McCarney on Oklahoma

Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney talks about Saturday's matchup.

Below are excerpts from Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney's weekly press conference Monday in Ames, Iowa.

On the matchup against Oklahoma

McCarney: It's another great matchup against another nationally-ranked team. Oklahoma is a excellent football team. They're record of 3-2 is not indicative of the kind of the kind of team that they have. They've lost to two great football teams in Texas and Oregon, and they're really, really an excellent team.

Adrian Peterson — I don't know that I've coached against one better. We've seen some pretty good one's through the years, but he is an amazing football player. No one plays harder. I don't know that any running back around has more talent than he has. He is really a sensational football player.

So a great challenge is ahead going down to Norman this week. For the most part, we're pretty healthy coming out of last Saturday's game and we're looking forward to a great matchup this week.

On where Peterson ranks among the great running backs he's seen

McCarney: In the 24 years in the Big 10 and now 12 in the Big 8/Big12, there's lots of them. That's a great question. We had one right here at Iowa State in Troy Davis for two years in a row.

But I don't know that I've seen a back that plays harder play in and play out. He's a big back, a physical back, a fast back. Gosh almighty does he play hard all the time. And that's when they're blowing somebody out or they're behind, as they were last week or in tight games, he's really, really a sensational player.

It's one speed with Adrian Peterson. It's full-speed, it's fast, it's physical speed all the time. That's what I see, and we were here late last night (Sunday) getting our first look at him.

On Adrian Peterson's incredible balance

McCarney: Obviously he's coached well in a great system down there. He has tremendous speed, athleticsim, balance, physicalness. He just goes hard all the time. It's just relentless the way he plays.

It must real exciting in that offense to block for a guy like that that plays that hard and is so physical and so hard-nosed behind you all the team. He is really a truly great football player.

On what are the keys to victory against Oklahoma

McCarney: Well, we've got to be better in turnover ratio. Obviously that's always so, so important.

Paul Thompson's completing 61 percent and we were kinda hoping it was going to be the Adrian Peterson show and not much of the Paul Thompson show, but it's a big Paul Thompson show when you turn on the tape. He made some great throws against a really outstanding Texas defense Saturday too. Really some great throws.

So they're not one-dimensional. They do have tall, athletic receivers as we do and a lot of speed on their football team. But they've done a great job. Kevin Wilson, Bobby Stoops and all those guys have done a great job in tough circumstances when you lose your quarterback as they did — to bring Paul back over and bring him into the quarterback position, and they don't seem to be missing a beat right now.

They're really a quality offense.

On if they'll stack the box to try and stop Peterson

McCarney: Yeah, you can't sit in just a base defense because they've got big, strong, athletic, fast offensive linemen up front and he's just a great player.

I'm sure they always feel like if they can get Adrian Peterson one-on-one with one of your defenders they're going to win that one a majority of your time. We've got to keep them guessing as far as what they're doing, but you can't sit in there in your base defense and not try to outnumber them some too.

On the Oklahoma game being a chance to turn around their season

McCarney: Sure it does. We're 0-2 in the conference and playing another nationally-ranked team in a place Iowa State hasn't had that much success in. But I'm not going into this game any different than I do the other ones.

We're going to do everything we can as a coaching staff with our players and our leaders and our starters to have great faith in one another and great confidence, and give our kids an outstanding opportunity to win this game and see if we're good enough.

I'm really excited we don't have to wait around until 7 o'clock at night to play a game finally, too.

On Oklahoma's defense

McCarney: Oklahoma football is synonymous with Bobby Stoops and synonymous with great defense. They've been doing that for a lot of years down there, especially since Bobby Stoops has gotten down there. They're tremendous defensively.

We know firsthand how good and how talented Texas is and was playing them as we did a few weeks ago, and Oklahoma's defense at times really, really did some great things against their offense. They're very talented and a typical Oklahoma defense.

The speed is the first thing that you really notice when you watch them play.

On what kind of player was Bob Stoops when he coached him at Iowa and did he think he would become the coach he is today

McCarney: He has great success as a coach because he was a coach on the field when he played.

There was not probably a slower defensive back in the Big 10, but there was not a tougher defensive back. And that was after he had knee construction and wasn't supposed to play. But there was not a tougher defensive back. You can ask a lot of receivers in the Big 10 Conference.

He loved the game, he had great passion, he had great heart, unbelievable toughness. I think our wide receivers and running backs used to get a little nervous in practice going against Bobby Stoops and Mike Stoops, because they knew they might get their world rocked as they came up and hit you.

They were two of the most physical players I've ever been around, but he wouldn't win any races. He was just a great football player for us and was one of those guys that led us to the '81 Rose Bowl.

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