McCarney Big 12 Teleconference

Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney met with the Big 12 media via teleconference Monday morning to discuss the Cyclones' loss at Colorado, and look ahead to their road contest in Waco against Baylor on Saturday. Here is a complete transcription.

Opening comments:

"We lost a game to a real fine Colorado football team. Congratulations to them. I thought it was a hard-fought game, and tremendous effort by both teams. Our defense was really outstanding most of the game. Colorado scored a touchdown after a turnover from the 11-yard line the first five minutes of the game, and then we held them without a touchdown for the next 55 minutes. So there were some good things there defensively. Offensively, we put up over 400 yards. But we clearly felt like we hurt ourselves a lot on offense and special teams.

"Credit Colorado to make the plays. Mason Crosby was unbelievable. I don't know if I've ever seen anything like that. We miss a 22- and 25-yard field goal, and Crosby hits a 60 and 54-yarder, along with a couple other ones. He was very outstanding and deserving of the Big 12 special teams player of the week.

"I'm looking forward to playing at Baylor. Guy Morriss has done a lot of really good things in the short time he's been at Baylor. He gets tremendous effort out of his players. They did some really good things, even in that loss at Nebraska. They put up three touchdowns in the third quarter alone. We know it's going to be a spirited, enthusiastic, hard-fought game ahead of us Saturday. We're looking forward to it."

On similarities between situations at ISU and Baylor:

"I think there are a lot of them. Guy has 14 starters back, but there are not a lot of seniors on that roster. It's a very young football team. Of course this is the youngest team I've had since I've been at Iowa State. Especially on offense, a lot of our top kids are freshmen and sophomores. You see both teams gradually getting better.

"I think both of these teams will feel like going into the game that they really have a chance. I think it's going to make for a great matchup. It's no television. ESPN Gameday may not be talking about our game, but it sure doesn't take anything from how we feel about this game."

On any surprise that Baylor hasn't taken off in Big 12:

"There is no question that everyone knows Baylor has improved since Guy Morriss took the job. You clearly see that. Then you look around our league and see the talent and unbelievable teams and coaching staffs that we have in the Big 12, and it makes everybody's job tough. Everybody realistically has a shot every week. That's what we felt every week. It came down to the last series of the game, and Colorado ended up winning. I think there is a lot of that in this conference. Guy is a tremendous coach and leader. Baylor is lucky to have him."

On Bret Meyer playing whole game again Saturday:

"He'll start and we'll see how the game goes. He grew again as a quarterback last week, and made some real good decisions and throws. He had a chance at a really big day, but we had some drops that could have made us even better from a pass efficiency standpoint. I'm real proud of him. For a freshman out there in the Big 12 Conference, he clearly improved Saturday and got better. I'm looking forward to him making improvement again this week."

On Josh Griebahn's status:

"We'll take a look at him this week. He started to kick a little bit last week. He had surgery on his foot in July. It was something that he had problems with over time since high school. It wasn't like he stepped off the curb and popped a bone in his foot. They finally did have to do surgery and put a pin in. I don't think we've had anybody work harder to get back than Josh. He hit some balls at practice last night and we'll take a look at him this week.

"With the obvious problems we've had with Tony Yelk being out of the lineup all season long, Josh will definitely be in the mix trying to be one of the guys that can maybe step on the field and kick for us."

On 4th-and-1 play that didn't work inside Colorado 10-yard line:

"Colorado's defense did a better job than our offensive front did. We want Stevie (Hicks) to get his pads down a little bit more when he runs the football. They just did a better job. They moved the line of scrimmage back and we didn't. In the end, they ended up getting a real important stop on that fourth down play."

On Todd Blythe being on verge of breaking record for freshman receiving touchdowns:

"He's got tremendous talent. He sure doesn't have a whole lot of experience. He's a redshirt freshman and played his first game against Northern Iowa. The potential is unbelievable for his future. I don't think Todd worries at all about any records or anything that happens now or in the future, other than trying to win football games. It comes from the heart when he talks about it.

"He's got a phenomenal future here. He's one of the best young receivers that I've ever been around on any football team that I've coached. His future is unlimited. He's competitive, tough, has great height, is athletic, and is learning that it's a total game that we ask you play as a wide receiver. It's not just going out there and jumping up on fade routes. It's being a blocker and a complete player. I couldn't be more proud of Todd and his progress up to date."

On Nebraska possibly being down:

"I couldn't agree that they are down. They have a lot of real fine players over there. I know that staff and coached with four of them at the University of Wisconsin. I don't sense anything that's down there. They looked awful good on tape against Baylor on Saturday.

"I think the Big 12 is as strong as it's been. I've been here from day one and there's no question in my mind this is the best and strongest from a talent, coaching staff, leadership, athletic directors, and head coaching standpoint. We've got one of the premier conferences in all of America."

On avoiding the ‘here we go again' attitude from setting in:

"It's our job. There is a lot to play for. We've only played three conference games with five of them yet to go. We have many snaps and Saturdays left to go that are real important. Our team and growth is important. That's not going to always be measured each week with a win.

"We'd love to do that and are trying to put ourselves in that position, but I want to make sure this team is improving, growing, and maturing. I think we're seeing that. It's small steps. I'm very disappointed with our loss Saturday, but there is no question we improved as a football team and had a number of opportunities to win the game."

On Baylor quarterback Dane King:

"He's an excellent player. He has a strong left arm. He's talented and has escapabilities back there when there is pressure. He's got a nice touch and throws nice deep balls. I'm very impressed with him. You can see why he was a junior college All-American and has earned that number one spot at Baylor."

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