McCarney Presser Report: 9-5

On Tuesday morning, Iowa State coach Dan McCarney met with the media to talk about his team's upcoming game with UNLV. In this CN presser report, find out everything that the coach had to say about UNLV and also some tidbits from the Toledo game.

Opening Comments


In his general opening comments, McCarney said that the health of his team was very solid after the first game. In fact, McCarney said that everybody who played against Toledo would take the field Saturday against UNLV.


McCarney gave Bret Meyer and Todd Blythe game balls at the team meetings on Friday. No defensive player of the week was awarded while Caleb Berg was named the special team's captain for this Saturday night.


McCarney also noted that freshman strong safety James Smith is currently ahead of schedule in his recovery.


Getting Blythe the Rock


Nothing has dominated messages boards or call-in shows like the topic of getting Todd Blythe the ball more after he recorded three receptions in regulation last Thursday. McCarney agrees but he also said that you can't be stubborn about it.


"You can't be hard headed about it and stubborn. You can't say ‘well we're going to him' and they're over there saying ‘oh no you're not going to him.' Then the next thing, we're coming out with three or four or five turnovers. We don't want to do that either," McCarney said.


Luckily for Iowa State, the Cyclones have one of the top receiving corps in the Big 12.


"The neat thing is that we've got real quality receivers all over the place. We don't go in thinking that we have to get it to Blythe or we won't win," McCarney said. "We'd love to get him involved as much as we can. He's got the eye of the tiger and the fire in his eye. He wants the ball and yet he can improve in his route running, he can improve in his blocking. When the game is on the line, what a phenomenal player he is."


Pressure is Key


One thing that the coach was adamant about on Tuesday was the fact that his young defense needs to put more pressure on the quarterback and it all has to start with the front four.


"We want to get more pressure first of all with our front four. That's just digging down in the trenches and doing a better job. You can't blitz all day. Modern day college football people start licking their chops when you're going to start bringing a lot of people. You've got to be better with your front four," McCarney said.


Iowa State will have a little more depth in the front four on Saturday night when red-shirt freshman Stephon Dale will make his Iowa State debut. McCarney said on Tuesday that Dale hasn't missed one practice and will be in the mix on Saturday.


Mental Errors


Like he said after the game on Thursday, McCarney continued to comment on the mental errors that his defense against Toledo and once again, he threw a lot of the responsibility on the coaches.


"Our mental errors have got to be eliminated and kept to a minimum. We had far too many of those," McCarney said. "Some good positive things but the mental error things are ones that I take very serious, I don't tolerate and I put a lot of responsibility right back on the coaches."


Though the mental errors were there, Iowa State still managed to win the turnover margin two to one over Toledo.


"We only got two turnovers. We want more than that," McCarney said.


New Playmakers on Defense


Iowa State's defense was headlined by 35 combined tackles between linebackers Alvin Bowen and Tyrone McKenzie on Thursday night. McCarney was impressed, but stressed that their games weren't flawless.


"When you look at 35 tackles with those two inside linebackers, it's pretty obvious that those two have talent and can make plays. That's a tremendous job but they weren't clean throughout the game and they had some mental errors. That's why those guys weren't MVP's for the game," McCarney said.


Another bright spot on Thursday was the play of true freshman DE Rashawn Parker.


"Here comes a true freshman with two of the biggest plays of the game, sacks back to back. There's no doubt that he's got playmaking ability," McCarney said.


A Much Improved UNLV Squad


UNLV went 2-9 last year in the Mountain West Conference. That's not impressive, but the improvements that the Rebels have made in the off-season are.


"They're better for a lot of reasons, mostly because they are in their second year with their program. And because of transfers, and because of development, and because of recruiting. They look much better than they did on all the tape we watched of last year when they finished 2-9," McCarney said.


UNLV beat Div. 1 AA Idaho State by a score of 54-10 on Saturday night and they did it in every fashion of the game.


"They blocked a punt for a touchdown, they scored on defense, they scored every way imaginable on offense. They completely dominated the game, it was 30-3 at half and got worse in the second half," McCarney said.


One Tough QB


UNLV runs a spread shotgun offense and they are led by their big-time quarterback and USC transfer, Rocky Hinds. After sitting out last season, Saturday's game against Idaho State provided the only tape that the Cyclone coaches have to prepare for Hinds.


"I can't tell you how excited we were to see that tape because all we've seen is what we've read and what we've saw. We watched all of their games last year but we didn't get to see him play," McCarney said.


At 6'5, McCarney sees the quarterback's height as a huge advantage for him running the shotgun offense.


 "It helps when you're 6'5 and you can see over all of those offensive and defensive linemen up front," McCarney said.


Here's what McCarney had to say in a bit of a ‘scouting report' on Hinds.


"I think that he distributes the ball well. Nine different receivers caught balls last week in the game that they played." "As a runner I think he looks a lot like Bret Meyer. He can hurt you with his feet too. You can see why he was recruited by everybody in the country coming out of high school. In everything that I have read, the University of Texas, which is a pretty good program, recruited the heck out of him when he made the decision that he was going to leave USC."


Saturday will mark Rocky's first ever game starting on the road.






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