Football Quotebook: Nebraska

Dan McCarney's general comments:

"We've digested the Troy State game and put it behind us. I'm proud of the effort and it was a real good win for us. It's important that we keep improving. I think we've done that each week of the season. It's nice to be involved in a game that more than just the Iowa State and Nebraska fans are watching. This is the kind of game we've worked to put our program in a position for a long time."

"We're very healthy going into the game. Brian Ollie will still be out for a while yet (with a broken thumb). Everything that came out of the Troy State game was very minor. It's just maintenance with our kids now, as far as any minor problems they have. Everybody should be ready to go and healthy."

"The special teams captain will be JaMaine Billups. He's been outstanding for us all year in special teams. He blocked a punt the other day and had a couple real key blocks on some punt returns, especially the long one that Todd Miller had. He had a tackle inside the 20-yard line on the kickoff team. He's really been a positive guy for us on special teams."

"I've got nine players from the state of Nebraska, including three starters. Those guys are especially excited about this game. I think the team has got a great look to them and are very focused with Nebraska. They know we've got a tremendous challenge ahead for us this Saturday."

"Nebraska is a tremendous football team. A lot of that gets lost in the shuffle of one score that got out of hand for them out at Penn State. When you break it down and watch every play and game like we have, there are still 12 senior starters on that team that played in the national championship game and won 11 games last year. There are still 12 starters that started in that national championship game, and many good players. They play a lot of players, have good depth and their numbers are phenomenal. We're not one bit mislead, we know this is going to be an outstanding Nebraska team that comes in here very hungry to play us."

"We're going to do all that we can to try and make it a very competitive game and put ourselves in the position to win the game. It's going to be hard to do. We like the opportunity to get a chance to play at home again. We're off to a good start in our three wins at home and know this will be the best that's come into Jack Trice Stadium this season so far."

on team's mentality playing a Nebraska in past:

"There were some games they knew and we knew that we had no chance. No matter what I told my kids, there was just such a physical mismatch talent-wise, ability, strength and physicalness, especially in our early years. We didn't do anything to change their opinion of us last year when we went over there and played that real poor first half. I think it was 41-0 at half."

"They just have slobber-knocked us. That's what they've done. When you get into games and get mauled at the line of scrimmage, it's hard to win football games no matter what kind of playmakers you have at wide receiver, running back quarterback or defensive back. That's the thing that stands out most in my mind—they have completely whipped us up front on both sides of the ball."

on 2000 game against Nebraska in Ames:

"Two years ago it's a one-point game at half and one-point game with 11 minutes to go. That's the closest of a physical matchup. But then we turn it over, they knock it in and all of a sudden it's a 21- or 22-point game. Physically that's the only time we've had a decent chance to match up with them."

on whether or not ISU can match up better this season:

"I hope that we have. We'll find out on Saturday. I still see the same physical guys. They're very impressive when you watch them on tape and they keep coming after you. They're going to come in here with a real passion to play this game, to beat us and get back on track."

on positives of all the attention this game is drawing:

"Anytime we can continue to have success and win games, it helps. Nebraska is an unbelievable household game, with 40 winning seasons and 40 bowl games. How many teams in the country can talk about something like that? It's amazing what they've accomplished. Anytime you get a chance to put yourselves in the position to win a game against somebody like that, it opens a lot of eyes. You've got two ranked teams for the first time in a long time."

"All of a sudden, Sports Illustrated, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune are coming in. I talked to Kirk Herbstreit this morning. GameDay has been in talking to Seneca. It can either be a distraction or you can look at it as, ‘Why does it always have to be Austin, Tallahassee, Ann Arbor, Columbus or Lincoln?' Why can't it be Ames? Why can't some people come in here because something positive is happening in this program? It's not a bit of a distraction. I'm not going to let it be for this team."

on Cyclones' emotional, mental drain after past blowouts:

"When you watch teams on tape and take over a winless program, we had a number of guys that just physically couldn't match up with them. You go into a locker room after a game in which you give up 70-some points, I don't know if there has ever been anything more embarrassing for me. Kids played as hard as they could and gave you all they had, coaches coached, prepped, worked and motivated. Then you get completely blown out and humiliated. It's no fun. Frankly, that's all we've known with the Iowa State-Nebraska matchups since we've been here."

