McCarney Big 12 Teleconference

Dan McCarney met with the Big 12 media via a teleconference Monday morning to discuss Iowa State's win over Iowa and look ahead to the Cyclones match-up with Army next Friday night. Here is a complete transcription of his comments.

We really appreciate speaking from my team and staff; we really appreciate the Big 12 honoring two of our players. There's lots of good players in the Big 12 and when you have 11-out-of-12 teams win on Saturday there's a lot of guys deserving of awards, so we appreciate it very much.


LaMarcus Hicks had a tremendous game, a number of tackles, had a hurry, had a pass broken up, recovered a fumble, had an interception, scored a touchdown and truly played his best game since he's been at Iowa State.


Troy Blankenship also did a tremendous job averaging 41.5 yards on eight punts and one was one of the biggest plays of the game, into a very strong wind from the south he pounded it nearly 70 yards and really put Iowa back in a hole and it was a great play in the game, one of the biggest plays of the game. I also think he had three pinned inside the 20, so he's off to a great start in the first two games.


We're very pleased with the win over Iowa; it's a great victory for us. We're through celebrating and it's a great memory. It was the best atmosphere I think we've had at Jack Trice Stadium since I've been here, but it's over now and we've moved on. We're getting ready for one of the top coaches in all levels of coaching in Bobby Ross and going into a real tough environment a week from this Friday night.


We have great respect for Coach Ferentz and his staff and his program, we appreciate this victory very much and yet we know it's time to move on and we're in the middle of doing that.



On whether it's a good time for a bye week…


I think it's a good time for us. Every one in college football has went through a whole month of football and all played a couple games. We were very fortunate to get out of the Iowa victory without any injuries but we definitely have some guys who won't be [ready] when we start practice again on Wednesday.


Today is a normal day off, Tuesday they're going to run and lift and we definitely have a real good chance to have I think most of our guys back next week. For us the timing is good [to] collect our thoughts and to refocus everything on Army. I think it's a good time for us to have an open week.



On having Baylor play Army this week…


Well it's a 2-0 Baylor team. You make a great point, they are going out there ahead of us and obviously its going to be a real good test and measure for both those teams in that kind of environment. We hope it will be a real beneficial tape and a game for us to watch. Because as you know it was a last second victory for us at Baylor last year. Guy is doing a tremendous job and just like we are, they're 2-0.


I think this is Army's first of four home games in a row, so I'm sure they're going to be cranking it up and trying to get something positive going at home after losing to Boston College on Saturday.



On the physicalness of his team…


We can definitely play better than Saturday. We can definitely improve, there's no doubt about. We got through all the tape with our players yesterday and saw that and that's one of the many reasons I'm real encouraged.


We sure as heck haven't reached the top of the mountain, we haven't maxed out, we have lots of room to improve. We can play better and we can play smarter.


I don't know that I can have a team play harder than we did on Saturday and that's got to be our forte, it's got to be our strength and it's got to be every Saturday. You talk about it in coaching and sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn't. It sure did Saturday and it was a real important part of that game.


Even though we haven't looked like it a number of times through the years we do try and be a physical football team. That's what we tried to build this foundation on and we played that way Saturday.



On Austin Flynn's transformation to a wide receiver...


We're so happy for him and proud of him. You see our quarterback throwing to an ex-quarterback for our first touchdown of the game when Bret Meyer hit Austin Flynn. It's just the heart of a team so much.


You want unselfish guys and team guys on your football and Austin is our poster boy for that. To go as getting beaten out and then jumping in at wide receiver and not being just a guy, being a real good wide receiver and a total player and knowing he'll just get better and better the more playing time he gets at wide receiver. He's definitely one of our top 3 receivers and his game will just continue to improve.



On whether or not he was surprised with the transformation…


You don't want to say nothing surprises you with a real outstanding young man and a leader, a winner and all those things, but this really went a lot faster than we thought I was going to. He really has tremendous hands and he's really understanding as you'd except coverages. That's not a surprise he was a quarterback.


He's a good psychical blocker now and you don't ask quarterbacks to do that very often, and he doesn't shy away. He takes great pride in being a blocker on our football team and that's why I think he has a real great chance to have a great couple years here as a receiver because he understands he needs to be a complete player for us and he's working towards that.



On forcing turnovers…


We've always stressed it. In our best years we've been pretty darn good with that. I think our defensive speed, our athleticism on defense is the best it's been these last couple of years. We're off to that type of start now and then it is contagious, it is infectious. We had five turnovers on Saturday and only turned it over once with our offense. When we watched the tape there's no doubt we should have had a couple more, we tipped four passes, we dropped an interception. There were chances honestly for six or seven or eight turnovers in that game.


The kids believe in it, we've scored on defense these first two games, with the block kick and the defensive touchdown on Saturday. Real close to a couple safeties in the first game so there's an attitude in place that we can score on defense and we don't have to stand around and watch the offense or special teams score.



On the drill they do at the start of practice to set the tempo to be aggressive…


It's nothing magical, it just thing that we do. There's various drills that we do so it's not always the exact same one. There's always a tempo setter at the beginning of practice and one of the things we do with our defense is to get them in the mindset to be aggressive, to go after the bal, to score. John Skaladany will either throw the ball in an interception drill or he'll throw the ball out there like it's been knocked out by a teammate, a scoop and score. Those kinds of things but it's an aggressive attitude with your defense to set the tempo for practice and that's how we like to do it and that seems to be paying off on game day.



On the health of Jason Scales and the possibility of redshirting him…


We will sure consider that if it goes on and on. It's an open week, we've got 11 days until kickoff and we'll continue to evaluate. Of course if it would continue or linger there's no doubt we'd consider that because he could be a redshirt. He played as a true freshman last year. But we sure aren't going to make that decision today or tomorrow. We'll see how things go in the next few days. We hope to get him back; we'd love to get him back. In his absence I thought Greg Coleman stepped up in his first playing time and did some good things off the bench for us backing up Stevie Hicks on Saturday.



On which true freshmen besides Chris Singleton who are playing…


We've got some of them that are practicing with the varsity, trying to get them ready, keeping them on edge, keeping them prepared, but yet there aren't a lot of true freshman out there right now. We're not on the high end with seniors. I think 70 percent of our starters are still underclassmen, so there's still a lot of guys who have a some good eligibly left for the future.



On whether or not he's hoping not to use the freshmen…


Sure, clearly at this stage it would be somebody going the wrong direction from a development standpoint and you sure don't want that as a coach or just injuries to bring somebody in. We'll continue to keep some guys working some with the varsity and some with the scout team, but most of the decisions have been made as far as playing or redshirting.



On Flynn's attitude….


He had a great attitude about it. It's one thing talking about it and it's another thing doing it. And carrying yourself that way and acting that way and he sure did. He played last year in the transition time and he's one of the guys I just don't know if there's anyone on the team more respected than Austin Flynn.


That goes right back to how he handled getting beat out at quarterback, he didn't start looking for transfers, he didn't start calling other coaches, he didn't try to get his release to go some place else. He said, ‘I want to be here, I made a commitment, this is my home away from home. What can I do to help this team and program?' And we said wide receiver and he said, ‘let's go' and he's never looked back since.



On being ranked….


I just don't get to excited and either do any of the players. The season has just begun. It's nice to see Iowa State's name out there and some people saying, ‘hey you're doing a nice job,' and there's some credibility and respect for our program. But we've got a long ways to go.


They get ranked and they drop out of there real fast as you know this time of year. Nobody around here is doing much celebrating as far as rankings are. We're just looking forward to the next one, excited about it and hoping to see if we can find a way to win the third game.

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