FB Insider: Iowa Post-Game

Iowa State nearly came away from Kinnick Stadium with a victory Saturday afteroon, but came up short. With time to reflect on and review the Cyclone loss, former offensive lineman Bob Montgomery evaluates the effort in the second of a series of post-game reports.

CN: After such a tough loss to their in-state rival Saturday, what needs to happen mentally between now and the Northern Illinois game? How does this team rebound?

Montgomery: This team realizes that they should have won that game out there on Saturday. If a couple of plays are made the game turns out totally different. This team will bounce back nicely and begin to prepare for Northern Illinois as soon as possible. The mental preparation won't be much different then last week. If the team puts the time in they put in last week, they will be ready to battle NIU.

CN: Would it be easier for a young team with a lot of inexperience to rebound from an Iowa loss, or a cast full of veterans that have faced the Hawkeyes a few times? Why?

Montgomery: This staff relays the message of the importance of this game to the team very nicely, whether you are a rookie or a veteran. However, a veteran that has beaten Iowa before and only lost to them once, such as these seniors, will take this loss much harder then a rookie who has never felt the victory against the Hawks.

CN: Dan McCarney and his players said they would not accept a loss in this game. But what can this team pull out of a game like this and build on?

Montgomery: This team will build on the fact that they could have and maybe should have won the game this weekend. There is no way that Coach Mac or any player that he recruited would accept a loss no matter who they are playing. But Coach Mac and his staff will do a good job of finding the positives out of this game and accentuating those aspects while fixing the negatives.

A couple of the positives that I drew from the game on Saturday include the run defense, and a couple of the inexperienced offensive linemen played a good game. The negatives would include the rush offense and the field goal team.

CN: Did this contest play out as you had expected, with both defenses dominating?

Montgomery: The game played out exactly how everyone expected it to, however, as a former offensive player, I was hoping to see some more offensive productivity. All in all, when we look at both of the defenses, we see two great squads that will win their team some ball games down the road.

CN: How were the Cyclones able to hang around after the Hawkeyes took a two-touchdown lead early in the second half?

Montgomery: The character of the team really showed on Saturday. Having the ability to overcome a 14 point lead at Kinnick shows a great amount about this team. The Cyclones were able to hang in the game due to the fact that we had some key players step up and make some big plays. The experienced players that are expected to make plays did, while some of the new guys stepped up big.

CN: What type of rotation would you like to see at quarterback against Northern Illinois, in lieu of how Austin Flynn played Saturday?

Montgomery: I would like to see Austin get some more playing time in the first half due to the fact that he has produced on a high number of the drives that he has quarterbacked. I like each of the quarterback's abilities, but I like Austin's experience and confidence in going for the big play. I do like the rotation idea; it puts some excitement back into our offensive side of the ball.

CN: Did you get the feeling that the offensive line improved at Iowa? And how much did the loss of Luke Vander Sanden cost the unit?

Montgomery: I did see a nice improvement in the group as a whole. Aaron Brant did a nice job of keeping Matt Roth in check. The guys inside improved, but haven't reached their potential yet. Cale Stubbe also played another consistent game protecting the back side of our quarterbacks. I thought the protection on passes was decent and Bret could have stayed in the pocket a little longer.

On the other hand, the run blocking wasn't too impressive as the Hawkeyes swarmed to the ball. From what I saw of the game I believe that Brian Lutter played alright in replacement of Luke Vander Sanden, and I was happy that he got a chance to play at Kinnick. The loss of Luke, however, surely had an affect on the offense as a whole.

CN: What's your take on the chemistry that seems to be building on the defensive side of the ball?

Montgomery: It is a little more difficult to evaluate the chemistry of a defense when you don't play against them everyday in practice. However, from the sidelines it seems like a special relationship is forming amongst the members of this defense. There is a nice balance of experience surrounding our new big time middle linebacker Tim Dobbins. There is also a nice amount of depth that has not been there in the past.

CN: Who are some players that have really stood out to you, and made strides since last season?

Montgomery: I was really impressed with the play of Aaron Brant last weekend. I think he did a nice job of stepping up to the challenge of the All-American Matt Roth. Jon Davis and Todd Blythe both look like they put a good amount of time in this off-season, along with Stevie Hicks. On the defensive side of the ball, all of the linebackers led by Dobbins have been playing well, while Sean Moorehead has been a pleasant surprise. The defensive backs have also been playing really well , but I see Nick Leaders leading the way on defense.

CN: Is it time for a change in the secondary, where DeAndre Jackson struggled mightily and JUCO transfer LaMarcus Hicks has been solid as a backup?

Montgomery: I did not see DeAndre get beat too bad on Saturday; I saw the Hawk receivers make a couple of extraordinary plays with our D-backs all over them. All DeAndre may need to work on is seeing the ball and making the big play. I am also excited about Hicks; he is a great athlete with the instinctive characteristics of a hard hitter and great cover man.

CN: What are some things the punt team has cleaned up since last season's debacle in Ames?

Montgomery: I believe that a great amount of emphasis was put on the punt team after last season. A lot of time was spent researching punt protection and how to teach. Also, the players realized that it wasn't only the type of protection but the lack of concentration that lead to the breakdown last year. So I am sure some extra time was put in by the players.

CN: Do you think Brian Jansen was given too many opportunities in the kicking game, or was Coach McCarney's hands tied as to what he could do?

Montgomery: I believe it was the only way that Coach Mac could go. Brian must have done something that impressed Coach Mac, seeing that he is really tough on his kickers. Looking at the field position I believe that Jansen wasn't given too many opportunities he feasibly should have made all of the Field Goal attempts.

CN: Other than this department, how would you grade the special teams as a whole?

Montgomery: The special teams as a whole were very consistent. The punts and the protection were much improved compared to last year while the kickoff and kickoff return teams didn't see much action due to the low scoring game. The punt return also nearly blocked a couple punts and hurried the punter's last punt of the game.

CN: Give us your early take on the Northern Illinois game. What can we expect from the Huskies?

Montgomery: The Huskies will be very confident after beating us last year at their place. They are coming off a tough win against their intrastate rival Southern Illinois and will be ready to continue their winning ways. The Huskies are a confident team that believes they should win every game they play. They will come into Jack Trice thinking no different. We can expect a hard fought physical game that lasts four quarters.

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