McCarney Big 12 Teleconference

Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney met with the Big 12 media via teleconference Monday morning to look ahead to his team's bye week and pending matchup with Oklahoma State. Here is a complete transcription.

On philosophies on bye weeks:

"We have two of them this year, so it works out good for us. This is coming at a real good time, because we'll go back and self scout our first three games. We're 2-1 and have done some real good things, and some things poorly. It's a good time for us. We need some extra time to get ready for an outstanding Oklahoma State team, and hopefully get a few guys back in the lineup. Fortunately, we'll have one later on this season because we moved the Missouri game to after Thanksgiving. Hopefully that one will come at a real good time."

On Stevie Hicks and running game overall:

"We're disappointed through three games with our running game overall. We've got to do a better job. We've seen some good solid defenses. Iowa, despite their game with Arizona State, still has a real fine defense. Throughout the test of time and the rest of the season, people will see that. Northern Illinois has some real fine players and has done a lot of good things.

"We've got to do a better job of sustaining blocks and giving our running backs more opportunities. Despite the numbers, I still think we're a little better than we were last year at this time running the ball.

"Stevie Hicks has done some good things. His numbers aren't flashy or real impressive, but he has had some real tough runs and done some good things. In the fourth quarter Saturday he was at his best and had some real impressive runs that helped us win that football game.

"He's still a work in progress and still young in his career. He missed a lot of time last year in his freshman year with the injury, so he's not a real seasoned veteran yet. But I'm very pleased with his effort and attitude. He's a team guy all the way. He and Tyease Thompson have the chance to really go on and have fine careers here."

On some encouraging things thus far, and areas for improvement:

"There isn't a lot of surprises. I think there are probably more newcomers that have impacted this team. I didn't know that we would have that many, with some of the high school kids that have come in and done a nice job. I have never been afraid to put them on the field if they're mature enough and can play winning football.

"The things that concern me right now – Northern Illinois got a lot of big plays against us defensively. That's a concern. Defensively, not forcing any fumbles through three games is a real disappointment. Offensively, we need to be more efficient in the running game. We have done some good things from a protection and throwing-and-catching standpoint. Todd Blythe has done a real nice job for only playing three games in his career. But we have definitely got to do be more efficient running the football."

On running game picking up in fourth quarter Saturday:

"I think we wore them down and won the fourth quarter. It showed. We got down on the goal-line twice and scored both times. We were a good fourth-quarter football team, and throughout our first three games we have outscored our opponents 28-7 in the fourth quarter. Our out-of-season workouts, summer workouts, and preseason camp have made our team pretty good from a conditioning standpoint.

"All of that effected us. Our kids were really hungry once we blocked the punt. The momentum started coming back our way and the fans really reacted to it. It was a great atmosphere to come back and win the game."

On big plays on offense:

"We got three of them. We had some long throws from Bret Meyer to Todd Blythe, and a long run out of Stevie Hicks. We're sure not where we need to be yet, but we improved and increased our numbers of big plays. We're showing flashes. It was a game full of big plays for both teams Saturday, and fortunately we made more than they did."

On recruiting philosophy for kickers:

"We sure don't evaluate as many kickers as we do offensive linemen, or those kind of things. It's just one position. But we do try to be real thorough. That hasn't showed in our first three games. Honestly, Tony Yelk our starter has not played a snap yet. We hope to get him ready for the Oklahoma State game. I think he has a good chance to be.

"We're always constantly looking for either a scholarship kicker, punter, or a guy that would come in as a walk-on with the chance of earning a scholarship here. We put a lot of time into evaluating, trying to find them, and get them to our kicking camp. There is only so much you can see in a camp, but it's still good to see them with your own eyes and make an evaluation.

"It seems like there are more of them on a national scale that are going to kicking camps. They will go around and hit several one-day kicking camps to improve their fundamentals and be evaluated by that coaching staff.

"Every young man that has talent and feels like he can bring an awful lot to a program wants to be recruited and have a scholarship. He doesn't just want a handshake and an opportunity. But it's impossible to scholarship all of the kickers that are out there. A number of the best in college football are guys that started without a scholarship and made the most of the opportunity. But we're sure not shy about using a scholarship if we find the right one."

On evaluating kickers:

"It's not easy. It's a little bit different from high school to college, so you have to be as thorough as you can. You try to base a lot of it on high school coaches and the relationship you have with them and their recommendations. A lot of guys can go out there and do it all day in practice and scrimmages, but it's a whole new world when they get out in front of a big crowd. I know one thing, we've got to improve ours when this Big 12 Conference begins."

On how far defense has come in his years:

"We still have a long ways to go. A number of things were not good with our defense on Saturday, but there were a lot of good things. We scored twice on defense, got four interceptions, and had two fourth-down stops. Those are things you really build on. But we were way too loose on some things defensively, and had some mental errors and obvious breakdowns. There are lots of corrections to make. But like always, it's a heck of a lot easier going into that meeting room with the players to correct them after a win."

On any comparisons between Blythe and Lane Danielsen:

"There probably will be a lot more. Lane did it for a career and Todd has only played for three games. Todd is all of 6-foot-5. But the competitive stuff, the desire, work ethic, confidence, and character (are all comparable). Todd is a leader already just like Lane was young in his career. Lane came in as a walk-on and Todd came in as a heavily-recruited athlete. Both of them will be two of the better ones this school has ever had."

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