Mac at Media Day: Part Three

In the final installment of Mac's presser at media day he discusses the kicking situation, the emergence of newcomers on the offensive line and just how much he enjoys media day.

On Kicking Game:


I know Culbertson is our PAT guy, Brandtner so far is our best punter. He has had a real good start to camp. And I don't know who are kick-off guy is going to be. It could be Culbertson, it could be Mahoski, it could be Greihbahn, one of those three. Maybe even another walk-on. We've got a couple walk-ons coming up first day of classes. Tony (Yelk) showed that even though that was the only thing he did, it was a real important part of our football team. We're going to continue to evaluate that.

On returning five seniors on a starting offensive line:

The one Fisher that's coming back is a senior but he is not real experienced. Scott played a lot but Paul was a PAT/field goal guy, so here he hasn't had much experiecne. Those things are definitely not in cement. I'm really impressed with Reggie Stephens, 322 pounds and off to a great start. I'm really impressed with Lee Tibbs even though he just got here. He's been here this summer, but he just got here as far as practice goes. Those two kids are going to put some heat on those five seniors right now for their jobs, there's no doubt about it.

On Ryan Kock:

Yeah, I love him. Unselfish, selfless, team guy. He's going to do whatever it takes. A couple of years ago we were trying to find him more playing time and moved him to defensive end just to give him a shot. He did it with a great attitude. We found out that wasn't his forte, but whatever it takes to help our team. He's in great shape and his conditioning and his shape are getting a little better since he got back from his honeymoon.

On expectations of Bret Meyer:

The worst thing we can do is put all of this weight and all of this emphasis on Bret that you've got to be the guy. It's not fair to him. But he handles responsibility because his maturity is way beyond his age. I knew that when I started recruiting him in high school. That's why I've got a lot of faith in him. I don't think we can put too much on him, he'd handle it. But I don't want to do that. I don't want him to feel like he has to have the weight of this whole football team on his shoulders. Some of that goes with the position and you can either bow up and go in the other direction or you can embrace that type of pressure and responsibility as a quarterback and say "I'm going to lead us."

On approaches to red zone and overtime in practice:

We get a lot of red zone work, we get overtime work. It wasn't just because we've lost two overtime games the last two years for the championship. We've done that and we'll continue to do that and hopefully be better at it when we get to game situations come overtime.  We work on a lot of red zone a lot of overtime. We'll bring Big 12 officials in during camp and take them right through overtime situations, walk them out for the flip of the coin. We coach them on it, we go through the rules of overtime, we put them in those situations. But we've got to do a better job to win those games this year.

On this season turning the corner:

I don't ever feel like there is a "have to" to do anything. If you're asking whether I'm scared about my job security coming to work every day. No. I don't worry about that. I try to leave this job each night hoping and believing it's better than in the morning when I got there. I feel very, very positive, I feel blessed, appreciative about being the dean of the Big 12. There's only eight coaches in the country that have been one place longer than me, that's a strong statement about the program we've built, the fans, the administration at Iowa State. I feel as healthy as I ever have, I feel as young as I ever have, I'm more inspired and motivated than I ever have been to defy the odds and do things that most people think we can't this year because of strength of schedule. I think it's going to be a great ride.

On constant questions about the schedule:

I don't get too mad, I haven't dog-cussed anybody. We keep talking about overtime games, how long can we talk about that? That's only been brought up about seven times here. And there's strength of schedule. But it's there and I'm going to talk about it, that's part of my responsibility and hopefully you'll get most of the answers you want.

On lack of bye week:

That's a great question. We're continuing to talk about it and we've talked about it for a long time. I don't have any trouble making decisions, but right now I'm not sure. They know they're going to work Sunday and they're off on Monday, that's going to stay the same. But we've been going pads Tuesday, pads Wednesday, half pack on Thursday, shorts on Friday. I think we have to see how the season goes early in the year. Do we back off a little bit, do we take the shoulder pads off on Thursday? We've talked to a lot of other coaches around the country because we're all battling this. The one thing about the open week is you get to rest, you get to rehab your kids, catch your breath, get your mind as hopefully as fresh as your body. That's just as important sometimes. This is a long haul. There isn't any off weeks for us, but a great opportunity.

On replay system:

I think it's good. We've talked through it and I think the Big 10 did a heck of a job getting it started. That was kind of the experiment for all of us. I'm glad we've got it. Anything we can do to make the outcome of the game determined by players and coaches, that's what we want. I think it gives us a better chance to do that.

On media day:

It's great, I love it, my favorite part of the week. Anything else?

On improving the running game:

It's got to be better, it's got to be more physical. It starts with the offensive line, the tight ends. Obviously a healthy Hicks, a healthy Scales, Harris, those young guys make a difference. But this is about what happens up front. It's been that way for a hundred years and it will be that way for the next hundred. We've got quality backs here at Iowa State but what happens in the trenches? Do you get stalemates or do you get movement? Do you knock people off the football or do you just get stalemates? It's going to be really important that we're much better at run blocking than we were last year. That's the challenge ahead and my belief is we can be, should be and need to be.

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