"It's up to us to do something about it. Why would anybody in Nebraska respect us? We haven't earned it. I haven't earned and neither have the players or coaches. That's one of the many things we've got to try and do this week."

on what fast start could mean:

"We have to (get off to a good start). It has had to do a little bit with the competition. Those are two outstanding teams, Florida State and Iowa. We've got to do all that we can to avoid that. If it does happen this week, we may not ever have a chance to come back on them."

"At least if it does, we've been there and everybody on this football team knows we have a lot of character, there is courage and we can fight back. But let's do all that we can to avoid that. Let's not put ourselves in that position. We're not coaching that way and don't want it to happen. But if it does happen, we've been there and will fight with everything we have to come back and win the game."

on Wallace's performance last season in Lincoln:

"I looked at him like I do most kids in the locker room before we go out, but I didn't sense that at all. I was surprised. But he's not alone. That happens to a lot of guys over there, especially the first time you go to Lincoln as a starting quarterback or starter. Thank God he's got the stuff inside that he does and he came back and really did some good things in that second half. I know he has learned from that and will hopefully get off to a better start this year. We all need to."

thoughts on being favored over and ranked higher than Nebraska:

"I don't even pay attention to it. I really don't. It's anybody's game. All I know is it's just been a mauling and mismatch. I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, but we're just trying to make this a good matchup, good game, four-quarter game, a 15-rounder where we're still standing in the end."

on status of Luke Vander Sanden:

"We're going to try to work him in there as soon as we can when we feel like he's ready. We'll evaluate him in practice the next three nights and see if he's ready to start. But there's no question that our two best guards are Bobby Montgomery and Luke Vander Sanden. But Luke only played 26 snaps the other night. If we put him on the field and be a starter, we need to make sure that he can be starter and not show up for three series and then have to sit him because he's not in game condition."

on defensive lineman Nick Leaders getting his first start Saturday:

"He's been on the field as much or more than any of those guys. He and Tebrink split the nose guard position and then we go Tebrink at three-technique, Jordan as a five and Leaders. He's really been a starter, it's no big deal to me or him. He hasn't gotten shook or upset or too excited about anything except going out and playing. He's had as many or more snaps than Tebrink has."

on where Leaders is compared to past freshmen defensive linemen he's coached:

"He's way ahead of most any freshmen I've ever been around, with his maturity, heart and competitiveness as a freshman. The maturity thing is amazing for a guy that age. It's just unbelievable. He doesn't seem like a freshman or act like one. We don't treat him like a freshman. He doesn't walk around here like some guy that's just been in the program for a few weeks. He carries himself as a grown man and starter."

"We saw it in summer camp here two years ago. We thought it was a good year in Iowa that year. He came in the camp before his junior year and there were guys counting in the line making sure they didn't have to go against him again. I saw it. He has great hands, plays with great physicalness with those hands and is explosive. I didn't see one guy beat him in the camp. I knew then that he had a chance to help us as a freshman."

on importance of being stout in the trenches:

"There is no way that we can go into this game and stop them. It's not going to happen. Penn State didn't stop them either, but they slowed them down, made some real big plays and got some turnovers. You don't have to think real hard and long about what they're going to try and do—maul us at the line of scrimmage, dominate the line of scrimmage and keep the ball away from Seneca. We've heard from many sources that they don't feel like we're very physical in the front seven and haven't been very good against the run. I don't think there's any question that we've played some snaps where I'd agree with that. We've got to be a heck of a lot better against the run than we have so far this season."

on need to be more efficient gaining yards on the ground:

