Todd Blythe Q&A

Is this the week the best wide receiver in school history is finally unleashed? What's the mood of the team following an 0-2 start to begin the Gene Chizik era? Find out in this exclusive interview with this Cyclone record-breaker.

Q:  Todd, Coach said he saw improvement in the passing game from week one to week two.  Did you see the same thing?

Blythe:  Yeah, I think we saw improvement as wide receivers not just in catching the ball, but we focused a lot on run blocking last week in practice.  In watching the tape, I think that really showed up.  We were going out there and fighting.

Q:  Coach Chizik has been involved in countless rivalries.  What would you tell him about this one that makes it unique and special?

Blythe:  It's probably just as heated as anything he's been involved in.  This rivalry…it's so fun to be involved in.  I've been involved in four of these and I really want to go out with a win.

Q:  Any particular feeling going into the last one?

Blythe:  Just that as a senior, we want to leave this place with that trophy.  It would be a great feeling to run across the field and get that trophy from their side of the field and bring it back.

Q:  Last year, Brett was sacked an average of basically 3.2 times a game.  Talk about the offensive line play.  They seem to be providing him good protection.

Blythe:  Yeah, they're giving him good protection this year and Brett's doing a really good job this year of throwing the ball away and making people miss and buying extra time when he needs to.  People always want to lump sacks on just the offensive line, but it's really a team thing.  If a wide receiver is running around not getting open and they have to protect Brett for 5,6,7 seconds…no team will be able to do that for very long.  It also comes down to Brett getting the ball away and not holding onto it for too long.  I think the whole team has gotten better at us getting open and Brett making good decisions with the ball.

Q:  Why do you think you're not getting the ball more?

Blythe:  They're playing certain coverage the other night and we had other receivers step up.  I can't complain as long as other guys are making plays.  As long as we're moving the ball up and down the field, which we were, I can't say too much about it.

Q:  What percentage of teams throughout your career do that to you?  Does it happen more often than not.

Blythe:  Yeah, I think after my first year…my first year it seemed easy to go out there and see just one guy in front of you.  It's something you get used to and the other guys know that if a team tries a game plan for one person they're going to have a big day and they did.  Hopefully, teams will look at that and say they can't do that.

Q:  Jack Whitver at half time was explaining some of the things the defense was doing to you off the line.  Talk about some of the things that an experienced player would understand that would make it difficult to get you the ball.

Blythe:  Well, obviously Jack knows what he's talking about.  He's one of the smartest football players that I've ever been around and I learned a lot from him my redshirt year.  They did a really good job of trying to redirect me and get me off my landmark that I was supposed to be at.  When team's do that, it takes away the short stuff.

Q:  In two games there's only been one passing touchdown.  Is that a source of frustration for you guys?

Blythe:  I think just the lack of touchdowns right now is a frustration.  We've got to get more points on the board than 13 or 14 points.  That's not going to win games.  That's going to put our defense in a bad spot.  We have to put more points on the board.

Q:  Does Iowa plan on playing you straight up?

Blythe:  They play a lot of zone coverages.  A whole lot of man to man.  It's more of just their scheme.  They're really sound in what they do and they know what they're supposed to do.

Q:  They have more of a bend don't break philosophy.  What are the challenges when you get down there close to the end zone?

Blythe:  Try to break them.  Bending them is nice…getting down there and getting field goals, but we need to put 6 points on the board more than we have.

Q:  Their philosophy is more of a cover two.  Do they try to keep the safety with you more…

Blythe:  With a cover two, the corners are going to sit and try to funnel you into the safeties.  They do a really good job of getting their linebackers into the alley and making sure you can't catch stuff inside the corners.  They're really sound in what they do and their safeties are really well coached in getting over the top and not letting anybody deep on the sidelines.  They show good range back there and that's something we'll have to figure out.

Q:  When you were playing, did you notice on film that they were rolling you?

Blythe:  They switched it up.  They started off in one coverage last year and then switched to another coverage and another defense and it kind of confused us last year.  It kind of depends…we're going to go out there and see what they give us…a two look, a four look…we're going to look at whatever they give us and we have plays to go out and defeat that coverage.

Q:  What has allowed Marquis Hamilton to blossom?

Blythe:  I think he came in with a college ready body.  That helped that he didn't have to take the time to get into the weight room and just get big enough to play at this level.  He runs great routes and has great hands.  Like I said, he's a big body and he isn't afraid to go up the middle.  His first catch the other night was incredible.  He got drilled right when the ball got there and came down with it.  That was a big first down for us.

Q:  What is his up side…up curve?  Have you seen a receiver with this much up side?

Blythe:  I think he has a whole lot of upside.  Right now, he's pretty inexperienced and he's going out there making plays for us.  Like I said, he's a big guy and he's willing to go across the middle and make the tough play. 

Q:  Talk about the things that we saw this week in the passing game compared to last week. 

Blythe:  We didn't really change too much.  Like I said, Brett is an experienced quarterback and he knows not to lock on one guy and throw to one guy.  He's going to take what the defense gives him and the other night, RJ and Marquis were open a lot and they got a lot of balls thrown to them.  That's just kind of how our offense works.  It doesn't focus on one or two guys, it focuses on the whole team and whoever's open will get the ball.


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