Coach McFarland Talks Iowa State Offense

Iowa State's offensive coordinator talks with Cyclone Sports Report about a variety of issues on offense.

Cyclone Sports Report: Why do you think the offense struggled so much in the first half at UNLV?

Robert McFarland: To say that we struggled is almost putting it kindly. That was really one of the worst offensive performances that we have had. We were unable to covert on anything that we tried. We just couldn't get any first downs and we couldn't run, pass, or throw. It was like a comedy of nerves out there in the first half. I'd like to give UNLV all the credit and of course you have to give them some credit but a lot of it was on us.

CSR: The running game has been struggling recently. Are you more disappointed in your running backs or your offensive line?

RM: Well it always starts up front. I certainly wouldn't put all the blame on them but it certainly is a concern. They just have to do a better job and it's really something you can't hide. It's definitely something that we are addressing leading up to the Kansas game. None of this is to say that we don't believe in our offensive line. They are young and we believe they have a lot of promise and a really good future. Right now they are just going through growing pains and need to be more consistent.

CSR: Do you feel lack of experience on the road was a big factor the past two weeks?

RM: You can't hide the fact that we are young and I think we have struggled playing on the road. I think we just have to mature and I also think that the quality of opponents has also had something to do with it the past two weeks.

CSR: What impressed you most from what you saw of Austen Arnaud during the UNLV game?

RM: I would say how he ran the football instead of forcing the ball in there at times. He showed good ball security when he chose to run the ball. He also hit some of our check downs instead of forcing it. I was really pleased with his composure. To go 98 yards with almost no time was really impressive. They didn't panic which is good because we work hard on it. I was very pleased to see him lead those scoring drives.People forget that he has only started four college football games. He's still very young and really has a bright future.

CSR: Are we going to start seeing the offense use the pass to set up the run?

RM: I feel like we are throwing it well but there are still too many drops and overthrows. Austen's completing 65% of his passes right now which is very impressive. So at times I do think we can build the run game off of our pass game.

CSR: Is there a chance that J.J. Bass could be starting at running back against Kansas?

RM: We won't make any decisions yet but he did really give us a spark against UNLV. He did get some blocking but some of those runs he really made people miss. That sparked the run game in a big way. Right now it's a total competition at running back.

CSR: Was there any discussion of going for two after the late touchdown to tie the game against UNLV?

RM: Oh yeah. Right when we got down there we had a dead ball and coach (Chizik) was talking with us. He decided then to kick it if we scored. He felt that with us scoring in four out of our last five drives of the second half that we had the momentum going our way. We had just gone 98 yards and he didn't want the game to just hinge on one play. Also, our defense had really come on in the second half and had only limited UNLV to one touchdown. He thought the odds were in our favor.

CSR: How can this week off be a good thing for the Iowa State offense?

RM: I think it's real good for the players and the coaches. We as coaches have gone back and evaluated every snap through the first four games. We look at the pass protection and every run play. Then we start the process of breaking down ourselves. The players then see themselves on tape and hopefully it will help them make improvements.

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