Football Quotebook: Tennessee Tech

Dan McCarney:

Overall comments:

"It's great to be home again this week. For the month of September we don't even have to leave the state of Iowa. I love that part of it. We're expecting another real good crowd on Saturday night. It should be a great night for football and the new atmosphere with the permanent lights."

"I'm proud of our effort on Saturday and we corrected all of the mistakes yesterday in our meetings and on the practice field. I'm looking forward to the next game. We're going to do all that we can to keep improving and keep the accelerator down. I want to make sure that our football team understands that we aren't even close to where we need to be yet. If we approach it that way, do a good job in practice and prepare, then we'll have a real good chance to win again this Saturday."

"Our special teams captain this week will be Ellis Hobbs. He is doing an excellent job for us."

"Along the injury front, the only problem we had the other day was Joe Woodley. It will be day to day. We'll make a decision as the week goes on. I'm sure not going to take any chances with a guy that valuable to our team. We won't put him out there if we don't think he's 100 percent. That will be the doctor's decision, not mine."

"We gave out game balls yesterday to Hiawatha Rutland, Jeremy Loyd and Jordan Carstens. All three really played outstanding football on Saturday."

"We also had about 15 players hit the field for the first time, so that was good. None of them were dominant, but they all played well. I didn't sense a lot of dropoff when our twos went on the field Saturday. That's always a good sign for your football team."

on Tennessee Tech:

"Mike Hennigan is coming back and bringing a very solid Tennessee Tech team in here. They've been in the top 25 of I-AA the last two years. They were picked preseason this year. They got off to a real bad start at Bowling Green and had two punts blocked and fumbled the ball twice. As you barely sat down to watch the tape, it's 28-0. They got in a huge whole and we can sure identify from that in our first game."

"But they've had 15 wins over the past two seasons and they'll come in here ready and excited to play a Big 12 football team."

on what concerns him about Tech:

"Throwing the football. Craft threw for almost 260 yards. He's the new quarterback. They'll run a lot of screens, threw double passes and are going to throw the ball all over the place. Defensively, they've got some good athletes. Bowling Green got them down so fast and hard in that first game, it's hard to judge the gameplan in the second half because it's 41-0 at the half."

"But they've got good players, are well-coached and sound. We just have to do everything we can to jump on them like we did Kansas, get them down and keep them down and don't let them back in. That's part of the plan for this week."

on defensive end D.J. Bleisath:

"He's a real fine player and is up for a lot of Division I-AA awards. He was all-conference last season. He uses his hands well, is a very physical player and is an outstanding effort guy. But our offensive line sees some pretty good defensive linemen in practice every day. When you go against Carstens like our interior three do so much in practice, it sure gets you ready for everybody else's top defensive linemen."

on getting team not to overlook Tech:

"Every game counts. Every victory counts. Every one is huge in the plan for the season, so that when it comes to November hopefully we're playing for the rewards that we have the past two years. Every one is very, very important. I don't sense any problem with that being around the kids yesterday. We're on a mission and determined to have a real good year against the toughest schedule in the history of this place. This is another goal that we've set to go get a win."

on Iowa State not yet being ranked:

"I don't have anything to do with that. I really don't. I have my votes. With what you can accomplish at the end of the season, the accolades, rewards and honors at this time really doesn't matter."

on any surprise with defense's effort:

"The last six quarters have been outstanding. It doesn't surprise me that Jeremy Loyd, Jordan Carstens and Atif Austin are playing good. But then you start talking about Nick Leaders playing as much as he has, or Erik Anderson playing a lot of snaps out there. Shaheed Richardson got some valuable playing time. Cephus Johnson got some valuable playing time. We're getting some guys on the field that haven't played much."

"We expect it to be a good defense this year. Whether we go from good to outstanding, time will tell. We've got to stay healthy and continue to build more depth. We haven't forced a fumble yet, or recovered one. We haven't scored on defense, or blocked a PAT, field goal or punt, so there are lots of things we haven't done yet with this defense or our defensive personnel. But they're playing real good. I liked how hard they played on Saturday."

on any surprise with play of offensive line:

"I'm definitely surprised with the progress of our offensive line. Three starters from last year and Luke Vander Sanden out of there, those are four guys you've got to replace. We still don't have guys that are all grading real high, but as a unit they are definitely making improvement and doing a lot of things. I'm real proud of that group."

