&A (Part Two)

After the dust settled and crowd departed the Jacobson Building on signing day, CycloneNation.com sat down with Dan McCarney for some final thoughts on his 2004 recruiting class. Here's part two of a two-part question-and-answer session with the Cyclone head coach.

CN: As you mentioned before, the size of this class of defensive backs is great. How will that help you in the secondary when impact players like Josh Hargis, Jerry Gair and LaMarcus Hicks have such great size?

McCarney: Hargis and Gair had 19 interceptions between the two of them and led the country, and both of them will hit you. They're not just cover guys or guys with range that will go up there and make a break on the ball. They will come after you physically.

I'll never forget both of them, Gair playing safety and Hargis playing corner, some of the best hits from the secondary I saw all through evaluation were those two guys. Hargis broke the arm of a receiver in one of the games. It wasn't a cheat shot. He was in a backpedal in coverage and comes out of it breaking to the ball just like you want to. He hit him with such velocity and explosiveness that he broke the kid's arm. Obviously you don't like to see injuries, but it gives you an idea of his explosiveness as a tackler. He's all of 6-foot-2 and is really between that and 6-foot-3. We've got to put some weight on him.

I'd be real surprised if both those guys aren't on the field September 4th. Will they start, or are they swing guys and backups? That's for them to determined. But I'd be real surprised if they aren't contributing.

CN: Instate recruiting has been a priority since taking the job. How would you rate this class of Iowa kids that have become Cyclones?

McCarney: It's an outstanding group. With the exception of Fabian Dodd, Greg Coleman and Collins Eboh, all of those Iowa kids were in our camp. You might wonder about all these kids coming from small towns. Jordan Carstens…little town. Lane Danielsen…little town. Jack Whitver…fairly small town. Ryan Harklau…small town, Humboldt.

It has nothing to do with where they come from and what town. I've had so much success with kids from small towns. They have great loyalty, toughness, work ethic, attitude, accountability, and come in here and have good careers. I'm real excited about that Iowa bunch. You know me, I'm not going to invent players. We're going to find players in this state and recruit them. Our track record speaks for itself.

There's no doubt in my mind, in all of the evaluations, you look north, south, east and west in the state of Iowa, the two best skill kids were in Iowa City (Coleman) and West Des Moines Valley (Jason Scales). We signed them both and I'm thrilled with it.

CN: A majority of the offensive linemen in this class were here long before Barney Cotton was announced as offensive coordinator. How have the incoming freshmen built relationships with Cotton, and what does your new coach think of what he sees on tape of them?

McCarney: The big thing is there's lots of potential and a real high side with all of those guys. They've got great size, massive size and height. There are no little guys we have to put 40 or 50 pounds on. They've got to learn to play at this level. Barney jumped in and watched tape, he got on the phone, and then I sent him out with Terry Allen one day to get in the schools and homes to see those kids.

I told each of those kids when I let Marty Fine go that I'm going to hire an outstanding coach, person and a guy you're going to be proud to play for at Iowa State. I wanted them to see it first hand. I think the transition went well. With the exception of Brandon Johnson, those decisions were all made before Barney Cotton got here.

CN: One final thing, have you hired a special teams coach yet?

McCarney: I'll be finalizing that. I want some time with my staff to work through some things and we'll get that finalized in the near future. It will be handled within staff. I'm not anticipating any more changes. There are no guarantees in everything, but hopefully we're set for the season now with this staff. I'm excited about it.

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