Q: Coach, have you had a chance to look at the film from that last field goal attempt and determine whether it was blocked or not or what happened on that play?
Chizik: It looked like it was tipped and that it wasn't very good protection. That's a point in the game where your best is needed and we obviously didn't deliver.
Q: What do you do mentally in terms of getting them on track?
Chizik: (Tape cuts in and out)
Q: You guys feel like you took a step back this weekend after the win against Iowa?
Chizik: I think in some ways we did. I think in some areas we didn't. I think in some areas we got better. Week 4 we got down to the red zone and couldn't score a touchdown. There were a lot of things that were good. We're pointing those out to our team, but we're also pointing out the reasons we lost. We'll keep doing that every week and we'll see what happens.
Q: During the spring training, the coaches talked about taking this in four game blocks. After the first four games, as a head coach what are the lessons that you've learned? One of the things, it seems, that there's no way to prepare a head coach emotionally for things like being in the red zone and having an interception or watching a team melt down like they did Saturday. What are the lessons the coaches have learned? What are the things that you all need to do to get over the hump and stop the mistakes?
Chizik: I think the first four games for us were getting used to the things that we were doing on offense and defense. Getting used to how we were going to call plays on both sides of the ball. On Saturday, there was a new situation that popped up and that was on special teams. Typically in the past we've been good on all our special teams. Our punt team has been solid. Our kick off returns have been good. Then, we had, as you said, a meltdown with that last field goal. You put your finger in one hole in the dam and then you have to put your finger in another one. The first four games…what have I learned? We can be a good football team and we will be a good football team when we put it all together in every phase. You can see there's good things in every phase, but you can also see that there's a lot of work to do in all three phases as well. As I've said before, our margin for error is very slim. It just is. When we have error, on offense, defense or special teams, it can cause us to lose games and that's what happened on Saturday night.
Q: I know you mentioned that they were playing not to lose the game. How do you change that attitude where you haven't been in an attitude where you've had to…how do you teach them….
Chizik: We talk to them all the time about not looking at the scoreboard and just keep playing at the same tempo. Continuing trying to have every play get better and produce. Again, we just got to keep pressing those issues. Again, I look at that kickoff coverage and we're down there and we're coming down and have guys in position. We look…not as physical as we'd like. They weren't….they were in the right positions, we've just got to make those plays. When we show that to our team on Sunday, everyone sees it. We have to keep pounding that in until it gets better.
Q: Talk about how you keep your team from looking ahead to what could be a daunting five game stretch or being discouraged.
Chizik: Our guys right now…I don't think being discouraged is really…you move on when you win and you move on when you lose. I don't think discouraging is the word…disappointing, yes. There are things that are disappointing that we have to get better at. We don't look down the road 2 or 3 weeks. We focus on one game at a time. We'll continue to try to grow.
Q: Was this loss tougher to swallow than the first two because it was so close?
Chizik: No, they're all hard to swallow.
Chizik: They're offense is clicking right now. They've played some good teams. Sam Keller is on fire. He's already thrown for 1200 yards. He's averaging over 300 yards per game. Their offense as a whole is averaging over 500 a game. That offense is clicking and he's doing a great job managing the team. Defensively too, they're aggressive and hard nosed. They've got a great team all the way around.
Q: Talk about…one thing that got lost a little bit on Saturday was how Brett got them down the field and if you followed his whole career, what is it about Brett that he has a knack with time running out to get them down the field and managing the game in the last 2 minutes?
Chizik: I was really proud of Brett overall Saturday. He was 24 for 33. For all intent and purposes, he did exactly the way we wanted to. The one interception was on protection. I think that's a good point. At the end of the game we were in a position to win the game and we started with Brett having to drive them down the field and get us to that point, which he did. I don't know what he's done in the past with that, but he got us into position on Saturday. I think Brett's feeling more comfortable.
Q: How much of that is his demeanor?
Chizik: I think it's not so much the quiet demeanor, but the non-panic issue. When they scored to go ahead, I look at him and said let's go. We had a chance to run it. He managed it just the way they work in practice.
Q: You talk about how important the running game is. Are you happy with it? I know a coach is never satisfied, but you had Bass and a couple 100 yard + games, Robinson showed some things.
Chizik: I'm not happy with the fact that I don't think right now we'll get a lot of yards after contact. Meaning I don't think we're making guys miss a lot, I don't think we're running over guys. I think that we're getting our five yards a carry and then there's the guy in the hole over there and we can't get beyond that. I told them that yesterday. I don't care if you rush for 140 yards or 199 yards or whatnot, we're not getting enough yards after contact. We call them Cyclone yards and we have to have more of them. Am I happy with the running game? I'm happy we're able to run the ball some and move it down the field, but I'm not happy with us getting the extra yardage that we're not getting.
Q: How do you fix that?
Chizik: Gotta get guys in there that can do that. I brought it to their attention yesterday. I didn't want them to feel good that they rushed for 100+ yards or any of that the way we should've and could've rushed for more.