"We're not deep and we're not playing lots of guys in those games. Fortunately we did get our twos in there the other day for some valuable snaps. But we've got to develop depth and continue to improve. Hopefully we'll do that on Saturday."

on how position changes came for new O-linemen:

"First of all we missed on some kids that we signed. That caused part of it. It's not unusual when you recruit kids that play a lot of defense in high school and you move them to offense. But you've got to make sure they still have that temperament, attitude, toughness and growth potential that go into those positions."

"Casey Shelton, when we recruited him, was a guy that we knew could play offensive line. But I wanted to see if he could play defense first. He was going to be O.K. on defense, but I felt like he was a kid that could challenge for honors someday on offense. I still believe that now. He'll be a really good player these next two years."

"Dewayne Johnson could not play defense. That was not his position. We should have moved him earlier and that was my fault. He was a scout team offensive linemen for us last year. He was a definite bust on defense, but is not a bust on offense. But he's got to improve a lot each week of this season."

"I felt the same way about Luke Vander Sanden—he was a Division I Big 12 offensive linemen. We wanted to give him a shot on defense first. He was not going to be very good on defense. The move was going to be natural. So he has moved over. Despite the injury, he's got a chance to come back and be a real good player for us."

"Stubbe is the same thing. There was another one that was O.K. He was our goal-line specialist early in the season last year, but that's the only playing time he had."

More on Johnson:

"He's doing better. The mental part of it he really struggled with in the spring and in two-a-days. There were too many mental errors and busts. He's improved on that a lot. He's still not where he needs to be. But the kid has played in two college football games. I'm real proud of his progress. There was no way he could play defense for us. Thank God he has accepted making the move to offense. He's got a chance to be a real success story on this team if he keeps improving. Frankly, he's played better than I thought he could for having zero experience in college football these first two games."

On kicking game:

"We won the kicking game overall when we broke the six phases down. Punt team was very solid and has been the first two games. We've got to keep improving, but Tony is doing a good jump. The punter, protection, snap and coverage has been very good. Punt return and punt block leaves a lot to be desired. We've got to improve a lot. It was nice to see us be sound against the fake the other day and get the interception. But we've got to make more things happen in the return game. We got the one roughing penalty and you don't like that."

"The kickoff team has been outstanding. We held them to 15.5 yards per return on four kicks. They were our special teams MVP as a unit. They're outstanding and our kickoff return has gotten the longest in the Big 12 so far with Lance Young."

"Our rush didn't get tested much Saturday on PATs and field goals. The PAT and field goals, Benike is 12-of-13 and has missed only one kick. He's off to a real good start. Tony has missed the two field goals that he's attempted. Two out of five is not what we're looking for in the first two games of the year. It can be a part in helping us win some big games or lose some if we don't get more consistency there."

On kicking game being better in practice:

"It has been so far. But for never playing before, Adam Benike has only missed one kick on a field goal Saturday. It was not a bad miss. Tony's miss was bad and was way, way off. He's got to get more consistent."

On situation at defensive end with Beau Coleman's move:

"Beau is playing really good football. He's doing a really good job. He's relentless and has good hands. The one sack that he gets, he beats the tight end and running back. It's just pure Beau Coleman at its best. It's all-out, relentless effort all the time. He's under-sized, too short, not supposed to be a Division I player and there wasn't anybody else knocking down his door when he was recruited. He didn't have a lot of opportunities, but I'm glad to have him on my team. What you see out there on gameday, that's the way he practices Monday through Friday."

"It's not that much different, other than when you're at defensive end you're usually always on someone. Rush, a lot of times you're not out-flanked by someone like a tight end and are on the open end of the formation. The things you've got to do with pad level, toughness, getting off on the step and playing explosively with a base, it's really not that different. He can play both of them and will for the rest of the season."

