Football Quotebook: Iowa

Dan McCarney:

Opening comments:

"This is my 21st Iowa State-Iowa game and I have a little different perspective than some people after being in all of those games. I appreciate being a part of it and having a chance to coach in this game."

"Both teams are off to a great start for the season and are coming off of bowl seasons last year. I counted 18 wins combined over last year and to the start of this season. Everybody in this state should be real proud of both of these programs."

"You don't get many chances for Big 12-Big 10 matchups as the season goes on. It's a fantastic opportunity for both schools and we're proud to be a part of it."

"Iowa State-Iowa is real special to all of us. I've got 66 kids on my team from the state of Iowa and half of my starters are from the state of Iowa. But I counted 14 kids in the two-deep that have never played in this game before. It's my job and all of our's to make sure they understand the meaning of this game, the intensity and how hard you've got to play.

"Both of us, when we watch each other on tape, whatever you see, both teams will play better and with a higher intensity on Saturday. We've got to make sure that we're ready to go. It will be a huge challenge for our program and this team."

"Iowa's been playing great football, especially at home. Over last season and the beginning of this season, the only game they've lost is to Michigan and that came down to the wire. They're playing outstanding at home and are starting to do that on the road, too."

"I think it's a great matchup. There are a lot of veterans on both teams, some brand new faces with guys that have never played in this game, there is talent on both teams and both programs are on very solid ground. I think it makes for a real exciting game."

"Everybody should be available for the game on Saturday. Any of the injuries we've had were minor in nature, which is great. God willing, it will stay that way throughout the season. We're going to try to stay as healthy in practice and coming out of games."

"Kyle Knock will be our special teams captain. He's done a fabulous job for us the first three games and is a very valuable guy to us, besides being our starting tight end. He's doing a great job on the special teams for us."

On if he has been in more Iowa State-Iowa games than anyone else:

"I really don't know. This is my 21st, so I'm up there with a few guys. I don't know who's had more. I love it, I really do. I have memories from all of them. It's a lot more fun when you win than when you lose in this game. Either way, the season moves on. We've got nine more games after the Iowa game. We'll do everything we can to win this game, but there are a lot of games, challenges and opportunities out there. We've got to make sure that the kids understand that."

On if this will be a big-time home field advantage for Iowa:

"I think there probably is. You can study it through the years. I haven't looked back at it. But there's no doubt it, this will be the first real tough, hostile environment that this team's been in. Some guys have and some haven't, because Kansas City sure wasn't a hostile environment since that was our crowd down there. That will be the first time. You find out a lot about your team and some players that have never been in that atmosphere when you go into a game like this."

On if team believes in itself more than past ones that have faced the Hawks:

"I would hope that it has. I would hope that there is some confidence with this team and with the players that they have a chance and believe they can win this football game. It's going to be a major challenge and extremely tough, but we're going to do all that we can to try and keep this thing going."

On matching and maybe even surpassing Iowa's intensity:

"It has to. I hope it does. We'll find out on Saturday. The desire and hunger is one of the key ingredients to who wins this football game. Everybody wants to win, but being able to make those plays, play four quarters, win four quarters and win the fourth quarter alone—I just don't see any real knockouts in this game. I think it's going to be a heck of a football game."

On what he thinks of underdog role this weekend:

"I don't mind at all. We're so used to it here and I'm sure there will be a number of more times this year that we'll be underdogs. We're trying to do things with this program, regardless of what happens out there in Vegas, to put ourselves in the position to win games, sustain success and gain some more honor and credibility for this program. Whether we're favored or underdogs, we've got to win games on Saturdays."

On how much pressure could play factor in teams performance:

"I don't know that it is. Players in this series and matchup know the importance of this and how much it means. It is still a game, though, and we've got to go out and try to play the game. If you're so uptight and feel so much pressure that you can't execute, then we're not going to win this game. There is a fine line there, but we're going to do all that we can to make sure our kids are educated, motivated and ready to go."

On how important it was to his job security to beat Iowa:

"It was not number one. I did not come in here and say I've got to beat Iowa to keep my job and keep my opportunity here at Iowa State. But I knew there was something eventually we'd have to start doing. The first thing we had to do was get out and recruit and upgrade the depth, personnel, playmakers and players in the program. It was a mismatch for 15 years and I was a part of three of those where it was a mismatch all over the place."

"I haven't changed my coaching style, as far as how we prepare for this game. It's just that I've got better players doing it now. It's always been an important game for all of us here, but we've got to move on no matter what happens on Saturday."

On if beating Iowa in 1998 saved his job:

"I don't know if it did or not. You'd have to check with Gene Smith and Dr. (Martin) Jischke. It probably didn't hurt matters, but I don't know."

On how ISU was able to turn the tables so quickly:

"We were able to develop and recruit our players, walk-ons and each year keep trying to get some kids into the program that had a chance to go to both programs. We've got some of the now and that wasn't the situation when I got here. There wasn't anybody in the program that had said no to Iowa to come to Iowa State when I got here. Bill Marsau was the first. Now both schools are getting good players from the state of Iowa, which is the way it should be and I think the way that it will always be. We'll get our share."

"Then we were able to develop a good recruiting base out of the state of Iowa and we brought in some good playmakers. Now we don't line up and say there's a mismatch with speed here, size here or physicalness. It's developing the program, not just setting your sights on any one game and trying to win it. It's developing your program and trying to improve each day."

On having past players come back to address team:

"I just talked to Todd Bandhauer today. He's working up in Wisconsin and wanted to send a fax. He won't be able to be here. All of the players here that knew what we went through and how hard it was to get this thing turned around and turn the series around and make it competitive again, they're all proud being a part of that. They're the biggest supporters we have."

