Gene Chizik Q&A

Check out the text below of this week's Gene Chizik press conference in Ames.

Q: How does it feel to go against your old team?

Chizik: A lot of kids put it on the line for me when I was there for two years. Great kids. I think it'll be a strange day to a certain degree, but once it kicks off…it kicks off. You're in the football game. Those are the farthest things from my mind right now. I've got to get this football team back on track. That's what my job is. I think it'll become strange on game day, but I haven't given it much thought.

Q: Are we going to see any major changes this week since you didn't make any major progress last week with the players?

Chizik: There may be some changes, but I don't think there'll be anything drastic that people will be talking about for a long time.

Q: Do you still keep correspondence up with Coach Brown or any of those guys? Or did that stop when you came here?

Chizik: Absolutely. He's a great friend of mine. I mean, when you leave you don't break ties with great friends. He's a great mentor in my life. We'll talk after the game and every week after that. He helps me out a lot.

Q: When you think back on it, you've been at a lot of schools in your career. What is it that you most took from Texas that you'd like to apply here at Iowa State?

Chizik: I think Coach Brown was phenomenal about he treated people…how he treated players, his coaches. He was a family guy. I just…I learned those types of things for sure. He recruits well and obviously when you see his players, you'll see that. The way he handles his team…good times and bad. He's a great manager of people. That's why he's been so successful over the years. He's a great coach. He understands the x's and o's of the game on both sides of the ball. He has a great balance between letting his guys coach and seeing what they can do and…he's got great balance.

Q: What was the most disappointing part of the team's performance Saturday?

Chizik: You know, there wasn't one. There was a lot of disappointing moments on every phase of the game. I thought it was all around bad night.

Q: Going back to Coach Brown, does he get enough credit for being a great coach?

Chizik: I hope one day they're saying that about me if I'm winning ten a year for ten years. They can say whatever they want. I don't know about it. I only know if there's another guy that's won 10 games a year for the last I don't know how many years that's coaching right now, they're great coaches in my opinion. I'd take it tomorrow. I think he's a great coach. He's won a national championship and conference championship.

Q: How excited are you to get to see him again?

Chizik: I'd be more excited to see him if it were out for coffee. Coach Brown knows what he means to me, but it'll be a work day. I don't know…it'll be a very fleeting moment.

Q: They've lost four straight which for Texas is insane. Do you think they'll come in here chomping at the bit.

Chizik: Absolutely. They'll be really smart and ready to roll. Those players won't go into any game not ready to play. That won't happen. They'll look at our film from last week and think they can beat us by 100.

Q: How about coming home for the first time in three games?

Chizik: I think it'll be good. We haven't been here in a month. It'll be good to get back here at home and not have to travel, not that that should make a difference. It'll be nice to be around the fans that have been so supportive.

Q: Talk about what it's like to have a young man like Brandtner averaging over 40 yards a punt. Teams around the country wishing they could have someone like that with that consistency.

Chizik: I think the first thing you've got to look at is our punt team right now is…I think they've done a nice job. It's kind of a new age punt wrinkle. The coverage's been really good most of the time. But, we're covering the punt well. Mike is getting better as we go. We can do various things out of that…we faked one last week. What you find out with the punt team we have is that not a whole lot of people are trying to rush it. If they are, we've got ways to block it up. It becomes a weapon if you can average 40 yards and you can tackle it.

Q: After a week like this when you don't see any improvement, do you go back and do the same things you have been doing or do you try to change things up?

Chizik: The thing that you can't do…we've had some improvement in some areas and you can't go in there and scrap everything…we're not going to do that. But, we've got to get better at some of the things we do. There's a fine line between changing everything and panicing.

Q: What do you say to the fans that want you to bring in the younger players and sit the seniors?

Chizik: I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to what people say that we need to be doing. That's not how we operate. We're going to do what we think will give us the best chance to win. It all comes down to winning and we're going to do what we think will give us the best chance to win. That's what everything will be based on. I'm not aware of what everyone's saying, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter anyway.

Q: What makes Oklahoma and Texas the standard in the Big 12?

Chizik: They've got great players and coaches. That probably sums it up.

Q: Can you bring those players here?

Chizik: You've got to have a vision. A lot of players look for a lot of things. We've got to be really smart at who we recruit. We can't go in and battle them head up right now.

Q: Coach, the Iowa v. Penn State game, there was a point when Penn State's up 20-0, they throw an interception and Iowa marches down the field 86 yards. It was a classic example of how a turnover can affect a team's psycie. Talk about why, even though it was a completely different unit, talk about why turnovers, why big plays not only affect the unit that gave them up, but the whole team.

Chizik: I don't why it's that way, I just know it is. It's momentum swing. It's…I mean turnovers are devastating for a team especially if you keep creating them and they keep saying…here we go again. We had another turnover Saturday night that gave them seven points and our defense didn't have a chance to get on the field and defend it. It's obvious why it's a momentum changer. No matter where you have them, it hurts. But, I think it's what you see it is…a momentum changer. It can tear you up as a football team. It'll tear you up on defense and offerense. It hurts. I think it's basically a momentum swing.

Q: James Smith…what are your thoughts on his overall contribution?

Chizik: I'm really proud of him. I think he's come along as a football palyer. He's a very selfless player. It's never about him. He's grown every week and helped the team in mnay ways.

Q: How tough is Bret from what's you seen?

Chizik: He's a battler. To start 43 games in college, that speaks for itself. He's got a lot to him.

Q: What has to happen in order for you to beat Texas?

Chizik: We can't turn the football over. We're going to have to be able to stop the big play opportunites. We've got to be sound defensively. Offense, we can't turn it over and we'll have to be able to run it and protect the quarterback. Same stuff every week that makes you win or lose.

Q: What are you seeing as far as your running game?

Chizik: Right now, him and Jason both can carry the ball for us. Whoever gets in a groove. Obviously, JJ fumbled another one which I'm not happy about at all. We're not running the ball very good right now at all.


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