Dan McCarney Teleconference Highlights

Iowa State coach Dan McCarney spoke with the conference media Monday morning via teleconference concerning the 19th-ranked Cyclones' preparation for #20 Nebraska. Here are some of the highlights.

Opening comments:

"We're very pleased with our victory over Troy State. They've got fine players and are well-coached. I thought it was a very solid win for our program. We jumped out to a 21-6 lead at halftime and came back with another 21-6 score in the second half. We beat what we thought was a very fine Troy State football team."

"I want to thank the Big 12 for honoring Todd Miller as the conference special teams player of the week. I think he's very deserving. He had five returns for 60 yards and had a 45-yard punt return for touchdown, which is his second one this year. I think we probably had our best special teams performance in the time that I've been here at Iowa State. It's got to be something that we build on, because it's going to be so important as we continue this Big 12 race."

"Nebraska is an outstanding football team and a number of starters return off of the team that played the national championship game last year. They've already had a 38-point win, 31-point win and 15-point win, but a tough loss to Penn State. They're still where they normally are—number one in rush offense and in the top 10 in the country. They're a very physical football team and well coached as they always are under Frank Solich."

"It has not really been a game in the time I've been here. It's embarrassing. We've got seven losses by approximately a 40-point average. We're hoping this year instead of the men and boys, which it's been the last seven years, that hopefully it will be the men and the men on Saturday."

on how team has turned it around to point of being favored over Huskers this year:

"It's just a combination of a lot of things. I don't know about favorite and all of those things. It's shocking to even hear that when we haven't even made a game of it with Nebraska since I've been here. But the program has improved. We've won 20 of our last 29 games and the program is on solid ground. There are hundreds and thousands of things that you have to do to get a program competitive again from where we started. We've got real good players and a good staff. Everybody believes in what we're doing and in the program. We've got a long ways to go and improvements to make. We have tried to make a lot of high demands on this team, high expectations and build it slowly and surely."

on where rush defense is after Saturday's game:

"We've got a long ways to go and are sure not where we need to be. Troy State is a fine football team and did a good job. But their offense doesn't present near the challenge that Nebraska does. They're a typical Nebraska offense, which means they have some of the best offensive linemen in college football. They will knock you silly coming off the football, have a power attack and real good athletes. They just keep coming at you. We have not even slowed them, much yet stopped them in the time that I've been here. It's going to be a much bigger challenge than what Troy State's offense gave us on Saturday."

Impressions of Nebraska quarterback Jammal Lord:

"He's such a great athlete. He's 220 pounds, is strong, physical and breaks tackles. He's averaging almost six yards per carry and has a strong arm. You're not a starting quarterback at Nebraska unless you're one of the better players in college football. That's the case again this year."

on impact a victory Saturday would have:

"It would be a huge victory for the program. It's something we haven't been able to do since we've been here. We haven't been able to beat Nebraska and haven't really been competitive with Nebraska since we've been here. That's been very disappointing and embarrassing. Everybody in the country knows about Nebraska football and some people know about Iowa State football. Anything we can do to continue to build on the success we have started to have in recent years and continue to bring some credibility and respect to the program is something we're always striving for."

"There are short-term benefits and long-term benefits. There's a team that played in the national championship game last year and are in the hunt for the national championship almost every year that Nebraska has played football. It's got to bring out the best in all of us. We're going to do all that we can to make this a real good football game."

on ISU getting down on itself if it falls behind early to a team that has blown it out in past:

"That's human nature. We sure don't want it to be that way. Obviously we've been there already this year. We were down by a bunch of points in Kansas City to Florida State and we came back and had a chance at the end to tie or win it in the last play of the game. We got down 24-7 two weeks ago at Iowa against a real fine football team. It looked like it was going to be real ugly and that we were knocked out. But there is a lot of character and courage on this team. Those kids fought back and we ended up winning that game."

"We've got to do all that we can to get off to a good start. We sure don't want to get in that situation against Nebraska, as a lot of teams do. But if we get there, at least we've been there and know how to fight, scratch, dig and claw to get back into a football game."

more comments on Nebraska:

"They're just outstanding again. I see a lot of the same guys that played for them last year and started. They've got a strong rotation going, which means they have good depth, just keep coming at you and play with relentless effort. The one game against Penn State has very little to do with my respect for their program, how they coach and their defense. There are a lot of guys on that defense I look at as some of the best in the Big 12 Conference. We're going to have our hands full trying to move the football on them."

"There isn't anything we can do about the past or what's happened so far this year. We're 4-1 and got a good solid start to the season. We just want to line up and play. We want our guys to play with confidence, toughness, courage and our style of football. Whatever happens at the end of the game is going to happen. You don't want to concede anything, give them anything or hand them anything. We want to make them earn everything. It's been really ugly when we've lined up and played so far, and we want to do everything we can to correct that."

on effect Jack Trice Stadium crowd could have:

"I'm hoping that we can get the best atmosphere we've ever had. We need that. If anybody comes to the stadium, of the 50,000 of them, nobody is sitting on their hands. We need everybody up, behind this program and behind this team, and see if we can put ourselves in the position to win this game."

on Big 12 special teams player of the week Todd Miller:

"We list him about 5-8 and 170, but I don't know if he's ever seen one of those. When I recruited him, I didn't know if he could play wide receiver at this level. I knew he could be a punt return guy. He's not in our two-deep as a wide receiver, but I wouldn't trade him as a punt return guy. Back there you'd better have a lot of courage with those people screaming down the field waiting to light you up. You'd also better have hand-eye coordination, ball skills, real good feet and hopefully some speed and quickness too. He does a fabulous job, is fearless and has a special knack for it."

AllCyclones Top Stories