Spring Practice Thirteen Q&A

CycloneNation.com caught up with Dan McCarney following his team's latest spring scrimmage on Monday morning. Here is a question-and-answer session with Iowa State's head coach.

CN: Going into yesterday's final scrimmage leading up to the spring game, what were your observations of that?

McCarney: It was a run-emphasis practice, which is what we wanted to do. We got a lot out of it. I thought the rush offense improved and did some good things. Stevie Hicks and Jason Scales ran real hard. Scales missed Saturday so it was good for him to come back and do some good things. The longest run of the day was Jason. He broke a long one and accidentally stepped out of bounds going down the sideline, otherwise he would have scored.

It was a real good work day overall. It's never easy coming out of a Saturday scrimmage and get into a half-practice, half-scrimmage on Monday. But as they have all spring long, they came ready to play, ready to practice and ready to be coached. I thought we got a lot out of it.

Our quarterbacks did some good things. We got into some goal-line situations, and I thought our backs ran hard and our quarterbacks operated well. It wasn't a day where we were winging it all over the place. We went into it saying this was going to be a physical, rush offense and rush defense emphasis for practice and the scrimmage. That part of it was real productive.

CN: How did both sides of the ball perform in short-yardage situations?

McCarney: Our offense especially did a real good job down there. You always take a chance on injuries whenever you scrimmage goal-line, but you just have to get live looks at it. Our offense did a real good job and our backs and quarterbacks ran hard. The offense definitely had the edge down there in those situations.

CN: What about the defense's performance Monday?

McCarney: We were OK. We were not as good as we were Saturday. We were not as crisp and our tackling was not as good as it was Saturday. We only had one turnover all day, Stevie Paris had an interception. So the offense did a real good job of holding onto the football. But we got some real good tape to evaluate and teach off of. It's just a matter of getting enough time to go through it.

CN: There were a few changes in the depth chart on Tuesday, but some work is still left to be done.

McCarney: I don't like guys on the same line, so let's make a decision as soon as we can, if one of them really separates himself from another one. There are very few of those left on the depth charts, but that's when you can really measure it. It's game like, full speed, full tackling and they're still cutting out.

CN: Talk about the recent emergence of wide receiver Jon Davis.

McCarney: He's definitely improved and is catching the ball. When you get those big, tall guys like Jon Davis, Todd Blythe and Milan Moses, it's not easy to get under defender's pads all the time. It really takes time, teaching and fundamentals. It starts with bending your knees, getting down, being physical, playing with a good base and finishing blocks. He's not where we want him to be yet, but he's getting better. That's why he's on the same line (with Andy Kohler).

CN: What will be the focus of Wednesday's practice?

McCarney: It will be a lot of situational stuff and a real good physical practice with one-on-ones, inside, seven-on-seven and team pass. We'll get some work with our punt team and some real good moving the chains out there on the field.

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