Iowa State's athletic program is booming with momentum, just ask Nebraska beat writer Steve Sipple. Here in this exclusive CN interview, get a taste of what other writers around the Big 12 think about all of the big stories developing at Iowa State? Is $135 million too much to ask? Find out what Sipple thinks here at CN.
Last week, at the Big 12 media
days in Kansas
City, I had a chance to catch up with Steve Sipple, a Nebraska beat writer for the Lincoln Journal Star and we
talked about Iowa
State and how Husker fans
view the Cyclones. Check out what Sipple had to say about the past, present and
future of Iowa
State athletics in this
exclusive CN interview.
Williams: Ten years ago Nebraska didn't fear Iowa State. Nowadays, what do Husker fans think
of when they hear the name Iowa State?
Sipple: Well, I'll tell you one thing.
They are beyond the laughing stock era. The thing that made the greatest
impression on me last season's game was Bret Meyer. I think he's a big time
quarterback. I think he's the best quarterback in the league. He was impressive
here. (Media days) This is a very mature individual. You can see why Coach
McCarney trusts him to lead from that position. I sat down with him for 20
minutes and you could definitely get a sense of his ability to lead. All you
have to do is turn on a television to get a sense of his athletic ability and
his ability to make plays under pressure. Like everybody else, I'm impressed
State's offense. Now, can
they do it on defense? That's the question. I have a feeling that they have some
Williams: When Nebraska fans see Iowa State on their schedule, are they scared
of losing that game?
Sipple: Sure. They've beaten Nebraska. Nebraska hasn't won at Iowa State in a long time. It's a whole
different mentality now. Iowa State has done a good job of building that
program and getting athletes. That's the number one thing. You have to get
athletes. All you have to do is go up and down their depth chart. You can see
athletes. You can identify guys who
are big time players. For instance, they put four guys on the preseason All-Big
12 team which is the second most in the league. They didn't do that by magic.
They did that by attracting big time athletes. I've been covering this for 12
years. Earlier, they didn't have these athletes. If you went to a Nebraska Iowa State game, you knew what was coming. You
would always hope that Iowa State could keep it close in the first
half. That would be about it.
Williams: You guys have had some
coaching changes over the years. A lot of message boards sometimes get impatient
with McCarney. What do you think about the job that he's done over the
Sipple: Because I'm more removed from it,
it surprises me that there is that kind of mindset among fans. Now, at the same
time, what he's experiencing is what Nebraska coaches experienced to a higher
degree. He's built expectations pretty high at Iowa State. It used to be, get us to a bowl
game. Now they want him to win bowl games and then get to bigger bowl games.
That's part of the price of success. Your fan base expects more and more. That's
why he's in the business. To win games and to take that program as high as he
can. They have lost those tough games in the last few years that could have
taken him to another level. That hurts and I think the fans respond to that.
Nobody wants to win those games more than Coach Mac.
Williams: What do Nebraska fans think of
the job that Jamie Pollard has done so far and the whole renovations
Sipple: I know the first thing that I
thought when I saw it. I was surprised about how aggressive it is. I think the
thought of the people who I've talked to; I don't know if they can do it. There
is some skepticism. Maybe they are overreaching themselves a little bit. I think
that at the same time, that's what you have to do with a project of that
magnitude. You have to set the bar maybe higher than you can get. Even if you
don't achieve what you set out to do, you still will achieve at a high level. If
they don't raise 135, maybe they will raise 100 which will still do a lot of
good things for that program. It really opened my eyes. It shows a huge
commitment on the part of Jamie Pollard to make that athletic department, in
particularly, the football program a major player in the Big 12 on a consistent
basis. That's important.
You can read Steve Sipple's work
at JournalStar.com. Sipple is also a regular guest on the Marty and Miller show
on 1460 KXNO.