Football Insider: A&M Aftermath

Iowa State's 42-14 conquest over Texas A&M didn't just excite the program and the fans, it also left quite an impression with former player and captain Luke Vander Sanden as well.

Give us some of your overall comments about this amazing win at Texas A&M.


Saturday's win at Kyle Field was definitely a memorable one for all of the Cyclone Family.  It was awesome to see the swagger that the offense put on display.  I knew that the offense could do it…it was just a matter of time!  I think the game against the Aggies will definitely give the Cyclones a lot of momentum for the match-up versus Kansas State this Saturday in Jack Trice Stadium.  I sure hope there is a sell-out crowd, because the Cyclone football team deserves it!  I thought the Cyclones played a complete, all-around game.



Stevie Hicks made a dramatic return this week by rushing for 124 yards while also taking care of the ball and giving Bret Meyer time to throw the ball.  Other than the obvious statistics, how much did Stevie's return mean to this team?


I think Stevie's return to the field on Saturday really lifted the spirits of his teammates.  I had been saying that Stevie's presence on offense was definitely missed since the Army game.  That was evident on Saturday.  Stevie does so much more than run the ball.  He is an outstanding pass blocker for Bret Meyer.  Stevie takes on guys 2 times the size of him and gets the job done.  I really think Stevie is outstanding in the sense of hitting the holes with some major power.  It was really exciting to see the "old" Stevie again!  I thought the offensive line did a great job going into a hostile environment and keeping their composure.  Anytime you go in and get your running back 124 yards, you know you are doing a good job!



Welcome back Todd Blythe!  How will Blythe's performance change the way defensive coordinators attack the Iowa State offense the rest of the season?


What can you say about the Indianola native?  Todd has had a quiet first half of the season.  Blythe had some many expectations from so many people on the outside for his sophomore year that a game without a touchdown or without 100 yards would be a letdown.  It was really good to see Todd gain some confidence back after Saturday's performance.  I really believe this will open up the passing game for a great receiver like Austin Flynn as well.  I think we will start to see good corners trying to jam Todd at the line of scrimmage here on out in the season, as well as double-coverage on Todd.  This will help out the Cyclone passing game because someone has to be open.  I see Todd contributing tremendously throughout the season.  Look for Todd to continue to make big plays and have big time catches.  After all, he will always be a playmaker.



Bret Meyer was 20 of 32 for 371 yards and four touchdowns.  How has Meyer progressed from last year to this year and what impresses you the most about his play?


I think Bret is starting to see the field more this year.  I think Bret continues to get better each game that he plays in.  For a sophomore to put on a performance like Bret…it's just exciting as a former Cyclone football player, teammate, and current fan!  I think his leadership and composure in football games is really what impresses me most about Bret.  He seems to shove adversity to the side, always overcoming it!  Bret was always a fun player to be with because he was always so relaxed in the huddle.  He just goes out on gameday and has fun!


One of the biggest challenges for our offense the last couple years has been third down conversions and red zone proficiency.  On Saturday the offense converted 11 of their 18 third downs and also converted on both fourth down plays.  In addition the offense converted all four times they were in the red zone.  What do you think Barney Cotton and this offense is doing differently to suddenly become so much more effective?


I think Barney's play-calling is a definite factor in the efficiency of the offense on third downs and the efficiency in the redzone.  Coach Cotton has a nose for the game of football and knows what plays work when and where.  Last year there was a huge emphasis on short yardage and redzone conversions.  You can definitely start to see the emphasis pay off this year.  I look for the Cyclone offense to reach greater places under the direction of Coach Cotton.


Texas A&M had rushed for 635 yards in their last two games but were held to 126 yards by the 20th best rushing defense in the country on Saturday.  Talk a little bit about how great the defense has played recently especially against two dangerous quarterbacks like Brad Smith and Reggie McNeal.


I think Coach Skladany has done an outstanding job on defense against the quarterback system that Missouri, Iowa, and Texas A&M have implemented.  You look at all those quarterbacks and they are run-pass quarterbacks.  The offense is designed to roll them out into the open field so they can have that run-pass option.  The Cyclones have limited the quarterback's abilities by keeping them in the pocket.  The Cyclone defense shut down and knocked Drew Tate out during the Iowa game.  The Cyclones knocked Brad Smith out of the game versus Missouri.  The Cyclone defense limited Reggie McNeal's abilities and contained him all day this past Saturday.  Coach Skladany has been in the business for a long time, and I wouldn't trade him for anyone in the world.  He is a blue-collar coach that is very intelligent and understands the game of football.


The offensive line appears to bet getting better and better each week.  Can you pinpoint exactly what the line is doing differently these last few games to make them so much more effective?


I hit on it earlier last week about the offensive line starting to gel and find it's identity amongst each other.  I think leadership is starting to emerge and guys are comfortable in their positions and the guys they are blocking with.  A lot of people don't understand how important the play of the offensive line is.  One mistake in a call can screw up the whole play and cause loss of yardage or pressure on the quarterback.  I think the offensive line is also playing with a lot of confidence, and Coach Cotton has instilled a nasty, finishing attitude.  It is very exciting to see them play well and succeed this year!


If you could pick one thing, what would be the most important thing Iowa State needs to do in order to win these last three games and give themselves a shot at the North Division Title?


I think they need to just go out and play and have fun.  They need to play with the confidence that they have rolling and everything will take care of itself.  This next comment may sound repetitive coming from me, but the Cyclones need to approach the next game as the most important game of the season.  Take one play at a time and one game at a time.  The Cyclones of 2005 definitely control their destiny for the remainder of the season. 






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