Q: Is that a matter of switching the guys up this year or getting new guys in there…?
Chizik: I just want to find a guy that can do it on the field now. I'm not worried about next year. I'm worried about the guys that we have right now understanding that their role is you get in the open field in one on one…at some point, you'll get in a one on one and you have to be better than their guy.
Q: What are you guys going to do this weekend to stress the special team issues? Are you going to make any changes?
Chizik: We're really going to look at personnel and see where we're running. It gets a little bit hairy…you want as good of guys on those teams that you can, but there's a fine line where your defensive guys might be playing 70 or 80 plays a game and then they're on special team. A lot of those teams are comprised of guys that make great effort and are tough guys that love the game and that's what they do…that's their role. We also have to get our best players in there. I think we've got a good mixture of that. Again, we're going to go back and reevaluate some personnel this week. The bottom line is we can't lose another game and the special teams know that. We're going to be paying a lot of attention to that this week.
Q: (couldn't hear)
Chizik: They're all demoralizing. It's disappointing to lose any game, but like I said the same thing was said before the Iowa game. We move on and work to the next week. I don't worry about the team being demoralized. These guys are great guys that play hard.
Q: A couple things, the call to go for it…talk about how that gives the offense confidence when the coach makes a statement that they can make that play and also two, have the final red shirt decisions been made and who are some of the players that we thought we would've seen this season that are on that red shirt list.
Chizik: The fourth down decisions that I've made in the last two games to go for it were because I really think our offense can do it. I think that we've been pretty good on those. If I make the call on fourth down to go for it, it's because I really think our offense can do it. If you watch them on the field, they want to go for it. That's been good. The red-shirts that are playing right now…we have Phillip Bates and Cameron Bell are playing.
Q: I mean who are the guys that you are redshirting?
Chizik: Everyone but those two.
Q: When you first got hired, it seemed that Phillip was the first (couldn't hear the rest of the question)
Chizik: I think it was big. There's so many great players that come out of that area. We really think Phillip is going to be special and I think that was a tremendous gift for us that he stayed with us and his dad played in Nebraska. Tremendous for our program that we were able to take a good player out of that area.
Q: How do you get a kid to leave home and come to a school?
Chizik: Just beg him…get on your knees and beg him. No, you just convince him that it's the right place to be. Everyone has different opinions on why they come to a place and there are things that are more important to some guys than others. I don't know why Phillip came, but I'm glad he did.
Q: You recruited Wallace from Auburn and then got him away from Nebraska this year. What do you think his presence in the next game will mean not only for Iowa State, but for Nebraska that was counting on having him on the field this year?
Chizik: We're going to try to work Wallace more and more as the games go on. We started him Saturday. He caught a touchdown pass, but he also had two drops during the game that we were very disappointed in. When a guy comes in and is new and gets his first opportunity to start and play a lot, you'd hope that if a ball hits you in the hands you would catch it if you're a college wide receiver. Which he's not the only one that dropped them Saturday. We expect Wallace as the weeks go on to get more comfortable with the offense which he is and continue to grow as a player for us.
Q: How challenging is it to balance preparing a football team week to week and recruiting? How much time do you spend recruiting?
Chizik: We spend a lot of time recruiting…that's going to be our lifeline here. We've got to continue recruiting five days a week during the season. We're doing recruiting every night. We're either watching film or writing letters or calling people. A lot of guys come to our first few games. That's the most important thing we got going right now in terms of the future right now. It's hard to balance that, but you have to do it. We love the program and love doing that, but during the season it does get hectic.
Q: Do you ever feel like you wish you could look at a little more tape of the team instead of players?
Chizik: No. We're going to do that. That's why there's long hours. If we have to stay up until midnight, one o'clock, that's what we're going to do. We take our stuff home and watch film all night. You've got to get your job done.
Q: Do you get a lot of highlight reels of kids emailed over from coaches asking you to take a look at their kids through new media or technology?
Chizik: Yes, there's all sorts of media outlets out there for us to get knowledge and film on different guys. There's recruiting services out there. Between all of that, you always get knowledge.
Q: When you look at what Ball State did last week going into Lincoln and almost getting that win, does that provide hope for this week?
Chizik: To me, that's college football. That's every Saturday. You can go down the list every which way. That particular game…it's just another college football game. I'm not sure if Ball State's great or not great.
Q: Your thoughts on your first road game?
Chizik: A road game to me is neither here nor there in terms of we've still got to play between the white lines. I don't think it has anything to do with whether we traveled or not. It's not very significant to me. The game's played just like it is every other week. I don't think the fact that we played at Toledo had anything to do with it. I think it was all us.
Q: I know you aren't happy with your own turnovers, but you haven't created any. Is that disappointing?
Chizik: The first game we had three and then we didn't have any. I think four in four games is below average. Again, we've got to try to get the ball back to our offense.