Dan McCarney Big 12 Teleconference

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

We're very pleased with our victory over Oklahoma State, it was a complete victory. I have great respect for Mike Gundy and the Oklahoma State program; both of us were playing for the same thing coming off some tough losses. We were able to put it together defensively. We forced five turnovers and offensively we took those turnovers and turned them into points. Our special teams were about as good as they've been since I've been here. Complete victory.


I also want to thank, I just heard before I got on the air that LaMarcus Hicks was picked as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. We sure appreciate the conference doing that. LaMarcus had a tremendous game, a couple interceptions, seven tackles. It's the second time he's been honored this year, also after the Iowa victory. He's very deserving and we appreciate the honor.


Texas A&M as everyone knows has tremendous talent, great football team, outstanding program. Dennis Franchione has done a marvelous job with the A&M program and it's going to be a major challenge for our football team. Every week in the Big 12 there's outstanding players and coaches and that's what makes this place so special; we're looking forward to the game on Saturday.



On keeping Brad Smith under control and the differences and similarities between Smith and Reggie McNeal

It's a major challenge. It's a real tough job for defensive coaches and players against two of the real premier players in the Big 12. You're talking about Brad Smith and Reggie McNeal, they're both amazing football players. Brad Smith what we wanted to try to do; we knew he was going to make plays. He has such talent and toughness and coming out a great system, we just wanted to limit his big plays. We were fortunate to be able to do that. He went out with nine minutes to go in the game, left in the fourth quarter. That obviously you normally would think would help your chances. Chase came in and did a heck of a job and made some plays and helped them win in overtime. 


Brad is truly an outstanding player and Reggie I think is every bit as talented. He's even faster than Brad Smith, very accurate. He's rushing for I think 625 yards already and almost 1,500 yards passing and 53 percent completion average; that's pretty darn good. He's just an electrifying football player. He can take a play that maybe just blocked okay or solid and turn it into a huge one. Fran's got a great system, he knows what he's doing, that's why they're ranked in the top 10 in the country in rush offense and total offense and scoring offense. It's a really a complete offense and that makes it tough because you can be sound and you can have guys in the right place but a guy like Reggie McNeal or Brad Smith can make you look silly because of their talent and ability to make people miss.



On the top two rushers in the league being quarterbacks…

You've got great talent there, a tremendous system that has allowed those guys to have success and make plays and it certainly makes defensive coordinators jobs real hard, there's no doubt about it. That's a challenge and it just seems like every week you're seeing a really talented quarterback in this league.



On A&M's pass defensive issues and how they've corrected it the last few weeks…

Just playing better technique and their fundamentals are a little bit better it looks like. They've got tremendous talent, there's no doubt about it and they're well coached they come out of a great system. Now and then the wrecking crew is giving up some plays, but I'll tell you what, they're still pretty impressive on tape and they're 5-2 and have a chance at some great things in the weeks ahead. It will be a great challenge for us but Bret Meyer our quarterback continues to improve. If have a chance to go down and make this a four quarter football game we've got to be able to protect our quarterback and throw and catch. We're not going to be able to run the ball against the wrecking crew and expect to win the game.



On defending running quarterbacks…

I haven't seen anybody shut them down completely yet and realistically we wouldn't believe we could do that. We'll try to sneak 12 on the field and see if we can slow them down a little bit Saturday.



On Stevie Hicks

We look forward to having Stevie back this week. I think there's a real good chance he'll play. It's all about preparation and practice. Does he have a good week? Is he healthy as the week goes on? We haven't had Stevie Hicks for a full football game since the Iowa game. It seems like about eight months ago that was back on Sept. 10 the last time he played a full game. He played part of the Army game but he's been gone for a long time and obviously it hurt our football team and it hurt our offense with his absence.


I think he has a great chance to be back, he's been in the Swimmex we have here. A lot of people in the country have them now. When we put it in it was only the fourth in the country including the NFL, NBA and college football. He's been in there and spending a lot of time and I think based on what I saw Sunday night at practice he looked real good. We could have used him Saturday from an emergency standpoint but I just wanted to give him some more rest, the doctors agreed and I think he has a real good chance to be ready this week.



On if it'd be realistic to expect to see him play the whole game…

No, I don't think the whole game with being gone so long. If he has a good week of practice and he feels as good as he did last night at practice Stevie Hicks will start and he'll play a lot of the game, no doubt in my mind.



On last years run to get back in the title picture…

We haven't really hammered on it, but it's a good point to bring up. At this time last year, we were 2-4 and but we had really struggled. A year ago two of those teams one of them we're playing this were A&M and the one we're playing last week had kicked our tails; Oklahoma State and A&M. This year there weren't any tail kicking's it was a double overtime loss to Nebraska and it was single overtime loss at Missouri. Great college games, Big 12 games. Those teams deserved to win and made a play or two more.


A year ago we had been blown out a couple times with a much younger team. It's still a young team on offense, we've got 10 underclassmen starting, more veteran on defense, but it's still similar. It was disappointing a year ago and it's disappointing losing those tough, fought overtime games on the road but yet a lot to play for and I think our kids really did respond on Saturday and the resolve and character of the team was very evident in that game. Hopefully it will be evident this week going down to a real tough environment at Kyle Field in College Station.


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