Gene Chizik Presser Transcript

Following Tuesday's practice session, Iowa State's head coach addressed questions from the media on the progress the 2007 Cyclones are making this presesason.

Q:  How much are they reacting now versus thinking?  At the snap of the ball, how much are they reacting…?


Chizik:  It's getting much better.  There's still some thought process going on.  You've got to remember that there's a lot of guys out there…a lot that didn't even have the chance to go through spring practice.  They're swimming a little bit, as you'd expect.  But, there's a much different speed element on the field now in terms of reacting than there was 5-6 days ago.  But, that's what spring practice if for.  As time goes on, you hope that it continues to get faster.  If you play the game fast, that's when you know you're reacting and not thinking.


Q:  Is Rashawn Parker still excelling in the defensive end spot?  What makes him successful?  He's not exactly the size you'd want for that position, but everyone you talk to says there's lots of potential.


Chizik:  Rashawn is the type of guy that has great heart.  Rashawn is a guy that has a knack for playing that position.  His challenge as the year goes on, at 5'11" and 250 pounds to hold up during the year.  But, when it comes to mentally approaching the game…when it comes to being mentally and physically tough, he's got all that.  I think that, at his size, that's what he's got to compete.


Q:  Is there a drawback? 


Chizik:  I think that what normally comes with a shorter defensive end is a shorter arm span and things of that nature.  Out there you're playing on 6'7" 330 pound tackles every week.  So, if I have a wingspan of "x" amount of inches and yours is 5-6" longer than mine, I've got problems because defensive line is played with the hands.  It's hard for me to get my hands where they need to be, so it's not about the height…it's about the short arms and short levers you have to have to play with your hands at the position.  He does great at it.  Again, he's got a knack for it.


Q:  The emphasis today was on running the football.  Is that accurate?  Was that by design going in?


Chizik:  Well, I think Coach McFarland today wanted to find out which running backs we could get into a groove.  What we tried to do was put the running backs in there instead of shuffling them in and out…we left them in there to see if they could get into a groove.  That's what running backs have to do.  Obviously, we wanted to go in there and run the football…first and foremost.  That's how Coach McFarland wanted to run the scrimmage and then we wanted to make sure that we could get running backs into a groove to figure out who's our best one.  There's great competition going at that position now.


Q:  How close do your coordinators call to a real game and how much is scripted ahead of time?


Chizik:  None of it's scripted ahead of time.  These were pretty much game situations from the beginning to the end.  There's no script…no any of that.  It really gave us a good evaluation of the things that we're not very good at right now.  So, it gets everybody in rhythm of who's on the field, who's upstairs…  We try to make it as close to that game time situation as we could.


Q:  Are you a coach that will script or would you rather not do that?


Chizik:  Coach McFarland will probably script the first 10-15 plays, but that's his show.  We're going to do what he feels comfortable doing.  He does a great job calling games and he's got experience at it.  Whatever he feels comfortable with is what we'll do.  Scripting plays is good.  A lot of times you don't stick to the script.  It depends on the situation anyway.  That will be his call.


Q:  About 20 feet from here on national signing day, you mentioned that Cameron was someone that you'd give a shot at running back, but if that didn't work you'd move him to the defensive side.  How he's looking at running back and is moving him still an option or is running back his future here?


Chizik:  We have really been pleased with Cameron.  His head is spinning a little right now.  There's a lot of things involved in running back when you start talking about protections and a lot of different things.  We haven't moved anyone yet, but Cameron's got a good shot.  He ran the ball well at times today.  He's a big back.  We haven't made any decisions with him right now, but he's done well so far for a freshman. 


Q:  You said that you wanted at least 8 defensive lineman.  How close are you getting to having that kind of depth?  Now that they've had a chance to work some with the defense, how are Lyle, Tate, and Weir fitting into the defensive line?


Chizik:  They're coming along slowly, to be honest with you.  It's a whole different world and level for them right now.  But, we knew the progression was going to be slow.  Day by day, they're trying to get better at certain things.  I think that's happening.  Are they ready to play right now?  No.  But, we're looking at if they can play game 3, game 4, game 5.  They may be ready to play game 1.  We'll wait and see and try to keep those guys on track and on a progression.


Q:  You also brought three JUCOs in this spring: Blaze, Alvarez, and Dedrick…how are they looking with the offense line?


Chizik:  They're doing a nice job.  All those guys are all competing.  I think what we thought they would bring to the table is where they're at right now.  So, we're pleased with that.


Q:  Wallace said that you recruited him when you were at Auburn and then you went to Texas and he went to JUCO…and then got recruited by Nebraska.  Since the first time you saw him as a prep athlete to what you're seeing now, talk about what he looks like now and what he means to this team.


Chizik:  He looks skinny.  Really skinny.  He's coming along in the offense.  There's a lot to learn.  He's a fast kid.  He's trying hard.  Again, it will be a process with him…slowly learning the offense.  We're pleased with where he's at right now knowing that he's got leaps and bounds he's got to do before he can get on the field and help us.  But, he's definitely working in that direction.


Q:  Anybody missing any practice time?  Everything going smoothly?


Chizik:  Everything's going great.


Q:  You had mentioned that at times we might see two quarterbacks on the field.  Is that still something you're still looking at or do you think you'll end up going with just one quarterback. 


Chizik:  We're going to wait and play that by ear.  Austen and Bret are doing a great job.  Bates is a young guy that's trying to fit in somewhere right now.  We've got two guys that can play the position and we'll just wait the next two weeks and see how they develop.

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