Dan McCarney Big 12 Teleconference

ISU head coach Dan McCarney spoke with media across the nation on Monday mornings Big 12 teleconference.

We lost another heartbreaking game. Our congrats to Gary Pinkel and his program. It was our second over time loss in the Big 12 on the road in the last three weeks. Very disappointing, a tremendous effort by both football teams. We spotted Missouri 14 points on offensive turnovers for touchdowns and we hadn't even given up a first down yet with our defense and it was 14 to zero.

 

We answered with a 24-0 run and the kids played with a lot of heart, resolve and character and we came up a play short in overtime.

 

Oklahoma State obviously has a lot of talented football players. It's a program that went to the Alamo Bowl last year; the administration at Oklahoma State did a great job I think promoting Mike Gundy and giving him the opportunity to be the head coach at Oklahoma State.

 

Much like us they started out 3-0 in non-conference and have come up short in the Big 12 conference so far. It should be a heck of a football game and we're looking forward to our homecoming game this Saturday.

 

 

On the difference between the first two games and the last four...

 

I don't know that the first two I games…I think we're playing a lot of good snaps of football. The most obvious thing is we've got to get corrected is seven turnovers in the red zone with our offense. It hit us again this week; we fumbled on the two yard line going into go score. It seems like they're catastrophic mistakes that we make not just a mistake.

 

We throw an interception for a touchdown. We fumble it for a touchdown; we go in again and fumble the ball on the 2 yard line going into score. Those are major, major impacts on a football game. Other than that I see all kinds of good things. We held Missouri to 88 yards rushing and they've been averaging 265. We held them 200 yards below their average. We got three turnovers at least and a lot of real good things from this football team. We ran the ball better; our third string tailback Greg Coleman had over 100 yards rushing. So a lot of things that were good but if you can't take care of the football you're going to have a hard time winning games in the Big 12.

 

 

On not being able to close out in the fourth quarter…

 

I wish I knew, we would sure get it fixed and we have too, because my heart aches for these kids and what they're giving us and their effort. It's a very fine line between winning and losing and we all know that and we've sure found that out these last three Saturdays.

 

 

On if this year will be as weird as last season in the Big 12 North…

 

It's possible, it's just that there's so many games yet to play so who knows. Obviously Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri are the three teams with just the one loss now in conference play. Even though we're very disappointed with our Big 12 record I don't know if anybody just said you're completely out of anything. A couple weeks from now you might be able to say that and hopefully we're not one of them that's out of anything.

 

It's still early but I think as a division the North has improved over a year ago. Just to answer your question and give you an honest answer I'd be surprised if the winner of the North has a .500 conference record this season

 

 

On being in the same position as last year…

 

We're one game a head of last year, we were 2-4 and we're 3-3 now but we were still 0-3 both years. We'd been blown out in a couple of games last year. Losing is losing, who are we kidding, but a couple of those games were real ugly from a Cyclone standpoint. This year we've lost two overtimes at Nebraska and one over time at Missouri and a 10 point loss at home against Baylor. But we're still 0-3 and we're hoping to get this thing turned around just as fast as we can.

 

 

On striking balance between fixing the mistakes and keeping everybody up...

 

It's part of the one of many responsibilities we have as head coaches and it's our job. We can't kill their spirits, we've got to correct mistakes. You don't go into two overtimes at Lincoln and one overtime in Columbia without doing a lot of real good things to put our self in position to win those games and we came up short. We've got to correct them too because that's what we're paid to do. The problems are there, the mistakes and we've got to find solutions and improve on those things.

 

As I told the football team we're still doing lots of good things on game day. We're putting ourselves in a position to win these games and here's some things we've got to do to start winning them. We won't accept losing, we never have and we won't now. We don't want this season to pass us by either; we want to have some real positive things to talk about and to relive at the end of this season.

 

 

On Bret Meyer not having a lot of rushing yards and how Oklahoma State is not doing a good job of containing running quarterbacks…

 

We're looking for ways to score more points, period. End of story. We put ourselves in a position to definitely have more points in our red zone offense. Part of the biggest reason we're not where we want to be right now is because of the turnovers that I've talked about earlier. Whether we fumble or throw an interception those are real critical fumbles. On the one yard line against Baylor going in, on the two yard line last week at Missouri. Just things we've got to get fixed and corrected and do a better job coaching and I know we can't hold on to the ball for the players so we've got to do a better job of coaching it because those things make a major difference in the outcome of games.

 

We've got to do all that we can. We know that Oklahoma State has some real talented players and at times this season they've played real good defense. They had some problems Saturday against Reggie [McNeal] but so do a lot of defenses in the country when they play against him and the A&M offense.

 

 

On the team knowing at this point the seasons not lost…

 

Fortunately for us there's five more Saturday's left in the Big 12 and some great opportunities there and some exciting challenges. We've got to find a way to get this thing turned around quickly. We know we're going to be in some more close games, it's a really highly competitive Big 12 conference and there seems to be a lot of balance and parity. We've got to find some ways to make those plays when the game is on the line.

 

 

On if it will be harder to make the turnaround this season than last year…

 

I hope not, I just think we're a better football team than we were last year at this time. As I mentioned we were 2-4 and we were really young, with freshmen and sophomores every where on offense. And even though the record doesn't look like it, in these three Saturdays in the Big 12 we're a better football team there's no doubt in my mind than where we were last year.

 

We really showed amazing togetherness and chemistry and great senior leadership from the few seniors who were playing. We made a heck of a run and we're sure hoping we can do it with this team.

 

 

On how the relationship has changed between fans and coaches over the years…

 

I think when we all come to work everyday and there's 150 coaches and players that you're responsible for, their problems are your problems, professional or personal or with football or with their families, but that hasn't changed. That part of it remains the same.  Everybody's a lot more aware of problems and everybody's a lot more aware of successes.

 

Whether it's professional or personal, that's the way it is, that's the world we live in. it is a different world. It's a different world recruiting; it's a different world coaching, as far as those things go, because everything with rare exception is everybody else's business. We know that and we've got to do everything we can to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of players, families, injuries, problems those kinds of things and everybody handles it their own way, but it's no doubt a different world we live in today.

 

 

On what advice he gives to his assistant coaches on how to deal with that…

 

It's important to know that you've got to do all you can to take care of your families and cherish the time you do have with them. I worry a lot more about coaches families and their children and players and their families than I do myself when you go through adversity or tough times. It always has been that way and always will be. I always worry about them, I've very sensitive to that and worry about my kids. You worry about your own kids when you go through tough times and adversity and I've gone through plenty of that in the last 11 years. But you've got to be strong and you've got to be together. If you have great character, integrity and resolve in your program you can get through the toughest of times and that's how we handle it here.


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