Brant: ISU Must Penetrate Imaginary Wall

Offensive lineman Aaron Brant spoke with the media Monday afternoon about everything from the struggles of the unit to how coordinator Barney Cotton has tried to get them through it. Here is a question-and-answer session with the sophomore tackle.

CN: How frustrating has it been for this offense to bog down in an opponent's red zone?

Aaron Brant: It's very frustrating, because you're out there to score points and get the ball down the field. You can do all of the other stuff, but can't get it in the red zone. It nullifies and eliminates everything you do. We've got to get the ball in the end zone one way or another.

CN: Can you put your finger on what it is that's keeping this unit from breaking through?

Brant: It's a little thing every now and then. Maybe on one play 10 guys do their job right and one guy messes up. That's kind of the story it was earlier in the season. Now we're getting most of those problems corrected. But there's still something down there, maybe an imaginary wall that's stopping us.

I think we're very close. We only put up three points on Saturday, but we still moved the ball better than we have in the past few games. We've got some things there to build on. We've seen the offense move the ball and know we can do it, but it's just putting it in the end zone and finishing a drive.

CN: What do you mean by an imaginary wall? Is it the defense having less field to work?

Brant: I don't really know what it is. We've been able to move the ball. I don't think we're gassed out. I think we're still fine. Who knows what it is right now. We need to put it in the end zone this week.

CN: Is it something where once you're able to do it the first time that it will become like clockwork?

Brant: I think if we can get in there and get a score early, that would build some confidence. Maybe we can get those next few scores a little easier. Maybe we could also wear out the confidence of the opponent's defense while we're at it. Whatever it is, we've got to put it in the end zone.

CN: What kind of approach has offensive coordinator Barney Cotton taken with the group?

Brant: He wants us to keep coming to work every day and keep practicing. We've got the talent, guys, and playmakers to do good things here. We've just got to keep going out there and working hard. He emphasizes the importance of getting in there every day to watch film on our own, and coming in with the other guys the day after practice. He wants us to make sure we do a good report on your guy. Whatever edge you can get on your guy, you want to do. Coach Cotton really emphasizes watching film to find anything that can help you out.

CN: Does his approach differ from what Coach Steve Brickey had a year ago?

Brant: It's the same, but I think Coach Cotton emphasizes it a lot more. He's more of a guy that, once you get your job done, he wants you to come to work every day.

CN: How much of a factor is play calling in the red zone, versus being tough and quick?

Brant: The plays we call are meant to get in the end zone. That's what offenses are, one way or another. Plays are designed to get you in the end zone. It really doesn't matter what the plays are, we've just got to put it in the end zone as players. If it comes down to requiring a trick play or something else to get it in the end zone, that's what we have to do. But for right now, I don't think there is anything wrong with the plays we're calling. The opportunities are there, and it hasn't worked out like we have wanted to.

CN: Although the defense and special teams scored three touchdowns against Northern Illinois, the offense still put up a lot of points and yards in the game. What has happened to this group since that game?

Brant: Different teams play different defenses. We have to make different adjustments for how the defense plays. Some of that has to do with it. But it comes down to execution. We can't point fingers at anyone else. It's our responsibility to score points. We can't do it one week and not do it the next. We're not going to have a good season that way. It comes down to us executing on offense.

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