Football Quotebook: Colorado

At Tuesday's weekly football press conference in Ames, Coach Dan McCarney and his Iowa State Cyclones were eager to get preparations underway for their final Big 12 game this Saturday at Colorado. The Cyclones will face a Buffalo squad with a possible 2,000-yard rusher in Chris Brown.

Dan McCarney's opening comments:

"We're anxious to put Saturday behind us and already have as a staff and team. I thought we had real good beneficial meetings yesterday wrapping up Kansas State and making sure that doesn't happen again. I like the way the kids responded. I think all of us are sick to our stomachs about it. We've got a lot of pride in this program that we've built over time. Pride takes a hit in a game that you play that poorly. But there's no doubt we've got that game behind us."

"Some players will miss today's practice. Obviously we got some guys nicked in Saturday's game. I think all of them will be ready for Saturday. It looks real good right now, but there are no guarantees. That's a real positive when you start getting this late in the season."

"Special teams captain will be Harold Clewis, who has done a real good job for us all season as a backup cornerback and special teams guy."

"We're hoping to channel the frustration of Saturday's game, turn it into a positive and finish as strong as we can. There are only eight teams in the history of Iowa State that have won eight games or more in a season. Only a couple have won nine and there's never been a team that won 10."

"We're still playing for lots of things this time of the year, in addition to those other things, so we still have the chance to be a part of history. There are still only three teams in our conference going into the third Saturday of November that have more wins than Iowa State does. We're proud of the season, but not proud of last Saturday, and are going to do all we can to finish this thing up right."

"Colorado is the defending Big 12 Champs and are playing for the Big 12 North title in their place Saturday night. A lot of seniors are playing their last game. They have played great football for most of the season and it's going to be a real hard chore. It's our last Big 12 game of the year and we've got seven senior starters that will be playing their last game in the Big 12 Conference. I know those kids want to finish up playing real good and have a great finish to our Big 12 season."

"(Chris) Brown has had an unbelievable year with over 1,600 yards rushing. (Bobby) Purify is an outstanding back. They have a tremendous football team overall. It's going to be a very tough challenge for us."

"For whatever reason, most every year that I've been here we've played Colorado real well. It's hard to put your finger on it sometimes and explain it or understand. I'm glad it has been that way and hopefully it will be that way again Saturday night. We're not taking anything for granted, because they're an outstanding football team. But even in our worst of seasons and worst of years, we've played Colorado pretty darn good."

On schedule away from Jack Trice Stadium:

"It's a haywire computer for Iowa State this year. The darn thing wasn't working. It's been a long year. The toughest part of it is this road schedule that we've been on, especially right now. We're in the top 10 in the country and go eight weeks of being rated, then you go on this ludicrous road schedule in the last few weeks of the season. I don't think anybody is going to have that much success. I don't care who it is and what program or what team."

"Go to the places we have and look at who we've played. Florida State was number three at the time. Iowa was unranked at the time but is (number five) in the country now. Oklahoma was number two. Texas was number seven and is four now. Kansas State's 11th in the country and Colorado is 17th. Those are our trips away from Ames this season."

"It's not so much to me the number of games, it's just these road games that really can take a toll on you. I don't have any problem with playing 13 games, but the road schedule has been really hard on everyone. It's been hard, but I still sense great spirit about this team. We know we're still playing for great rewards here in November and are still on a number of bowl lists."

On how kids are dealing with so many tough road games:

"The kids have handled it well, as far as everything I'm hearing from an academic standpoint. We check classes, follow up and follow through. We've had great academic success here. That's one of the first concerns when you have a long season like this. Are they getting worn out? Are they not being able to concentrate? Are they getting ready for tests and having enough time?"

"You can add all of that up and make excuses for failure, but I'm not going to do that. It's really been hard. There are a few schedules around the country I would have liked to have had in November. We could have finished a little stronger. But the great thing is we still have two more Saturdays here and are going to do all that we can to finish up with nine regular season wins."

On outlook coming off of 58-7 loss at K-State:

"I don't see anybody looking at their watch and counting days to get this thing over with. We're anxious to get back on the field, practice, get back on the game field and play. We've got two real big games out there for Iowa State. We want to finish this thing up and feel good about this season."

On how season has turned since team attained number nine ranking:

"We didn't sit around and laugh about it or celebrate it. We were proud that we had made that kind of progress. But we knew that this road schedule after that was just going to be unbelievable. I don't know that any team in America could go through that and still have a chance to stay in the top 10 playing those teams on the road that we have."

"We went eight weeks in the top 25 and would like to work our way back in there. I hope we can. But the bottom line is with where we started, how far we've come and the challenges that have been out there throughout this season, I still remain very proud of this football team over the long haul."

On schedule for Colorado game week preparation:

"We haven't lengthened any practices. If anything we've cut back a little bit. There are only so many snaps you're your body can only take so many collisions and hits in a game and season. These kids have taken a lot of them."

