TBS Sports' Charles Davis on Iowa State

Charles Davis is entering his fourth year as lead analyst on TBS' Big 12 and Pac 10 broadcasts. The former UT Vol defensive back has covered everything from the NBA Playoffs on TNT to the Arena Football league. He is an up and comer in the world of television and is well-respected by everyone in the CFB world. Find out his thoughts on ISU and if TBS will travel to Ames this fall.

Blum: What do you think of this Iowa State program?


Davis: I love the program, because I love Dan McCarney. I love what he's done there. A couple things come to mind when I think of Iowa State, and I know it's a new athletic director in Jamie Pollard so its not the same as it was when he was hired. But the administration, especially Gene Smith, the patience that was shown, understanding that Iowa State is not Texas, not Oklahoma, you are not just going to turn it around by having the right guy in place. Oklahoma was able to do that because Bob Stoops came to town, but the infrastructure was always there. Mack Brown came to town, but the infrastructure was always there. So those guys, being as dynamic as they are, were able to make that turnaround. Dan McCarney had a lot more work to do. And you just don't hear people having that type of patience anymore and I think they are handsomely reward by that.


I've heard this little whispering out there that Dan McCarney needs to do this or needs to do that, otherwise with a new A.D….which I find folly with in Ames, Iowa. Five bowls in the last six years. That's got to count for a whole lot in Ames, Iowa.


Blum: Can Iowa State reach that next level where they consistently compete for the Big 12 North?    


Davis: Yea, I think they can hit that where they consistently compete for it, but I don't think people should expect that every year they are going to be right there at the end. I think you are going to have those years, like the last two years, where they were a couple of kicks away from playing for the Big 12 Championship. They've got to have that type of success every so often in order to sustain and continue to fuel these things. He's got them right there and some of its just bad luck. You don't expect those kicks to be missed. And I'm not trying to point at the kicker, because every coach can go abck and say, "If we've done this play, if we've done that play," but they were right there. To be able to break through one time would be huge for them.


I used to work at Stanford in the Pac-10. You don't expect Stanford to win the Pac-10 every year, but every so often they'll bubble out there with that big year, it's just hard to sustain it and hard to keep it going. To me Dan McCarney has done a great job of sustaining. I mean 5 bowl games in the last six years. That means more to me than what people would expect. Who else has done that at Iowa State? I played for Johnny Majors at Tennessee and he did a great job there but his record at Iowa State was probably about .500, Jim Walden, everybody loved him, but his record was well south of .500, Earle Bruce was there for a very short time, but didn't do what McCarney has.


Blum: Is Iowa State gaining respect nationally?


Davis: People know who Iowa State is. Coaches know that you don't want to play Iowa State. You don't look at Iowa State and circle win next to hit. That's the biggest change. Nationally when they go out and play people, those aren't body-bag games, previously they were. Iowa State expects to go out on the road and win or expects to bring a high-caliber opponent in and win. That's the biggest difference and I credit Dan McCarney fully for that.        


Blum: What do you think of the Big 12 North this year?


Davis: I'd say Nebraska is #1, I think after that it's a jumble. I'm no super-expert on the whole thing, but I think you've got a real logjam of Iowa State, Colorado banging away at trying to win that one. Missouri, almost a fresh start without Brad Smith, with Gary Pinkel they want to get some stuff done. K-State with Ron Prince. I think Colorado may be the team that may surprise some people because I think that Dan Hawkins is a terrific coach and it's a place that's looking for a fresh beginning.


Blum: What do you think of Jack Trice and will we see you guys (TBS) this fall?


Davis: I love it. We hope so. I've found it a terrific place to go. We've had some fun times there and some good games. The Seneca Wallace game against Texas Tech—that was just a great, tremendous night with the atmosphere and what they were doing at that point in the season. It's just a marvelous place—the people are terrific, we've seen the improvement in facilities, the indoor place has been built since we first started doing games, the practice fields, the weight room, the strength and conditioning, the video. I just love the feel and the air when I come to Ames. I really love it and hope to get back there this year.


Blum: Are Bret Meyer and Todd Blythe deserving of 1st team status?


Davis: They are. They are that good. People know who they are, point towards them and design defenses towards them and they still produce. That tells me how good they are. Anyone can be good as a surprise, but week in, week out, doing it, catching so many balls, throwing and running like Meyer does. Yea, they're legit. No doubt about it.   

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