Hobbs: Team Play Makes Difference for '04 Cyclones

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Veteran senior cornerback Ellis Hobbs says his team won't be paying much attention to Friday's Nebraska-Colorado game, but instead to the Missouri gameplan. The captain spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon about the Cyclones' remarkable turnaround. Here is a question-and-answer session with Hobbs.

CN: What does the practice schedule look like for Friday, when the Nebraska-Colorado game will be going on?

Ellis Hobbs: The practice schedule is kind of hectic. I think we have to be here at Noon and will be here all day. We're going to relax in the evening and go catch a movie with the team. We'll pretty much be here all day from Noon until going to the movie.

CN: So you guys should purposely be oblivious to what goes on in Lincoln?

Hobbs: Coach Mac made that real known after the game Saturday. He didn't want us thinking nothing about that. That has nothing to do with us. If we go out there and take care of business on Saturday, then Colorado and Nebraska don't matter for us. Right now, we have the best of both worlds because we have control of our destiny. Whatever we do on Saturday effects everybody else, and everybody else doesn't effect us. That's the great thing about it.

CN: It sounds as if the team covered all of those scenarios on Sunday, but then it's on to Missouri. How does that work?

Hobbs: It helps tremendously. That's how we've been doing it all season. Regardless of if we win or lose, we take care of it in the meeting room and then leave it here. We go onto the field training and preparing for the next opponent. That kind of focus, where we're just taking it one step at a time, one game at a time, and one opponent at a time, has worked so far.

CN: Could better bowl position be another incentive for playing well on Saturday?

Hobbs: You all can think about that. We're going towards the same goal as what you're thinking right now, but we're not thinking about that. We're thinking about winning the game. For every action there is a reaction. When we win this game, then the reaction is we could have a better bowl game. But if we put our focus on the bowl game itself and forget we have to go play a Missouri team that's pretty good, regardless of the record, then we're going to go out there and get beat Saturday.

CN: Plus, doesn't 7-4 sound much better than 6-5?

Hobbs: Tremendously better. Anytime you can go out there, each win sounds way better. It's just like starting a season off 1-0 or 0-1. A win is a win, so 7-4 sounds way better.

CN: Everyone knows Missouri has lost five in a row, but it still has quarterback Brad Smith under center. Do you still look at them as being dangerous?

Hobbs: We look at them like K-State. Regardless of the record, these teams are good. Somewhere in their season something went wrong. I don't know what it was, but these are still great players at these schools. This is the Big 12 Conference and anybody can win. If we go out there thinking that they're going to lay down for us, then we're sadly mistaken. Kansas State gave us a good run for our money. They were up the whole game until the end, but we played four quarters of ball.

CN: Do you prepare differently for Smith this season than in past?

Hobbs: I think he's going to do pretty much the same things, like using his feet to make plays or get guys open. He's the leader of their team and the rest of the team is going to feed off of him. If he's out there playing a great game, those guys are going to feed off him. Even if he's not playing a great game, those guys are going to try to pick him up. I expect him to go out there and give us his best, because of the season they had. He wants to show everyone that he's still here and a great player. I expect nothing less than the best.

CN: Do you feel Iowa State needs to keep winning to be taken seriously?

Hobbs: Yeah. Regardless of how much we win and things like that, there are always going to be your doubters and naysayers. We go out there and try to do our best, and don't worry about those other people. If we were worried about those type of guys, we wouldn't be in the position we're in right now. But we just keep focusing on what we need to do to win ball games and keep raising the bar.

CN: How satisfying has this season been for you as a senior, especially after what happened last season?

Hobbs: It feels great just to know that you didn't do it on your own and didn't have to do it on your own. We did it as a team. In years past, there have been a lot of standout guys. On this team, there are some standout guys too but not as much. Nobody has put themselves in front of the team.

It feels great just to know that all of the preparation and dedication we've tried to put into this program and given back is finally starting to pay off. Sometimes during the season it wasn't looking like that, and we were losing, but it feels great. I just want it to keep going.

CN: Why has this defense been so much better at creating turnovers than other units in the past?

Hobbs: It's a matter of want-to and expecting good things. If you go out there with the expectation that great things are going to happen, then good things are going to happen. If you go out there knowing that those guys are pretty good and expecting bad things to happen, normally bad things are going to happen.

Their ball is just as much ours as it is theirs. We're going out there with the mentality of ‘let's not just get a three-and-out and stop them, let's get the ball back where it is right now or score ourselves.' I told the guys one time at halftime that there is no reason why we can't score. The ball is out there and we can go take it from them. We've had that mentality. The way that we've practiced – going after the ball all the time – is now showing in the games.

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