ISU vs. A&M Postgame Quotebook

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney and select players reflect on their 34-3 loss to Texas A&M Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium.

Dan McCarney:

"Texas A&M is really an outstanding football team. The last three weeks of the season, I thought they were playing as well as anybody in our league and they looked like it again tonight. They've got good players, good talent, a good system, and good depth. They're one of the most improved teams around over a year ago. They're really a high quality football team. Coach Franchione has done a great job, and the improvement is tremendous. There is no doubt they'll go on and win a number of more games."

"I'm disappointed with the outcome of the game. There weren't any injuries that should hold anybody out of the Colorado game. There is nothing serious at all. Bret Meyer and Todd Blythe got dinged. We have a certain testing procedure we put all those guys through before we can put them back on the field. Bret could have gone back out there in the fourth quarter, but it's a decision I made to keep him out. That's why Austin Flynn stayed in the game the entire second half. Todd Blythe will be fine. Cephus Johnson tried to go. It's not painful, but we want to make sure he's got 100 percent strength. He needs to be ready this week for Colorado. With Tony Yelk, we'll see how things go."

"This isn't the second or third week of November; we still have lots of football to play. We've got to pull up the bootstraps, every coach and every player has to roll up their sleeves higher, tighter, and faster. We're going to face some teams now that are going to be just as hungry as we are right now. Colorado is coming off a couple losses and so are we. It's going to be a very important game for us this week.

"As a head coach you don't like going (into the locker room). There is nothing you can say to make a staff or football team feel better after you lose, but we have got to continue to mature, improve, learn from our mistakes, and get better. We've got a lot of Big 12 snaps and games yet to be played."

"We have to trust in each other, the staff, believe in each other, and know there are a lot of games to be played. We think this is the best conference in college football. We faced two outstanding football teams the last two weeks. They played better, were coached better, made more plays, had more players, and had more depth. All of us need to do a better job this week. The strongest message I can send is that there are a lot more games to be played. We've got to bow our necks and come back and do a better job this week. I really believe that we can."

"(Reggie McNeal) is a tremendous quarterback. Those are the type of quarterbacks we like recruiting. I know he's been in and out of some struggles the last couple years. Now all of a sudden he's a junior playing with tremendous confidence. He really looked like an outstanding Big 12 quarterback out there. There were three or four times when it looked like we clearly should have had him, but a lot of defenses are going to say the same thing. He's a real gifted athlete."

"He's playing in a system with confidence, knows what he's doing, and rarely makes any bad decisions watching him play from the sidelines. Again, they didn't turn it over. They're second in the nation in turnover ratio, and we didn't do a good enough job of getting it. They protect the ball very well."

"It seems like there is a big door that we've got to knock down in the red zone right now, and we're not doing that. We did move the ball at times, but this is an offense that's all about points. It's not time-of-possession or yards. We have not done a good job. Ten points in the past two games is not what we're looking for. We've got to do a better job. When we got down there in those situations we stalled."

(On McNeal escaping safety deep in A&M territory): "It's backed up. We almost had him for a safety down there. It was a brilliant play by Reggie to get out of there. Then they go 98 yards. You talk about giving your team a shot of confidence from that standpoint. The game sure isn't over, but it's great execution on their part. We did not get off the field. Then they have a little more space, air, and point differential in that football game."

"I think we improved (in protection up front). There were some times we did some things better. Our offensive line did some things better this week. We have to build on those things. I could see from the sidelines that Aaron Brant definitely improved from a week ago. He definitely did some good things. That offensive line, at times, when they were bringing blitzes, I thought we did a nice job, communicated well, and picked up some of those things. We're a work in progress and we need to step it up."

"We had made some progress. When you come up short on the scoreboard offensively, where we haven't scored a lot of points, it's easy to say that they stink. I did sense that we improved over a week ago offensively, and A&M has a pretty darn good defense. But we've got to execute better. When we get in the red zone, it's clearly an area where we need to make a lot of improvement. When we get down in the red zone, we need to score points and get in the end zone."

"But I can't let these last two weeks affect next week. It's one thing saying that, and another thing doing it. There are a lot of games to be played, and a lot of opportunities. We need to learn from today, move on, move forward, improve, and put ourselves in position to win some games these last six weeks."

"Their coverage was good (against Todd Blythe). We misfired and underthrew him a couple of times. He's at his best when the ball is up there and it's a jump ball and he has a chance to get it. But I think they did a nice job with their coverage. But my money is on Todd Blythe as this season goes on. He's going to make some big plays and big catches. His touchdowns aren't through for the season."

Nick Leaders:

"We watched film and (McNeal) was a good passer. We didn't get enough pressure on him. When he sits back there, he throws it about as good as anybody in the nation. But you've also got to be careful in your lane, and can't get too far out because if you do he's going to take it straight up the middle. It's pretty much a lose-lose situation going against somebody like that."

"It's disappointing. We've got a different team this year and we expect different results. It hasn't shown on the scoreboard yet. We know we're making progress and have to get a few breaks to go our way. We need to play a clean game and hopefully we can get one next week."

"We've got to pick it up in practice all week. We can't remember what happened in the past. We've got to forget that and go on to next week. Hopefully we can go out to Colorado and get a win. With a lot of young players, we'll need to get the crowd out of it early and turn it into a good game."

Bret Meyer:

"We're not doing a very good job of finishing drives. We've got an improved offense, but we have to get better every week. It's frustrating right now, but I think every player on this offense believes in each other and their own abilities. I don't think it's going to be damaging, but it's frustrating. We need to bounce back and score some points to help our defense out."

Jon Davis:

"They brought a little bit on a couple of certain packages we do. We made the adjustment and it started to work out pretty well. I don't think there blitzes were that much of a problem. This is the first team that played man, that close to us. Other teams just bailed or played off of us all the time. This is the first team that did that. It posed a little problem in the beginning, and we had to adjust."

"We're feeling like we're really close. It may not look like it, but we know that we can play with these teams. We need to put it all together. We're doing certain aspects well, but are slacking off in others. When we get it all together at one time, we'll be alright."

Brandon Brown:

"We played better in earlier games during this year. We let them come out and get a quick start on us. We weren't doing our jobs to start the game. We weren't as focused as we should have been, so we've got to focus more, get better this week, and prepare for Colorado."

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