"We have averaged 76 yards a game rushing the past two games. That's not what we've built this program on. We've challenged everybody on that offense. Here we are going to face a fantastic, physical defense that can play rush defense year in and year out with anyone in the country. We can't do it 76 yards a game rushing the football and have got to do a better job."

on specific things ISU needs to improve:

"The most important thing is that we're proud of what we've built and who we are so far this season. Everybody in this room knows that we've got all kinds of room to improve. It's not like we've got to invent something. You see the mistakes on tape. We should have had a minimum of four turnovers in that game the other day and probably five. We came out of it with zero. You can't do that in the Big 12 and expect to win. That's just for starters. Our red-zone defense has been poor at best. We've got a lot of room to improve. There are all kinds of things."

"It's not a negative atmosphere. We're proud of what we're doing and to be 4-1 and in the top 20, but you're only as good as your most recent game that you play. As fast as we got into it, we'll probably drop out of it if we don't win on Saturday."

on Nebraska quarterback Jammal Lord:

"He is really an outstanding athlete. He is 220 pounds and looks all of that. He's an excellent runner and very hard to tackle. There is no question that he's got a gun throwing the football. I'm sure they're working for him to be a little more efficient and accurate on some throws, but he's got a lot of ability and can run that thing. He's a tremendous player."

on preparation for quarterback like Lord:

"Waye Terry, one of the quarterback that's running our scout team right now, is built very much like Lord and has a lot of those abilities and skills. We're getting the best look that we've had since I've been here from a scout team trying to simulate the Nebraska offense."

on ISU's run of defeats to ranked teams:

"I don't lay awake at night and just think that my job will be complete here when we finally beat a team that's ranked. I'm just trying to get better every day like I have since I got here. I keep trying to make sure that this program continues the tradition of stopping negative streaks and starting new, positive ones. Let's keep moving up."

"(Beating a ranked team) is something that we want to do and would love to do, but regardless of what happens this Saturday we're still going to have a lot of opportunities this season. I don't want the kids to feel like our season is shot if we can't beat Nebraska. But it would put us in the position to go some places that we have never been by winning that game and be a part of some history and hopefully some memories in this program that people will want to relive in the future."

on importance of solid linebacking play:

"Your linebackers have to play their tails off. There isn't anybody on that defense that won't be in trouble if they're not physical, fast, don't swarm or play with great fundamentals and are not a great tackler. When you play this kind of offense, your linebackers had better be lighting it up and making a lot of plays. They'd better be involved in a lot of tackles, because of what they're doing and the schemes."

Brandon Brown on defending the Huskers:

"Nebraska has a complicated offense. It's something we've got to work on in practice and get reps at, then I think we'll be OK. We've got to know our assignments and make sure we do the right thing. Everyone has to be accountable for where they need to be and when they need to be there."

Jack Whitver on how team's approach to Nebraska has changed:

"Maybe in the past before I got here, that was the mindset when we just didn't have anywhere near the talent that Nebraska has. Since I've been here playing, we go in thinking that we can play with them every year. A couple of years ago it was a close game, but last year just got away from us. It was ridiculous. We just hope that we can come out, play good and put on a good show."

Joe Woodley on not being scared of their upcoming opponent:

"Sometimes things just don't go your way right out of the chute and start to snowball. That seems like what's happened the past few times we've played them. I don't think we're really intimidated by them or anything. They put their shoes on just like we do. We're really looking forward to playing them this week. It's going to be a big game."

Seneca Wallace on being interviewed for ESPN GameDay:

"I thought it was neat. It was one of those experiences that you never know if it will happen again. I just had fun with it and it was good that my parents could be here too. We walked around for the interview and they asked me some questions. They sat around in my house and talked to my parents yesterday."

Bob Montgomery on time ISU is catching Huskers:

"It probably is a bad time to play them, but it's also a good time to play them because if we do play well against them it will show that we got their best and they weren't lulled to sleep. I know that's what we'll get, too, their best."

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