Gene Chizik Q&A

In case you missed the audio posted earlier this week following Saturday's scrimmage, check out this transcript.

Q:        What got you to go outside, you've got the indoor . . . why outside today?

GC:     We just really love the cold weather. Love it.

Q:        Yeah? You and all that Texas staff?

GC:     Absolutely. Love it; we all love it . . . No, you know, we just think it's important to go in the stadium, get a feel for the wind, you know, just have a little bit different environment. And I want them to understand that when we go in there to practice, that's a special place. So, it's a game-like situation, and it should be different. But we touch a lot of different situations; again, with the wind blowing and swirling in there, I thought it was good. I thought we needed to be able to punt against it, punt with it, throw against it, do all the things that are going to be realistic in a game situation, so that's why we went out.

Q:        Is this the first time outside in the stadium?

GC:     No, it's our second.

Q:        Second day, so you went the last two practices? How many snaps today?

GC:     We went about 90, went about 90 snaps.

Q:        Any shockers working with the first team; any surprises, guys who have moved up there?

GC:     No, I think that we're still in the process of finding the right guys, to be honest with you. There's a lot of battles going on. You know, it's a heavyweight fight out there; the defense wins some, the offense wins some, and it just kind of goes back and forth. So we've got to get better at a lot of different places, but again I think we're making strides, and it's really good because this spring it's been, again, one day the offense really shows up and the defense has problems, and the next day the defense shows up and the offense is having problems. So they're just slugging it out, back and forth, and we're competing every day and that's the most important thing.

Q:        Did you lay out some specific goals you wanted to accomplish today?

GC:     Well, when we go into these type situations, we're always trying to work and understand how to manage the game, and, you know, it's okay to have to punt, let's just not turn the ball over. What is it like when we have a sudden change and have to put our backs against the wall at the 13 going in? What's it like right now when you have a sudden change and the ball's on the 2 coming out? You know, just situations that you have to touch on that you'll realistically face during the year that we have to hit, so we touched them all today.

Q:        Okay, I had to ask you about that.  A couple questions about after spring ball. What will the off-season look like and how much contact is the coaching staff allowed to have with the players between the end of spring ball and the beginning of fall camp?

GC:     Very little. Very little, the NCAA really restricts us on what we can do with them, so that's why we are, you know, we're saturating them this spring with as much meeting time as the NCAA will allow, and as much practice time as allowed. Because between now and August, in between there's very little contact that we can do.

Q:        Do you like that rule, or is that something, being a first-year coach would you rather they gave . . . I think basketball gets two hours a week? I mean, at least the basketball coaches can kind of contact throughout the season. Do you wish for that?

GC:     Obviously we'd take all the time we could get; we would certainly use it, but to a certain degree the players need a break. What happens is, if you're continually being able to do that, then the players don't ever get a break, so obviously we would like more, but we're going to do exactly what the NCAA allows us to do.

Q:        So what will happen? Do you give them a workout regimen, are there specific assignments that each player has?

GC:     Yeah, absolutely. They'll know what's required of them; we'll walk them through what our expectations are, and when they come back and report, we expect them to be right where we want them to be. That's both physically, mentally, and everything. So there'll be film available for them to watch on their own, which they need to do, and the expectation for them will be they've got to be self-motivated to go do it themselves.    

Q:        What percentage of the line, especially the defensive line, do you think will need to be assembled when they get guys together, when the JuCos and the incoming guys arrive in August and you can start working? What percentage are you looking at . . . I know you're putting a two-deep now that people are going to have to . . . but in the back of your mind are you almost sitting there going, "We've got three D-linemen coming in or four D-linemen coming in . . ."?

GC:     You know, I mean, we know we have  . . . there are some other guys coming in that we hope can play, but right now we have what we have, and we're getting those guys ready to play, and we're not assuming any of them can come in and help. We're hoping they can, and it will be an added addition if they can, and we recruited them because we thought they could. But we're not going to assume they can; we're getting ready the ones that are eligible and the ones that are here. We're going to get those guys ready to play.

Q:        Coach, any position switches this spring?

GC:     Um . . . not really. There's so much learning going on right now that it would have been hard to move a guy from one position to another. So for the most part, everybody's the same.

Q:        In terms of positions, are there any positions where there are guys clearly developing . . . two-deeps are clearly developing, or is it still just as wide-open as the first day of practice?

GC:     Uh . . . I think it's still wide-open. I don't think anybody's closed . . . or opened a gap between the first groups and the second groups yet, and we're playing some of the second group with the first group, and vice-versa, so we're mixing them in there and you know, again, I just don't think there's that many gaps in there, where somebody's definitely proved to be head and shoulders above another guy.

Q:        Coach Sherrill was up here last week. Take me through, what's your relationship with him? Kind of career paths crossing, or what's . . .?

GC:     You know, Coach Sherrill I just have gotten to know over the past few years, you know, being at Texas because that's a Big 12 show, so he goes and watches and evaluates and has a keen eye for things; so he came in, spoke at our clinic and then watched practice, and we talked about practice in-depth afterwards and just kind of shared some ideas.

Q:        His career, obviously early in his career he was here, as an assistant. Did he share insight about the Iowa State job?

GC:     He did, he did. He was here four or five years as an assistant and just, you know, we talked a little bit about that and recruiting and what they did back then and how it's changed, if it has, and things of that nature, so we just volleyed some ideas back and forth.

Q:        Coach, how much of the offense and defense has been installed to this point?

GC:     It's probably been about 80% on both sides; we've probably got 75 or 80% -- it's about three-quarters in, and that's about right on time, since we have a week left.

Q:        What do you want to see accomplished during this final week of spring practice?

GC:     Well, I'd like to see the things that we've put in right now run more smooth. It needs to be more second nature now, going into the last week. You know, after this week it will have been a month, so I'd just like to see the things that we've done, the things that we've installed, the things that we've talked about, we just need to started running them more second nature, and not think so much.

Q:        Is everybody staying healthy?

GC:     Yeah, we're in good shape.

Q:        Now, Coach, in the past the spring game was broadcast. Will it be this year, or have you made a decision on the format of the game yet?

GC:     Well . . . this is going to be a spring practice for us, I mean, that's what this is. It's not going to be all the bells and whistles; we have to gain this as another practice day. And so, with the broadcast and things of that nature, we haven't talked in depth, which we'll do early next week, but from our perspective, it's a chance for us to gain another practice, so that's how we're approaching it.

Q:        Last couple of questions, Coach. Where has the most progress been made this spring and then also, what do you think of the Bergstrom and the other facilities here at Iowa State?

GC:     I think the progress made this spring has been back-and-forth. You know, one day it seems like one group has made a lot of progress; the next day it seems like the next one has. I'd like to see some more consistency everywhere, because, like I said, it jumps back and forth. Part A of that question. B . . . I think the Bergstrom is a phenomenal facility. That saved us this spring because there's been a lot of cold days out there, and it just gives us an opportunity to go out and practice as a whole football team, and so that's great. Obviously there's a lot of things going on here facility-wise that have really become an upgrade, including our academic facilities and the things that Jamie's allowing us to do around here in the football facility, there's a lot of great upgrades going on so we're going to take advantage of that.

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