Time to Look Ahead

Iowa State coach Dan McCarney spoke with the conference media Monday morning via teleconference two days after his Cyclones concluded the regular season with a 37-20 loss at home to Connecticut. Mac's squad, 7-6 overall, concluded conference play at 4-4. ISU now waits for a bowl berth from one of several potential destinations. Here are some of the highlights of McCarney's teleconference.

On putting regular season behind and looking ahead to postseason:

"We're just glad that we're in the mix and we'll prepare for a bowl game. The last two games, we won one and just about beat Alabama in the other one. We like our plan, preparation and will stay pretty close to that this year."

"It's a real good time to just coach fundamental football. It won't be spring football. We're not starting from scratch and have been going since late July. But it will be good to get back and play real good fundamental football and clean up on the things that have been a problem. We've had a few too many turnovers in the last part of this season after being outstanding the first two and half months of the season. It's just good fundamental things that we need to work on and then look forward to zeroing in on our opponent when we find out who it will be."

On final evaluation of team's performance against UConn:

"Connecticut deserved to win the game. I said that post-game and say it now after watching the tapes all day yesterday. They out-played us in the second half and deserved to win that game. That's what I thought. From an emotional and physical standpoint, it looked like our tank was running low. It was a great time for a break for these young guys and they need it right now. I'm going to try and get my coaches out of here for a couple days later this week, because it's been a long season and yet a very rewarding one for us."

On second thoughts now after scheduling Florida State to kick off season:

"We thought it was a great opportunity and it was. We took Florida State to the last play of the game and there were some pluses and minuses that come out of the game. We knew then that we had the chance to be a pretty solid football team if we could play the Seminoles like that in a game."

"Our freshmen reported at the end of July and we're just a week or two short of an NFL season. Fortunately we didn't have a lot of major injuries. We've had a lot of kids that have missed practices during the week and were still able to play on Saturday. But it can take its toll I think."

"Nobody put my arm behind my back and made me do it. I worked with Bruce Van De Velde, my athletic director on it. We were aware of it and it was the most daunting schedule I've ever seen, coached in or been a part of. We had good teams here in Ames, but then you go to Iowa, travel to Kansas City to play Florida State and then these other Big 12 teams on the road." "It's been tough, but we're not waiting for sympathy cards and crying about it. We're proud that we are going to another bowl game and looking forward to hopefully going on the road somewhere in the country and winning that last game of the year."

On different reasons for team wearing down towards end:

"I don't know that the length of it was as much a factor as the quality of teams that we played. This is the toughest schedule we've ever played at this University with all of those games away. In some of those games we played real good football in losing, like against Florida State, Texas and Colorado. Kansas State and Oklahoma just blew us out, but in those other games we played real good football. It's hard each time to come back, play a lot of good snaps and be on top of your game after being defeated on the road by great teams."

"You want to be and want to believe in your program, your staff and yourself as a head coach, but I think through a season like that it did take its toll. This is a great time for a break for my players. Hopefully we'll come back with some new energy and enthusiasm and our bodies rested by the time we start practice again."

On what's next for team once it returns from eight-day rest:

"We're going to do weights and running as soon as they get back. Matt McGettigan will run that for us while we're out on the road recruiting in homes and schools around the country. Then we'll get back that weekend and get started with our practices. This will be a good long break. They're going to have eight days away from football, the staff and school."

"But we come back and have a good plan in place already. We've got three or four tentative practice plans, depending on when we would depart and where we might go. It may be another week or two before we find out where we're going. The good thing is the entire athletic department and football program now has some experience going to bowl games here at Iowa State and we have some things to draw on from the past."

On what makes bowl workouts so beneficial:

"We'll have some good physical practices. The great thing is once we get through with the opponent's preparation, we'll take at least a half hour every day and call them developmental practice. Those are for all of the players that aren't going to play in the games, like redshirts, freshmen, walk-ons or new players. One of the great advantages that we have in going to postseason play three years in a row is continuing to develop those young kids and get another spring practice in December to develop your program and players."

"We really look forward to it. It's a great time to be recruiting and coaching at the same time. It gives you a clear advantage in recruiting anytime you're going through bowl preparation."

on Hayden Fry possibly returning to coach Baylor:

"He's got a full tank, I promise you. His tank runs full all of the time. I haven't talked to Coach Fry since that story broke, but we do stay in touch frequently. What a fabulous guy he's been. I know he takes great pride in all of us that coached with him and for him. He developed us and gave us our opportunity. I would love to see him get back into it if that's what he wants to do. It'd be fantastic to get him in this league."

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