Coach Herman: It's a fairly long process because when we first found out about the bowl game most of the position coaches are on the road recruiting. I just started getting bug-eyed watching Minnesota video and would say that I have watched every snap that their defense has played this year. I look at formation cut-ups, down and distance cut-ups, and field cut-ups. Then we break down about five games throughout the season. The first thing I then need to do is figure out what the defensive personality is of the Minnesota defense. Not specifically the nuts and bolts but just what type of defense will we be facing. Then the full-time assistants and I go through it all and starting putting things in place. The key is that we're going to do what we do best and what our kids already understand.
Cyclone Sports Report: What jumps out at you about the Minnesota defense?
Coach Herman: There isn't anything that jumps off the video because they don't have a Ndamukong Suh or any one specific player that you have to completely game plan around. I think Minnesota would be the first to tell you that but what their defense does do is play really good team defense. They rally to the ball and stop the run well. I've also noticed that they know their assignment and are not often out of place.
Cyclone Sports Report: You already have experience coaching in bowl games. Is there any advice that you have given to your quarterback Austen Arnaud?
Coach Herman: The first thing I told him is to settle down because his worst game this year was the Iowa game and he was so cranked up and energized by the gravity of the game that he went out did things that he usually doesn't do. So I've just been telling him to keep an even keel and to relax. He has done an unbelievable job over the last month of improving as a quarterback. You may not believe me but his footwork has improved more in the last two weeks than the eleven months before when we started with him. I don't know if the light just went on but he has really done an excellent job of getting the ball out on time.
Cyclone Sports Report: How much does the extra time leading up to the game allow for you to put in a few new wrinkles on the offensive side?
Coach Herman: We will do a few new things but with so much time in between before the game you can really get tempted to do a bunch of new stuff. But as I learned at Rice you have to remind yourself that doing a bunch of new things is not who we are and most of the time it wouldn't work well anyways because they are not used to doing it. It can really get crazy at this stage of offensive development because some coaches will introduce a bunch of new formations but all we're focusing on is getting better. Fundamentally we are getting better and we've made sure to introduce all the key aspects of Minnesota's defense. Our guys know their favorite blitzes and now it's just a matter of are we going to handle what they do.
Cyclone Sports Report: Many people did not expect to see Iowa State heading to a bowl game this soon into Coach Rhoad's tenure at Iowa State. How exciting is it for you to be one of the coaches leading this team to a bowl game after the Cyclones won only two games just one year ago?
Coach Herman: It's really a testament to Coach Rhoads and the players. He called us into a meeting with the players when he first took over and he told us that are main goal this first year was to go to a bowl game and to win it. He set that goal early and then laid out the formation. He told the players that it's a realistic goal and said here's how we are going to do it. The kids believed in it and bought into it from day one.