CSR talks with Wally Burnham

Cyclone Sports Report talks with Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham about his take on the Minnesota offense and how his defense has improved throughout the season.

Cyclone Sports Report: Do you prepare differently at all knowing that Minnesota has a month to prepare for your defense?

Coach Burnham: No, you just have to go back to work and break down the basic things that they are going to do. You need to find out their personality and of course you are going to anticipate a few new packages but regardless of the extra time there's nothing you can really do. The key is making sure my defense is prepared to do what we do best.

Cyclone Sports Report: What are a few things that you noticed right away from watching film on the Minnesota offense?

Coach Burnham: One thing I noticed right away is that they throw the ball better than they run it. THe stats prove it so we're going to have to be ready to stop it. Another thing about their offense is that they have a huge offensive line. It will be the biggest we have faced in any of our 13 games.

Cyclone Sports Report: What do you feel have been the biggest improvements in your defense throughout the season?

Coach Burnham: Well first of off they have responded to our coaching which is a huge factor. They have been getting better every week and I think it is amazing how far they have come. They are tackling a lot better, pursuing the ball a lot better, and we have kept most of the long balls thrown in front of us. The key is that they have played within themselves.

Cyclone Sports Report: Getting the other team to turn the ball over has been a huge factor with the Iowa State defense this season. Do you think it will be the biggest factor against Minnesota?

Coach Burnham: We set a goal of getting three turnovers each game and we feel that is a key for our team to win. We need to give the offense more opportunities and if we do we feel we will always have a chance in the fourth quarter. We really work on stripping the ball, tip balls, and the kids have just shown a great awareness of those things throughout the season.

Cyclone Sports Report: You have experienced coaching in many bowl games throughout your coaching career. How rewarding is to you to have helped put this program back in a bowl game after they went 2-10 last season?

Coach Burnham: When I sit back and think about how far this team has come it's just amazing. When Paul (Rhoads) told the kids in our first meeting that we were going to go to a bowl game and win it he really laid a foundation and certain expectations that the kids just chose to believe in and they have done a great job of getting us to this bowl game. When I look at our talent level and where they were last year at this time I would definitely say that this has been one of my most satisfying years. I'm just thankful to have been a part of it.

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