"Cephus didn't hardly even play in the first game and played more the other day. We need to keep bringing him along and Shaheed Richardson. Those two guys have got to improve and bring us quality depth."

on how depth chart shakes out on two ends:

"We're trying to develop depth with all of those guys. Tyson is our rush and Beau cam swing. If something happens and he needs a blow or gets nicked, we'll move Beau right over there and move Cephus. The playing time that those guys get between the two of them will be determined out here in practice."

"We all sit down on Thursdays with coordinators and the whole staff separately and talk about the breakdown and what we think on substitution, the anticipated number of plays per guys and then have to be flexible on it depending on injuries and how the game goes."

on what he thought of beginning of Kansas game:

"I didn't think it was a slow start on Saturday. Our first five possessions, defensively, were four punts, four three-and-outs and an interception. We couldn't have started much better. Offensively, it was field goal, turnover with the interception and we came back with a touchdown. We had one series that wasn't very good on the first eight on offense and defense."

"But we need to play a game without a turnover and sack. We led the Big 12 from turnover ratio and were one of the best in the country the last two years in giving up sacks and protection. We haven't done that yet. We've gone two games where there's been at least one turnover and one or two sacks. We need to improve."

"We were 7-of-8 and would have liked to be 8-of-8. We talk about being 100 percent in the red zone, but it came down to a missed field goal. We're trying to put points on the board, but let's turn some of those field goal attempts and field goals into touchdowns. The important thing is that we come out of there all the time with points."

on Seneca Wallace getting more attention:

"He should be watched by everybody for any of the awards at the end of the season, whether it's local, regional or national. We just want him to keep improving, leading our offense and winning games. At the end of that, hopefully there will be something nice for everybody."

"We can't afford to that here. You probably heard about the Rutgers-Villanova game. Rutgers was favored by three or four touchdowns and got spanked bad by Villanova, a I-AA team. Before I got here, we all know that a I-AA team beat Iowa State. I'm just not going to let it happen. Every one of these games is so important to our season and the mission we're on here. I'll make sure we're not taking anything for granted. We'll talk about it each day. That's my job as a head coach."

on Jeremy Loyd stepping up as a senior:

"It's a small senior class. I meet with those guys every week. That's one of the first things that I ask out of them, to give us more big plays and be leaders. When you have a real young team overall, those guys are really important overall. I really like the job that Jeremy Loyd is doing. He's playing real good football. But there hasn't been much dropoff when we put Erik Anderson out there. He almost got an interception like Jeremy had. Those two as a pair are the best SAM backers we've had since I've been here."

thoughts on first-ever night game under permanent lights:

"The players are excited about it. It should be a great atmosphere. We've heard from a lot of people that got a chance to watch us play the last couple weeks. I think they know that we've got a good program. It's not just a good team this year, it's a good program. We'll get a good crowd, I don't think there's any doubt about it. Our kids are excited about it. We're playing three night games the next three weeks and will stick with the schedule we've had. I think we're 9-4 in the last 13 night games."

on affect all of the excitement has had on recruiting:

"This is the first week we could call young men. Sunday was the first time we could do that. I haven't talked to any that didn't see either one or both of those games. It's always nice to get that exposure."

Lance Young on ISU's playing 13-game schedule:

"He's been saying that a lot this week. It's not a big-name program, but you still can't take the guys lightly. I know they want to come in here and get a win. We have to play in our home and protect our home field."

Jordan Carstens on defensive play:

"We definitely have some momentum going, from playing as well as we did in the second half against Florida State and then playing Kansas real well. We have to use that and come into this game starting fast. We need to keep rolling so we have some momentum going the rest of the season."

"I kind of knew inside that we were a good defense. I had a feeling that we could play like we had been. I wouldn't say that I'm really surprised, but that I'm happy we're playing like we are and hope we can keep going."

Atif Austin on team not being in top 25:

"I feel like we should be already in there, but it's coming. We just have to play every game hard and we'll get up there. The object is to finish in the top 25. We want people to notice that Iowa State is on the map and do better each year."

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