Vander Sanden was an offensive lineman on the ISU football team from 2000-2004.
The Inwood native was a two-time academic all-Big 12 first team performer and
won the ISU all-around Academic Achievement Award in 2003. On the grid iron,
Vander Sanden was an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection his senior season
and was one of
about starting with some general comments on
first game is always a tough game to get a feel for what the opponent is
Did this team gain anything from Saturday, or will it go down as just a win over an I-AA squad?
offensive line needs to come together and establish a running game so that the
offense will not be one dimensional.
As a former offensive lineman, we
team will also learn that they played a solid
biggest thing the
things impressed you from Saturday?
I thought the defense impressed me on Saturday night minus two long bombs that
was also impressed with Bret Meyer and Austin Flynn. Bret had a career game. He started off a little slow, but he is
definitely finding his zone in the passing game. I also thought Austin Flynn did a
terrific job. He was the top
receiver with 7 catches for 60 some yards.
We are talking about a player that could have packed his bags and went
looking for another school to play for.
I also was impressed with Tony Yelk; he took more criticism from anyone last year. Everyone thought he wasn't hurt and that he just didn't want to play. Anytime a kicker injures his kicking leg it is going to take some time to heal. It is like a quarterback tearing a rotator cuff. Until it's healed, success will be dim. Tony came off and put all the doubters on the fence and did a great job. I have to give Tony a lot of credit.
I also thought Nik Moser was a playmaker on Saturday. Two years ago he was playing undersized at SAM linebacker. They moved him back to his safety position and he hasn't lost a step since the Independence Bowl of 2004. Look for an outstanding year from the senior!
there anything that concerned you?
There were a couple of things that concerned me on Saturday. One was the inability for our offense to come out and start fast. I think the first series was a 3 and out. The first series is for the offense to set the tempo and march it down the field and put some points on the board or set the team up for good field position. As a football team, we need to start the games fast and get up on our opponents to set the tempo early.
hit on another concern earlier.
That concern was our defense giving up two bombs.
What areas do you think the o-line needs to work on yet?
I think establishing some consistency running the ball is the biggest thing the offensive line needs to work on. Once the running game gets rolling, the passing game will be a huge threat to opposing teams. We have great receivers in Blythe, Sumrall, Moses, Flynn, and Davis.
left tackle position is probably the only position that needs to be
solidified. Johannes Egbers has
been in the program for five years and should be able to get the job done; it's
a matter of making sure the job gets done.
I think he is a natural leader and a competitive guy. He had troubles with pass rushers from
a former offensive lineman, it takes a while for the offensive line unit to
gel. I think Coach Cotton will get
after these guys and they will come through soon! I still am looking for big things from
Zehr; he has an outstanding year in 2004.
He was comfortable with his position at right guard. He needs to flip the switch and expect
big things out of himself.
Give us your analysis of the Cyclone ground game. What was going right? Which offensive linemen played particularly well?
I wasn't too impressed with the ground game. Stevie had a long run for a touchdown in the game; there is no reason this group of offensive lineman can't do that all game long against anybody. It's all about establishing some consistency. I thought that Scott Stephenson was a bright spot at center on offensive line. Scott is definitely a Big 12 center and a physical one. Expect a great year out of him if he can stay healthy!
thought Aaron Brant did a nice job.
He definitely got bigger and stronger over the off-season. He will improve each game as the season
marches along. I think the coaching
staff expects more out of the left tackle spot and well as the right guard
spot. It looked as if the right
guard (Zehr) was having trouble blocking against movement on Saturday. I am not concerned about that because
Cotton will work on that during practice this upcoming week.
Defensively, assess the play of John Skladany's unit.
I thought John's unit did a great job on Saturday. Guys were flying around to the ball and
being playmakers. This will
probably be the fastest defensive unit that John has exploited out on the field
in his tenure at
was your evaluation of the special teams unit?
I thought the special teams turned out a solid performance. Troy Blankenship, the punter, is definitely one of the top punters in the league. He had a good average on Saturday night as well as pinning one at
I also look for big plays on punt return if the punt return team executes. I talked about Tony Yelk earlier. He was definitely a bright spot on kickoff. He booted it through the end zone a couple of times. This gives a kickoff return unit with good returners no chance of taking one to the house or setting up their team for good field position.
about the difference Tony Yelk makes on kick-offs and causing touchbacks. What
kind of momentum does that give the Cyclones?
He was definitely a bright spot on kickoff. He booted it through the end zone a couple of times. This gives a kickoff return unit with good returners no chance of taking one to the house or setting up their team for good field position. Any time you kick it and cause the other team to take a touchback, it puts less pressure on your defense because the offense is working with an 80 yard field. It's all about field position.
Talk about the performance quarterback Bret Meyer put together, passing for 314 yards.
continues to be a solid quarterback.
He is only a redshirt sophomore and he is definitely a play maker on
offense; he was 30-41 with 314 passing yards. He performed really well considering the
running game for
about the return of Jason Berryman; is he where you expected him to be playing
wise or did he surprise you at all?
I thought that Jason Berryman played a solid game. We are talking about a guy who missed the entire 2004 season. I think he did a good job considering his situation. I was surprised that he looked so good even though he missed last year.
Jason will be a good player as long as the media and hype does not get to his head; I think that was his problem last year. Hopefully he has grown up to be a man's man and he will only go forward the rest of his career and life. Time will tell. I think it will take a while to earn respect back from people, but slowly and surely, if he keeps his head screwed on right, he will earn it back.
do you think Todd Blythe looked in his first game back from ACL
I thought Todd looked really well. You never saw him limping around on the field. He was always in position to make big plays. A lot of us may say he didn't have a good game because he didn't have 3 touchdowns and over 100 yards receiving. A receiver does not need to have all the glory of touchdowns and yards to have a great game. A receiver is a blocker as well. I also think
ahead to next week. What will
The Clones will have to run the ball offensively. The offense can't be a one-dimensional pass team this coming week or throughout the entire season. If it is, it makes it much easier for defenses to prepare for you. The offensive line needs to re-group and realize they can get the job done. There are three starters returning from last years bowl championship squad that had success running the ball, and producing a 1,000 yard rusher out of Hicks. Those three guys need to take the rest of the offensive line by the horns and pave the way. There is no reason they shouldn't or they can't.
we need to be able to stuff the run.
a former player, what's the hype like going into the
hype is definitely present. As an