Note: The following is an abridged transcript of a radio inteview Larry Eustachy conducted with CN's Steve Deace that aired on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines this week.
LE on the schedule during finals week:
Some of our coaches been on the road recruiting and watching film. We've got some guys who have not slept in 48 hours because of back to back to back finals. Unfortunately, we've got a tough game against Drake on Sunday, but they're in the same sitation so all things will be equal. Normaly we schedule the sisters of the poor during finals, but we've got Drake and UNI. I used to take the whole week off, but I stopped doing that after we lost one time to a team called Elizabeth City when I was at Idaho. We will probably have a few players who won't practice at all this week.
LE on facing Drake, the next opponent for the Cyclones:
Kurt Kanaskie has done a fantastic job of getting that program turned around. You know, I made a little off the cuff remark that the last place team in our league could win the Missouri Valley Conference, and I didn't mean that as a knock on UNI or Drake. It's more about the strength of our league. But they're probably using that as motivation. I have a lot of respect for Drake and their conference as someone who came from Idaho and Utah State.
LE on the emotion he showed in the Iowa win:
I understood the Boston College game and the first half against Iowa. Everyone talks about other depleted teams in this state, but we have nine guys and are going to redshirt Adam Schaper. To get a team to become very tough and tough-minded and make the right plays, particualary on the raod against your archrival, is a real compliment to those guys after just eight or nine weeks of practice. (My emotion) wasn't so much about beating Iowa as it was the struggles we've had on the road this past year. I coached at Mississippi State with the Ole Miss rivalry and grew up around the USC-UCLA rivalry, and you can throw Iowa-Iowa State in that category so I understand the tremendous pressure on players, coaches, and administrators to win. It's a big game and I have a lot of respect for Steve Alford. I've called him from time to time. I congratulated him on their win against Drake because that was phenomenal taking that young team in there and coming out with a win.
LE on Jackson Vroman's performance against Iowa:
Players don't really understand what they look like out on the court. We as coaches were sitting there very disappointed. I was just real direct with Jaclson in telling him how poorly he was playing, using different words, and he doesn't like that. I saw a different look in his eyes and he just stepped out of the huddle and said to heck with it.
LE on whether Chris Alexander will play against Drake:
It came out in the paper and unbeknownst to me there's a little criticism about a kid who can't go to class but all the sudden be eligible and the coach has the gall to play him right away. It was brought up to me that (football newcomers) played in the Eddie Robinson Classic in August before attending class, but this isn't the same scenario. This kid had gone to class and he was only behind in one class with a lot of time to catch up despite being in and out. He was doing adequate in school, to say the least. He's had some personal problems that have been well-documented and a brush with the law that we don't discount but he's paid the price for that. What are we supposed to do, Steve? Put his thumbs through a screw. The best thing for this guy is just to move ahead. Putting him in the Drake game would hurt our chances to win, in all honestly.
My gosh, he hasn't practiced at all, but I'm just trying to give the kid a little hope because he's coming off a fragile time in his life. I don't really want to hear about perception. It's reality, and I think you would agree it's about this kid and what is best for him. It's not about beating Drake. If everybody knew the whole story I think they'd feel sorry for him. You tell me, should we sit him the rest of the year? Luke Axtell did the same thing at Kansas and he started the first time he came back. If Roy Williams can do it, and he's the standard in this league, than we can do it.
I got a few calls yesterday asking how we could do this. Well, I just explained how we'll do it, we'll do it the way we want to do it, and we'll do what's best for the individual and the team. He needs to play and won't redshirt. He needs a carrot dangled out in front him to have some success.
LE on the status of Jerome Harper:
He's still a recruitable athlete but we anticipate him entering school. Time will tell, but that's really all I can say.
LE on why he likes this team:
We've kind of filtered this team out with the few guys who have left, and we've got a core of guys who like to come to practice and want to be coached. When it gets tough and they're fatigued and upset they're doing some running they bond together and don't bail on each other. Last year we struggled with that from time to time. These guys hold together when it gets tough as much as any team I've had. They're all fun guys to be around. Let's face it, I've coached guys I didn't enjoy being around and I'm sure they didn't enjoy me.