"We've had some weeks where we only went one day in pads during the week. That's something I've got to do as a head coach. I've got to have a good feel for that and then make those decisions. You play like we did on Saturday and then want to come out three days in pads and have marathon practices. But I'm just not going to do that. As upset, frustrated and disappointing as it was, I'm just not going to do that to our team."

On Colorado's offense:

"There is no question that they have great ball security, a physical rushing attack and a lot of play-action passes. They don't spread you out. He did the same thing at Northwestern. You don't just have to have a great 255-pound fullback and a back behind him to have the old days. You can still have a good rush attack with one back back there, which they do."

"He's got a formula that works. Everywhere he's been, he's won. If you can go in there and win a Big 12 Championship at Northwestern, you can win one anywhere. Then he stepped into a program that has magnificent history, great winning and National Championships."

"They're just extremely physical. Brown keeps coming at you, wears you out and makes a lot of guys miss. He's passed out a lot of stingers in the Big 12, where guys come off the field, their arm looks limp, they don't feel very good and lose some feeling. He is just so physical running the football. We hope our kids aren't afraid to come up and tackle him, because we're going to have to be very physical."

On ISU's defense facing Colorado as opposed to K-State:

"I hope it's a better matchup and we play it better. If we had four Jordan Carstens up front playing defense, then you feel better against those big powerful rush attacks. We don't. Tyson Smith is an undersized rush guy. Beau Coleman is under-sized. Nick Leaders is a true freshman. Tim TeBrink has made a lot of improvement, but is still only a 270-pounder."

"That's what you worry about, because they come at you with that big powerful offensive line, a big tight end and physical fullback. We've got to continue developing and recruiting that area of our defense here."

On playing for postseason position:

"I've got a pretty resilient team and staff. We aren't trying to just survive, keep our heads above water and finish with three or four wins. We're playing for which bowl game. We're going to one of them. Which one, how big, how far, how hot? One of the goals I set was to go somewhere hot in December and Boise, Idaho, sure as heck isn't going to be hot in December. We're going to try and go somewhere a little warmer than that if we can."

On Buffalo quarterback Robert Hodge's as starter:

"It's very similar to a year ago when the starter went down and the senior stepped in last year. Hodge had one or two games that he didn't play well in, but he's stepped in and did a real good job. Here they are in the top 20 and are playing for the Big 12 North title. You sure don't do that without a real efficient, effective, winning quarterback. It looks like that offense really believes in him and trusts him."

"He's athletic and can run with the ball. He'll pull it in on scrambles and they run him some. They run a little bit of option. He's just a good all-around athlete that's efficient. That's what you want. He's got a good supporting cast with the best running back in college football, a big and strong offensive line, big tight ends and fullback and good receivers. He's doing a nice job of running that offense."

On fan's reaction to Wildcat defeat:

"I have no idea who's falling off and who's still with us. I've been in it for 27 years of Division I football. I know week to week, they're going to jump on the bandwagon and drop off. All I care about is this team right now. I could care less whether we lost a few hundred fans, a few hundred more jumped on or if we beat Colorado and some more jump on the bandwagon. I could care less about that. I just want us to go play good football and hopefully our fans will continue to follow us."

On Tony Yelk's situation after losing starting punter's job last week:

"It's just a consistency thing. It's a day-to-day thing whether he or Blankenship is the punter. Troy did a good job the other day jumping in and you saw the potential of his leg. He kicked a 51-yarder and 49-yarder. He's a good punter. We have two Division I punters, but just need more consistency there. Blank dropped the last snap and ended up getting the punt blocked. Everything was great and he dropped the snap."

On wide receiver Lane Danielsen:

"He's had a fabulous season. I don't care about statistics and all that stuff, to me he's an All-Big 12 performer this year. He's had an outstanding year and does it every week. In all the wins we've had, the setbacks we've had and the real tough losses we've had, he plays great every week. He was our MVP this week. We didn't have any on defense and Lane was our's on offense. He's just an outstanding player and is tough, physical, run great routes and has outstanding hands. He believes he can make a play every time the ball's in his hands."

Jordan Carstens on playing for something with two games left:

"If were sitting in a position where we only had a couple of wins, we probably wouldn't be getting as much effort out of the guys. But I think there's still something we're playing for. We're trying to get a higher bowl game. So there is some incentive for the guys to come out and work hard."

Brandon Brown on facing Brown:

"It's just another running back. He's a great back that's kind of like Greg Jones from Florida State. He's pretty big and runs hard."

Kyle Knock on team's mood this week:

"Yesterday was a pretty somber day around here. Right now our main focus is to win. Coach McCarney said we're not getting on the plane without a win. Losing is not an option this week. Right now we've got to look forward to the next game."

"A lot of guys have to look themselves in the mirror, me included, and ask what we want to make out of these last two regular season games. Do we have a legacy or do we want to pack things up and go home? Right now, I feel that everyone on this team wants to kick it into gear the next two weeks and leave a legacy on this season."

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