Iowa State Prepares For K-State, Elliott

Iowa State coach Dan McCarney spoke with the conference media Monday morning via teleconference two days after his Cyclones ended a two-game losing skid by outscoring Missouri 42-35 at Jack Trice Stadium. Mac's squad now faces perennial Big 12 North power Kansas State. Here are some of the highlights of McCarney's teleconference.

Opening comments:

"Thanks to the Big 12 Conference for honoring Seneca Wallace. He had a fantastic day for us against a very fine Missouri football team and we're proud of that."

"It was an excellent victory for us and was hard-fought just like we knew it would be. It was a tremendous effort by both football teams. Missouri is much improved over a year ago and we had great respect coming into the game and still do coming out of it. We're bowl eligible for the third year in a row and the first time in school history and are proud of that."

"We have this unbelievable challenge this week going down to Kansas State ranked number 12 in America. They're a fantastic football team and no question are one of America's best. When you're outscoring people about 45-11 through your first nine games, enough said about how dominant they can be. It's a major challenge, but we're proud to have the opportunity to go play in this game."

On status of JaMaine Billups, who missed much of the second half Saturday:

"He's fine and will practice today. He's ready to go. It's not unlike most kids that are playing on Saturdays right now. They're all sore. This is the longest season in the history of Iowa State, but he'll be ready to go. Hopefully everybody will be ready to play on Saturday."

On Seneca Wallace's recovery from last week's sickness:

"He didn't miss one thing. It's at that time of the year and we were without the indoor facility practicing outdoors in some bad weather. It felt more like December rather than late October. But he got through all of it and is ready to go."

On Kansas State defensive coordinator and former assistant Bobby Elliott:

"He's just a fantastic inspiration to anyone that's ever been around him. We were college roommates and I've known him forever. I always admired and respected him. He just belongs in college football and has such a great impact on young people's lives. All of us hope that we can do that in this profession in college football."

"There isn't anybody but Bobby Elliott that really knows what he had to go through to get back on the sidelines coaching again. I have a pretty good idea, but no one walks in his shoes. He's an amazing man, great person and great leader of young people. It's no surprise that he has major success anywhere he goes. I know those defensive players at Kansas State love playing for him."

On disadvantages of facing former ISU coach:

"There's a little bit of concern. We went through that earlier this year. Nick Quartaro was my wide receivers coach and went down to Kansas as the offensive coordinator. There's always a little bit of that, but frankly I think it's overrated. They've got a lot of real good players on their football team as they always do and a great football team and system. We're going to really have to be at our best, whether Bobby was here on the staff before or not."

Comparison/contrast of this season's Kansas State defense:

"I think there are a few things that are a bit different, but a defensive tradition has been built under Bill Snyder, regardless of who the coordinators were. Bobby Stoops, Mike Stoops, Brent Venables—it goes right on through all these years. Phil Bennett did such a great job and now they've got Bobby Elliott. They're relentless, tenacious and play with great effort all the time. They come to play in a bad mood every Saturday, defensively. They don't like giving up first downs, much less points. They play outstanding defense every year."

On what entered into his mind when bringing Elliott to Ames:

"I knew his abilities and knew that he wanted to get back. Bobby would be successful in whatever direction he went, but I knew as a friend that he wanted to get back into coaching. Being an administrator might be something down the road, but he wanted to get out and be a coach. It was a real easy decision for me to offer him the job. I couldn't wait to get him here to Iowa State, because I knew what he would mean to me and this program."

On Baylor's firing of Kevin Steele and how expectations differ at various schools:

"It's extremely tough, no doubt about it. First of all I really feel bad for Kevin, because he's first class in everything that he does. He carries himself with a lot of class. I just hate to see it at any institution. Here in the Big 12 we all know him and have great respect for Kevin."

"Every school is different and there are some things that are similar and some that are very different, with the tradition, resources, facilities, fan base and commitment. There can be a different level of tradition and resources. It is very tough. This conference is the premier football conference in America and it does make your job tougher. It was a tough job at Iowa State when it was the Big Eight and now seven years in the Big 12. You take the four teams that we did from the Southwest Conference and blend with the Big Eight, that's why it makes the job even tougher."

On recent lack of success against Wildcats:

"Number one they put an outstanding team on the field with tremendous talent. They have great team speed, are physical, well coached and play with a passion. They've got a great system and believe in what Bill does. There is so much continuity in that program and so much tradition. They play with such confidence all the time."

"Other than the one game here where we had a big halftime lead and they came back to win by a touchdown, a lot of the games have been ugly. It's very similar to the Iowa State-Nebraska series since I've been here. It's not going to get any easier this year, because they're a tremendous football team again."


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