Vander Sanden: Confidence Huge in ISU's Turnaround

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Fifth-year senior offensive lineman Luke Vander Sanden has seen the good and the bad in ISU's football program, and fortunately he and his tean's fortunes have turned back to good. The captain spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon about everything from the offense's recent success to his future as a Cyclone. Here is a question-and-answer session with Vander Sanden.

CN: Have you given any thought to applying for a sixth season of eligibility?

Luke Vander Sanden: It's always been in the back of my head, but to be honest with you, I haven't given it a whole lot of thought. I just kind of want to go out and enjoy my senior season and take it as my last season. Then, if the opportunity arises, I may want to come back and have a sixth year. Right now I'm just focused on finishing out my senior year and playing like it's my last.

CN: At the end of this season, would you weigh the positives and negatives of a comeback?

Vander Sanden: I would definitely look at how I feel physically. Obviously I have been through a lot. I still enjoy it and love it here. There is life beyond football, and I have to look at that in my own terms of health, too.

CN: How close are you to graduating with a Bachelor's Degree?

Vander Sanden: I will graduate this May, and am already taking a (Grad School) class right now. So that's something to look into if I would come back – going to Grad School.

CN: Switching gears a little bit, what's this team's mindset coming out of the bye week?

Vander Sanden: Everyone is excited to get back on the field. Personally, I don't like bye weeks. You kind of get out of a routine. It's going to be good to get back out on the field.

CN: Talk about the good feelings around the football program right now, given the opportunity the team has.

Vander Sanden: Obviously, coming off last year, there was all kinds of room for improvement. I think it's a player's dream to be in our position right now. If it wasn't, then you'd be selling yourself short. There is a lot of confidence that's grown throughout the team from a month ago.

CN: Has Coach McCarney brought in any former players in recent weeks for pre-game pep talks?

Vander Sanden: To be honest with you, we haven't had anyone other than President Geoffroy coming in to talk to us a couple weeks ago. He wasn't really a motivation. He just came in and appreciated what we've done so far. Nothing to downgrade Dr. Geoffroy, but he just came in and told us how proud he is and to keep it rolling.

CN: After past years in which the team has unraveled in Manhattan, what's got to be the difference this year?

Vander Sanden: They've still got a great team. Their record doesn't reflect that at all. I think a lot of you guys could agree with me on that. It's going to come down to who is the most physical team. That's going to be the outcome of the game.

CN: Some good Cyclone teams of past seasons have been blown out by K-State. Why is that?

Vander Sanden: I don't see how we weren't ready in the past years. You're going into a game ready. What it's come down to in past years is who is the most physical team. That's what it's going to take.

CN: But has this team faced a mental block as well against the Wildcats?

Vander Sanden: Especially going into a hostile environment like that, you've got to bring a lot of confidence in. It's almost like your team them and their fans. Their fans are just as much a factor as playing them. You've got to stay composed and bring confidence down there.

CN: Looking back on this three-game winning streak, how much of a key was that drive against Baylor?

Vander Sanden: I think that was huge for a confidence builder for our team. The offense had been struggling at that point of the year, and that drive brought a lot of confidence to the offense. That carried over to the other two phases of the team. When the game is on the line and you're in a position when you have an opportunity, you've got to go make plays. We've done that.

CN: What about Bret Meyer's emergence at quarterback since that point?

Vander Sanden: He's a young guy, too. We always talk about midseason and there are no rookies on this team. He's got as much confidence as anyone on the team. That's huge at the quarterback position, because that's the natural leader of the offense.

CN: How has Bret Culbertson's kicking given the offense a more positive feeling?

Vander Sanden: That's huge that we have him. But as an offense we still not to rely on the kicking game and field goals. But if it comes down to that and we have to put points on the board, everybody on the team has a lot of confidence in Bret.


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