Mike Pelton Q&A

This is the text of a recent audio interview we conducted.

Q:  Let's start off with the defensive line play in Thursday's game.  Assess it…both good and bad…and the ugliness that Coach Chizik talked about.


Pelton:  Everybody's very disappointed in how they played, but you always have to find the silver lining in the cloud.  I think the kids played hard and tried to do the things that we asked them to do.  It was very unfortunate that some things happened the second half that we couldn't adjust to some of the things that were going.  Everything that you go through there's a learning process.  I told the guys, we're going to be a lot better this Saturday.  Everybody knows the mistakes they made.  Everyone knows what they need to work on.  I'm excited for them.  They're a great group of kids and they responded right away.  They were disappointed, but they know we have to come back and do it again.  I enjoy working with these guys.  I told them the other day that it's a great group to work with.  I appreciate what they are trying to do and let's just continue to try to turn this thing around.


Q:  One of the things you said at Media Day is that you were trying to find someone to emerge as a vocal leader for the squad and a visible leader on the field?


Pelton:  Bryce Braaksma and Kurtis Taylor…those guys are trying to assert themselves as leaders, but everyone's just learning.  Those guys have never had to be in a position where they had to lead.  There's always been someone here that's been there.  Each one is a learning process.  When you're learning and you're not at 100%, it's hard to step up.  Once they understand what we demand and what we're asking them to do, I'm sure they'll step forward and showing their play.


Q:  Rashawn late in the game had a big sack.  In the past, in the fourth quarter, the defensive line seemed to struggle and almost disappear.  Is that due to the conditioning?  Is it due to heart?  Talk about that play.


Pelton:  Rashawn made a good read on that guy…they slid the line and the backs stepped up.  That's something that we work another way, but he took it on instinct and took the guy.  That guy was so close to fumbling that ball it was unbelievable.  Rashawn made a great play and that's what I expect out of him.  He's on the side and doing things that will make you say Wow.  It was a great play for him…great instincts.  Sometimes you can't coach everything.  They just have to go out on the field.  It was a little bit of that and the techniques we use.  He's a great kid.  He tries to do everything you ask him to do and it was great to see something good happen to him.


Q:  You got a pretty accurate passer coming in with UNI.  How much of a focus is being put into the running game that they have?

Pelton:  They want to run the ball now.  Don't get it confused…they're a good running team now and the run sets up the pass cause they do a lot of play action off of it.  He's a very capable quarterback in doing both.  They want to run the football and use him, but we have to focus on what we have to get done.  It's not so much about Northern Iowa as it is about Iowa State.  We have to make sure we correct the things that we have to get done.  All of that other stuff will take care of itself.  We have to make sure that we're prepared and getting things ready and getting things fixed that will help us win and play well Saturday.


Q:  What types of things do you think you have to get fixed up before Saturday?


Pelton:  It's not big things that cause you to lose games.  It's the little things like steps, hands, aligning right, knowing the call, getting lined up.  It's not like we're talking about blocking, running and tackling.  It's the little things.  Making sure you're where you're supposed to be.  It's the little things in football that so big in a game that's close.  If it's a blowout, it doesn't show up as much, but if it's close you start thinking about everything.  You can't second-guess your scheme, but you have to hone in on all those little things that cost you games.  That's what we're focusing on.  We're even focusing on getting aligned before a play…making sure we're able to get dispersed if someone's trying to quick call it. 


Q:  We heard from Coach Bolt that Lyle and Weir are coming along.  Talk about these two JUCO transfers and how they're fitting in.


Pelton:  Chris did some good things for us.  He had some good pass rushes.  You're going to see those guys show up more and more as they learn.  We've been two weeks of camp…those guys are working on week number six of learning our scheme.  They're still learning and they're improving every day.  I'm excited for those two kids.  They're great kids.  They try to do everything you ask them to do.  Probably at more and more of these games you'll see them show up.  They're starting to see what we demand and what we want.    

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