Jack Whitver played football at
What do you think the mindset of this team is, given the heartbreaking losses the past two weekends?
I am sure they are very disappointed with the last two losses, but they have been in this position before. Last year they started 0-3 in the conference and ended up going 4-1. They know that the season is not over and they still have a chance to accomplish great things. I think the team is going to have a great week of practice and come out strong next week.
we talked about last week, they have to put it behind them. That is not the
easiest thing in the world to do, but this is a different type game this week.
This is a game they are being picked to lose. Their back is against the wall,
which always makes for a dangerous team. I think that is why they were so good
at the end of 2004; their back was against the wall for five straight weeks. The
fans and media have begun to bad mouth the team, and I know they will be
motivated to prove everybody wrong. A wounded animal is a dangerous animal, and
I think that is the approach they will take to
Do you think it's too early in the season to hit the panic button?
never like to use the "panic" button, but I think there should be a huge sense
of urgency with this team. It is never good when a team starts to panic, but to
go into a must game win with a sense of urgency is the way it should be. There
is a lot of football to be played, but we have already lost to two teams that we
beat last year,
In your mind, what areas of the
team need to be drastically improved, come Saturday afternoon in
Special teams- The special teams have to get better. Last week the punt team really hurt the Cyclones. Not only were we getting short kicks, but we were giving up long returns. Also, the only thing worse than settling for a field goal in the red zone is if we miss the field goals down there. I think Culbertson can get the job done, but somebody has to set up and take the bull by the horns.
Red zone offense- ISU's red zone offense has been terrible this season. We cannot continue to trade field goals for touchdowns and we cannot continue to turn the ball over in the red zone. Much has been said about the two turnovers last week, so I will not go on a tangent about that. But those are things that winning teams do not do, and those are things that championship teams do not do.
Forcing turnovers on
What needs to happen for
I think that is just shows some of the inexperience in certain positions. The coaches always stress ball security and I know they are stressing it more than ever this week. Both of the crucial turnovers were from guys who have not touched the ball a lot for the Cyclones. That is one thing you will get from inexperienced players.
On the same note, once again we've seen the ISU offense stall in the
redzone. What certain approach would you like to see the offense take, schematically?
I would like to see the offense take more shots to the end zone. In the red zone, the offense has a shrunken field; there is not as much room to let the route packages develop. However, most defenses will play more man to man coverage, which means we can get our 6-4 receivers on their 5-10 DB's. I think this is a tremendous opportunity and one we should take advantage of. I know there has been some criticism of Blythe this season, but I would take him against any DB in the conference man-to-man. We need to give him a chance to make the plays he is capable of making. Throw the ball to the corner of the end zone and let's see what he can do.
Smith is one of the top three players in the Big 12 conference. He is one of the
few guys who can truly beat you with his arm or his legs. I remember watching
him as a redshirt freshman against
would assume that ISU will try to keep Smith in the pocket. He is best when he
is rolling out and making plays. I know he has grown as a pocket passer, but I
still compare him to Drew Tate. Both are guys who like to move around and give
their receivers time to get open. I think the game plan should be very similar
In what ways should the Cyclone
offense attack this
Who do you think will step up and
have a big game for
are many guys who are not playing up to their potentials so far this year. The
seniors have to step up and lead the way to a victory. I would expect the
defense to be ready to play against one of the top players in the conference.
Expect Leaders, Moser,
Finally, what are some of your keys to victory against the Tigers?
O-line play. It is crucial for the o-line to step up and open some holes in the run game. I would like to see the running backs gaining a lot of yards on first and second down to put the offense in a 3rd and medium or 3rd and short position.
Can the defense slow down Brad Smith? Smith is always going to get his yards. He is the type of player that you just hope to contain. If the defense can limit his big plays and force the players around him to make plays, they have a great shot to win the game.
Big plays in the passing