On current players addressing team about game's importance:

"We'd be surprised if Zach doesn't say a few words this week. I don't put any direction and parameters on that. It's important if young people talk to your team, it comes from the heart. I don't have time for any phonies or guys saying something they can't back up. Those are the best leaders and communicators I have ever been around. We've got a lot of guys on this team that can lead and they don't have a phony bone in their body and it comes from the heart."

More on Iowa:

"They've really got good speed and great depth at running back, wide receiver and Banks is playing outstanding football at quarterback. He doesn't have any turnovers or picks and is over 65 percent completion average. He's playing with great confidence and like a guy that started all last year. He's really got a great presence about him right now."

"It's a physical offensive line and is Kirk's best that he's had since he's been there. It's the same one as last year, but they're all bigger, stronger and more experience. It's an outstanding offensive line. Dallas Clark is one of the better tight ends around in college football."

"Then you look defensively and they're holding people to 40 yards rushing in two games. They're picking up right where they left off last year when they had one of the best defenses in the Big 10. They're very physical and experienced."

"Nate Kaeding gives you a chance to win any game you line up in and play, because of the strength of his leg, accuracy and confidence."

On keeping Iowa game at same time of year or moving it:

"I like it right now. I'm all for keeping it just where it is. I'd rather play it now than at the end of the season. It sounds like we're going to have great weather and your chances are better for real good weather. I like the way it's played. It's all I've been used to and I hope we can keep it that way."

On surprising play of offensive line in first three games:

"We took a major hit there. Three of them in NFL camps and Mike Banks goes to Phoenix. Those are four of your front six blockers, then Luke Vander Sanden goes down. We took a real hit and it was a position that we weren't deep in to begin with. I'm real proud of those guys and the job Marty Fine has done. He had to get up to speed real fast. You don't just come in here and instantly know the program, players and system. Those guys have made a lot of progress and need to continue to improve."

On left guard Dewayne Johnson, who took over for the injured Luke Vander Sanden:

"He's done a good job. He's not having any all-Big 12 performances and is not the highest grader by any means, but he has played solid football and is still learning. He made mistakes last week, but is playing very physical. He's got to play smarter. But for a guy that has never played and stood around last year on the scout team and not playing one varsity snap, I'm real happy with what he's done so far. He has got to keep the eye of the tiger and stay hungry. We can't win if he stays where he's at right now."

On battle that shapes up when Vander Sanden returns next month:

"I think it will be good competition, but Luke was clearly our best offensive guard at that position. He and Bobby (Montgomery) are our two starters. It will be good competition and won't be handed to (Vander Sanden), but it will be hard to keep him out of the lineup once he gets back. He is off crutches, out of the cast and is doing real well. It sounds right now like he is a little bit ahead of schedule."

On comparisons of Seneca Wallace and Brad Banks:

"I think they're very similar in a lot of ways and have real strong arms. Banks is much more accurate now than he was last year. He appears to be making real good decisions. He does have real live feet like Seneca does, so there are a lot of similarities. As operators, leaders, quarterbacks, the strength of the arm, quickness, athleticism, hips and feet, they are very similar. They've done a real good job of bringing Banks along."

On impact of Marc Cortez's letter now and in past:

"It had a lot of impact. Marc was a guy that had major surgeries on just about every part of his body, but there was never anything more important to him than this program and team. That was the message. He said that God has given you a gift, that it could end at any time and take advantage of it and that he'd be with them out there on the field in spirit. If you knew the guy and what this team meant to him and how much he meant to the team at the time, his attitude and chemistry that he brought to this football team meant an awful lot to us and still does. We still share that with our team. It's part of the tradition of this series."

On how much this series means to Iowa City native Zach Butler:

"He has that great passion for this game and football team. Those guys that were here from the beginning and understand how far we've come, those are the ones that success and winning games like this mean the most to. You can appreciate it and I can really appreciate. These kids that are now seniors, and there are not many of them on this team, to those guys it means an awful lot. They're going to have to lead us this Saturday for us to have a chance to win this game."

"He's one of those special kids that don't come around very often. There are a lot of good players out there, but all of the other stuff that he brings. I knew the first week on campus that he was going to be a great leader. He was a leader the first few days on campus as a freshman. He's got that personality, temperament and that attitude. It's carried him a long ways and hopefully will beyond Iowa State."

Nick Linder on dealing with friends in hometown of Iowa City:

"This week I'll get some calls from all of my buddies. Everybody wants to chirp in about the game and how Iowa's going to do this and that. I just kind of let it slide off my back. It's not a big deal. I'm happy to be here and with what this team is doing."

Todd Miller on impact of game to players from Iowa:

"It has a lot of meaning to a lot of the Iowa kids on both sides. But Butler and Linder are definite leaders and are fiery guys. They bring a lot of emotion. Being on the sidelines, you can tell there is a lot of emotion in this game."

Jack Whitver on the loyalties of Grinnell residents:

"In the past when I was in high school, there were a lot of Iowa fans around. You're starting to see more and more Iowa State fans, but it's probably a deal where they're going to root for us for a few years until I'm gone, but hopefully they'll remain Cyclone fans in the future."

Lane Danielsen on influence of Linder, Butler:

"The past couple years, Linder and Zach Butler have gotten up to talk. They speak with emotion and how much this game means to them. They talk about it all year. You want to go out and play for the team like that when guys get up there and show that much emotion about this game."

Seneca Wallace on how out-of-stater looks at game:

"Not growing up in Iowa and then coming here and playing in that game, I know what it means to a lot of players on this team. All of us have to get on this thing. It's a whole team thing and we're here to support everybody. We just go out there and play with each other."

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