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
If anybody knows what this team is going through it's you after last years 0-3 start in the Big 12, emotionally where is this team right now?
This year's team heads into
Saturday winless (0-3) in the Big 12 Conference race. It is the same position that the
Cyclones of 2004 were in last year.
The difference is that the Cyclones of 2005 are a couple plays away from
being 3-0 in the Big 12 Race. I
reflect back to last year and we matured as a unit on offense. I see a lot of good things from
Saturday. The ground game was very
strong. Credit the offensive line
I am frustrated, but not worried
about the season. When you look at
last years first 5 games, the games we lost, we flat out lost. The opposing team outplayed,
out-coached, and out-hit us. This
year's squad is in every game. The
problem is that it seems as if we are playing not to win but playing not to
lose. The defense shuts down Brad Smith and knocks him out of the game.
We are talking about the Big 12 Conference's leading rusher. Smith is a defensive coordinator's worst
nightmare. I thought Coach Skladany
did a great job in keeping Brad Smith's abilities limited. The only shutdown on defense was the
last two drives of
What were some of the main reasons the team turned the season around last year?
Defense. Last year's team was known for the
defense. The defense helped big
time in winning a lot of the close games last year. The defense last year was a turnover
smelling unit. I credit the defense
in leading the turnaround last year.
Also, I think that the team developed an identity the week of the
Then you look back at the Baylor
Do you think that this team will be able to pull of a run like that?
I don't see why this team won't be
able to pull a run like last year.
You look at the personnel on the team this year. Almost everyone is back from last year's
squad. I think that is why so many
people are disappointed up to this point of the season. I reflect back on last year's
games. We won so many close games.
Some teams were
As a player how much more frustrating is it losing by a play or two rather than being blown out?
As a former player, I always looked at it as a loss is a loss. People always talk about if you would rather win ugly or lose pretty. Well, if you have any kind of competitive nature about yourself, I hope you say win ugly. Obviously, losing is frustrating in both senses. I think when you lose by getting blown out, it really puts salt in the wound. When you lose by a couple of plays, you are sick to your stomach. But in the same sense, you also can find a lot of positives from the game. Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't a sometime thing here, it's an all-the-time thing." Losing stinks, it hurts, and it's not acceptable under any Coach's program.
Which areas do you see the Cyclones consistently making mistakes?
One big part of the game that I see the Cyclones of 2005 making mistakes is the beginning of games. I have yet to see the Clones start the game off fast. I haven't seen the offense command a first series of the game drive down the field. I haven't seen the defense play "lights out" from the start. As a football team, you always want to start the game fast. You want to be the team delivering the blows. You want to be the team that has the momentum from the start. We need to make more big plays when we are in position to make them. This could be a key tackle on special teams, a big time block to help the back go the extra distance, a critical throw on 3rd down, or a big time play on defense.
Another let down of the team this
year is the offense's ball security.
Look at the
The last big thing that I see a consistent pattern in with the Cyclones this year is the let down at the end of the game. The inability to finish games that they are in position to win. This aspect is definitely the difference of the Cyclones being 6-0 versus 3-3 this year.
The past couple of games it really seems like the offensive line is coming together. Give us an assessment of the line through the first six games.
They started really come together
and gel this past week at
The past two weekends the defense hasn't been able to make a stand on the final plays of the game, do you think they're worn out or is it just mental lapses?
This is just a mental thing. It's about guys stepping up and being playmakers. It is discipline from players. I guarantee to any fan it is not an issue of being worn out. Coach Mac works his players hard, but takes care of them too.
What needs to happen this week for
this team to turn its season around with
I think the biggest things the Cyclones need to do are the following:
-Ball security on offense
-Turnovers on defense
-Will of teammates to win
-Dominate the lines of scrimmage
-Aggressive Coaching and Playing for 4 quarters
-Relax, play football, and have fun