Coach Mac Interview - Part Two

Last Friday, CN had the opprotunity to sit down and talk ISU football with Dan McCarney. What is the coaching staff thinking about Austen Arnaud next season? What does Coach Mac think about the JUCO offensive linemen? Find out right here in Part Two of this Cyclone Nation exclusive.

Williams: Tony Alford compared Alexander Robinson to Ellis Hobbs. Do you see much in common between the two?

 

McCarney: Yeah, I think I was the first one to mention that the first time I met him. I was in his home with Coach Allen and Alexander's mom and dad and it reminded me a lot of sitting in Ellis's home with his parents. That's a big comparison when you start throwing that out there. Here's one of the best players in the history of this school, one of the best leaders I've ever been around in my career of 36 years in division one football. It still is an accurate assessment of the type of young man he is. The character, the integrity, the discipline, he has great parents. I just think he's a heck of a player. Terry (Allen) and I stood out there last spring at a track meet, we couldn't have contact with him obviously but we were standing there watching him run and watching him screaming down that track made it look like he had real legitimate speed. I didn't have a watch with me but I knew that he was running a lot faster than those other guys on the track. He was impressive.

 

Williams: By my calculations there are at least 10 guys in this year's class that have sub 4.55 40 times. Was that your biggest target this season?

 

McCarney: It was at the top of the list there's no doubt about it. I don't get too caught up in what times we hear. Was it really 40 yards? Was it 39 yards? I don't get too carried away with that. What we evaluate is getting to know the young man, watching him practice, watching him play in games, watching his tape and hopefully we see him live. We can't do that always but we can watch a lot of tape. We get kids to go to our camp which a lot of these kids were. Speed is so important as you know Chris. This conference is not only tremendously physical but I just don't know that there's a conference where week in and week out has more speed than ours. You can be as tough, and united and well coached as you want to be, but if you don't run as fast as the other guys you're going to have trouble. Speed is really important.

 

Williams: Can you talk a little bit about these JUCO offensive linemen. You guys have brought some in, in the past who haven't really panned out. What makes these guys different?

 

McCarney: I sure hope they can come in and help us. We've made some major mistakes and we've made some great decisions when it comes to JUCO players. We've had some kids who never even made it to campus because of academics. We've had some guys that came in and couldn't play because of a poor evaluation. We've had some guys who have come in and done a great job and helped us win bowl games. I like both of these kids. I think they're big, strong and physical guys. Athyba Rubin has only been playing offense for one year. His whole career he's been on the defensive side of the ball. You can see the explosive potential and a physical side of him that was really impressive. We think he's got a chance to be a very fine player. Lee is just a guy that could come in at either guard or tackle and make the two-deep. If you're bringing a JUCO kid in and he's healthy and not in the two-deep, you probably made a mistake.

 

Williams: Austen Arnaud is probably the headliner of this class. Right now if you had to make a decision, are you thinking red-shirt or would you like to have him in the two-deep. Do you trust Beck and Van Winkle enough not to have Arnaud in the two-deep?

 

McCarney: No, none of those guys have shown that they can play winning football on game day other than Bret Meyer. It's wide open. I'm not thinking one second about a red-shirt with Austen Arnaud. We never have. Until he shows us that he can't be in the mix, I don't have any intention of red-shirting him. If he's not ready, we're not going to be one bit disappointed, but the door is wide open because nobody has shown any consistency behind Bret at the quarterback position. It's as wide open as it can get behind Bret. Austen has some special ability. He has arm strength. He has accuracy and he has great feet. He's stronger than Bret was coming out of high school. Will he develop like Bret? Time will tell, that's up to Austen. He's gong to be coached as well as any quarterback in the country by Todd Fitch. I think he's just a really special player. You stop and think about what Bret Meyer has already done, with two years two go. Then what Austen Arnaud has already done in high school with his entire career in front of him. I think we have a chance to have two of the best quarterback's that this school has ever had, from the big striving metropolis of Atlantic, Iowa and the big city of Ames. When it's all said and done, there's a whole gob of college coaches that would love to have Bret Meyer, and I think that god willing he stays healthy, there are a whole gob of coaches who would want to have Austen Arnaud as their quarterback too.

 

Williams: Being from Clarinda, I grew up watching Bret play football. They look so much alike at this point to me, if anything Arnaud might be a little bit stronger than Bret was at this point and time, do you agree with that?

 

McCarney: It's really hard to tell. Bret led Atlantic to a state championship and Austen didn't. Well is that because of a supporting cast, a schedule? I don't know. Bret had a tremendous senior year I mean tremendous. I think Austen has more leg strength right now than Bret did coming out. I couldn't say that he's ahead of where Bret was. He's in the same class and caliber as a young man and a player. I'm really glad that they're on my team. I'm really glad that we're going to take the field with Bret and Austen on the same football team.


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