Five Questions with Jack Whitver

Several hot topics are being talked about all over message boards and talk radio after last week's game at Iowa. Would you have gone for it on 4th down? What about taking a shot at the end of the 1st half? How can we get Todd Blythe more touches? Find out what former team captain Jack Whitver has to say about all of these questions and much more here in this CN interview.

Williams: There seems to be a lot of people upset about McCarney's decision not to go for it at the end of the first half. If you're the coach…what do you do?


Whitver: I don't think that's a bad decision at all. You're leading 14-10, they just made a huge play and had a lot of momentum on their side, I think that as an Iowa State fan, you go in to halftime at Kinnick Stadium up by four points, you're pretty happy.


Williams: When it was fourth and 10 with five minutes to go, what would you have done there?


Whitver: That's a tough decision because they had timeouts to punt it and get the ball back, but with the way Drew Tate was playing and the new rules with the clock running, I think that Coach Mac went with his gut which told him, we've got to get it here. There could have been a chance where if they punted, Tate would have drove down the field like he had either running or with play action passes and we would have never gotten the ball back. People can criticize Coach Mac for being too conservative or not being conservative enough. In the past, we've always heard that he's way too conservative. Well, he went for the win and he lost. Hindsight is 20-20 and he went with his gut and did what he thought was the right thing to do.


Williams: How would you get Todd Blythe the ball more?


Whitver: I think one of the keys is that you need to find out which formation that you run out of the five, six or seven that you have in your playbook, allow you to see which one gets you single coverage on Blythe. Every game this entire year, they are going to see double coverage on him. There are a couple of things against Iowa that they tried. One is that they put him as the outside receiver; it worked pretty well with some of the comeback routes and the slant routes. If you put him outside, they can't focus as much on him as opposed to the slot receiver where you can put a linebacker over the top of him and a safety deep. It looked to me in the Iowa game, when they went to the two receiver set, it made Iowa respect the run a lot more. They brought more guys in the box and left more match-ups on the outside.


Williams: Obviously the offense is struggling compared to what people expected of them this year. When you watch this team, what is the number one reason why this offense isn't putting more points on the board?


Whitver: I think that in the Iowa game, the running game was ok. But if you go back and look at tape, there is a large percentage of the game where Iowa only had five guys in the box. They had five defenders against our linemen and a running back. In those situations, they are just daring us to run the ball and if we need to run the ball more effectively. We did ok, but they said beat us running, and we couldn't. It's just a matter of coming up with the right game plan and the players executing it. I think that we had a good game plan, but Iowa's players made a ton of good plays. They came up with the big plays when they needed them like Chandler's tough catch, Brodell's slant that he took to the end zone. They had a ton of good plays and made more than Iowa State.


Williams: As a former player, you just got beat by your arch-rival; now you have to go down to play the defending champs on the road. What's it like being in that position going to Texas on Saturday.


Whitver: I think that is why most of these players decided to go to Iowa State. They want to play the best competition week in and week out. That's exactly what they have. They just got done with a huge emotional game, now the next week they go down to play the defending champs. If you ask Todd Blythe how he feels about it, I bet he is thrilled with it. That's why he went to Iowa State. I think they're probably excited. I remember when I was a junior; we just got thumped by Oklahoma by 40 points. Then we had to go to Texas the next week. You just learn to put it behind you and to focus on the next game. We put it behind us and came out against Texas and were leading at halftime. I think that Coach Mac does a very good job of getting his players focused on the task at hand.


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