CSR Talks With Coach Chizik

With Iowa State's first game less than two weeks away, Cyclone Sports Report went one-on-one with Coach Gene Chizik.

Cyclone Sports Report: How much of a change was it for you going from defensive coordinator to head coach last year?

Gene Chizik: It's different because I had to get adjusted to all the peripheral issues. They are constant and don't many times have to do with football. So as a head coach you have your hands in a lot of things and yet you're still trying to be a football coach. That was an adjustment but a lot of those things have been addressed.

CSR: What was the thing that you wanted to improve most on going into this season from last year?

GC: I just felt we needed to be more consistent and more physical. The Colorado game was a perfect example in that we come out and get down 21-0 and then come back and win. This problem was really glaring to me.

CSR: What was the thing you were most proud of from your first season?

GC: That we kept fighting no matter what the circumstances were. With them having a new coach and us not starting off well it would have been easy for them to shut it down but they never did. We came back and got two quality Big 12 wins and kept fighting. I think that after the Texas game where we played so poorly we could have gone in two directions. The kids chose to keep fighting and it paid off.

CSR: How excited are you about the improvements being made to Jack Trice Stadium?

GC: It's great and it's all coming along in the right direction. Jamie (Pollard) has had a vision and it's all coming to fruition.

CSR: How important was it that Iowa State beat Iowa in your first season in Ames?

GC: It was big for a couple of reasons. One, it was my first victory here which was great. Second, anytime you win an in-state rivalry game it's really huge. The passion in this state for that game is incredible. It really means a lot to a lot of people. For me it was a new tradition that I really enjoyed.

CSR: How much of an adjustment was it coaching kids you hadn't recruited?

GC: That's my football team whether I recruited them or not so it wasn't very difficult. You coach your guys and there not anyone else's guys. I enjoyed the kids but I was disappointed that I couldn't give the seniors a better outcome.

CSR: Is there a strong chance that we will see two quarterbacks playing for Iowa State this season or would you prefer to have a set starter by the South Dakota State game?

GC: Right now we are in the evaluation process. I would definitely like for one of them to separate themselves but that hasn't happened. So I'm going to do what's best for the football team.

CSR: Is defensive tackle the most important key to the defense this year considering what the team lost at that position?

GC: Yeah, it's a blow to lose the type of players that we did. One was a great college football player and the other is playing in the NFL. You've just got to have depth at that position. The other guys are just trying to develop as players.

CSR: How big was it from a confidence stand point to win two out of your last three games going into the off-season?

GC: Anytime you win it's important because winning breeds confidence. Does that carry into this year? I don't know.

CSR: Many pre-season publications have picked Iowa State to finish last. Do you feel the players are looking to prove people wrong?

GC: No, because we don't even look at that stuff.

CSR: What is your thoughts on Cyclone fans heading into season two?

GC: They are the best in the country. There is absolutely no place in the country where you can be 1-8 and yet your stadium is packed like our fans did for us last year. That just doesn't happen anywhere else. They really stuck by us last year.

CSR: How many hours of sleep have you been getting a night during camp?

GC: Four or five at most.

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