Wednesday, December 29, 2004

McCarney Proves He's the Right Guy for Iowa State Job

There. That should settle it.

Anybody still disagree with me that Dan McCarney is the right guy for the Iowa State football coaching job?

When I saw McCarney getting a Gatorade shower delivered by his jubilant players in the final seconds of the Poulan Weed Eater – oops! I mean Independence Bowl! – last night, I was convinced more than ever that Iowa State should do all it can to keep him.

What other guy could’ve had the Cyclones in a bowl game for the fourth time in five seasons? What other guy could’ve been responsible for breathing enough life into a 2-10 team in 2003 to produce a 7-5 record in 2004?


Probably not even the legendary Pop Warner, who coached Iowa State more than a century ago.

McCarney is the best coach to come along in Iowa State football since Earle Bruce roamed the sidelines from 1973-1978.

No, change that. He’s better than Bruce and better than Johnny Majors, who preceded Bruce.

Majors and Bruce each took two Cyclone teams to bowl games and didn’t win any of them. McCarney has already coached two bowl victories.


Pretty funny stuff on the Iowa State sideline last night.

When the two Cyclone players were hauling the Gatorade container behind McCarney’s back to surprise him with the shower, one said to his teammates, “Get the fuck out of the way!”

The comment could be heard on the ESPN telecast just before time expired in Iowa State’s 17-13 victory over Miami of Ohio.


Said McCarney after the game:

“We’ve come a long way from being an underdog to [Division I-AA] Northern Iowa in our first game.”


After last night, it’s obvious what Cyclone fans are going to be seeing in the 2005 season.

Iowa State finally has the makings of a strong running game with junior-to-be Stevie Hicks, the No. 1 tailback, and sophomore-to-be Bret Meyer, the quarterback.

Hicks ran for 159 yards in 27 carries and Meyer ran 23 times for 122 yards as the Cyclones totaled 295 yards on the ground—a school record for a bowl game.

McCarney said Meyer “has a lot of elusiveness. His running was definitely going to be a big part of our game. Those weren’t plays that broke down. They were designed running plays.”

With what McCarney has coming back, I’m wondering what the fate will be of Jason Scales, the former West Des Moines Valley tailback who was a Cyclone backup as a freshman.


Something that I’d make sure happens in 2005: Get the ball to Todd Blythe, the 6-5 receiver from Indianola. Blythe caught just three passes last night, but was open several more times and wasn’t thrown the ball by Meyer.


Iowa State’s Ellis Hobbs should think about hiring Bill Curry as his agent.

Curry spent 17 years as a coach at Georgia Tech, Alabama and Kentucky, and is now an ESPN announcer. He worked the Iowa State-Miami game.

He kept raving about Hobbs. When the senior defensive back from DeSoto, Texas, intercepted a pass to seal the victory, Curry praised him by saying, “I know TV announcers are not supposed to root for teams, but we can root for players.”


I guess I’m questioning the intelligence of Terry Hoeppner.

Hoeppner is leaving the security of the Miami of Ohio coaching job to take over at Indiana.

Agreeing to coach football at Indiana makes about as much sense as coaching beach volleyball in Alaska.


Miami officials did their best to get their players jacked up mentally for the game by announcing in the locker room before the game – in front of the ESPN cameras—that offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery would succeed Hoeppner.

But that announcement didn’t have the intended result. Miami was flat emotionally early in the game. Iowa State had a chance to put the RedHawks away, but couldn’t get the job done.


Once the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl, always the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl.

People used to laugh at the bowl when the Weed Eater company sponsored it. I guess a lot of folks were still laughing—somewhere other than in the stadium--last night.

Only 32,145 – roughly 5,000 from Iowa State – showed up. The attendance for Iowa State’s 14-13 loss to Alabama in the 2001 game at Shreveport was 45,627.


It’s hard to believe this was the first victory by a Big 12 Conference team in seven Independence Bowl tries.


It’s turning out to be great time for Iowa State football.

Not only did the Cyclones win their bowl game, a former quarterback at Iowa State is making news in the National Football League.

Rosenfels passed for 308 yards Dec. 28, 2000 when Iowa State beat Pittsburgh, 37-29, in the Bowl at Phoenix.

The AP reports that Sage Rosenfels, who lettered from 1997-2000, will likely make his first NFL start Sunday when the Miami Dolphins play Baltimore.

A.J. Feeley aggravated a rib injury in last week’s 10-7 victory over Cleveland and is listed as doubtful.

Rosenfels has played in eight games during his three seasons with Miami, completing four of 10 passes for one touchdown and no interceptions. He’s thrown just one pass this season—and it was incomplete.

Rosenfels has become a fan favorite over the past three years. He received a loud ovation when he entered last week’s game.

“He came into the game for one play, and everyone went nuts,” teammate David Bowens said.

Rosenfels hopes the fans feel the same way after Sunday’s game.

Everyone loves a backup quarterback until he gets in,” he said. “This is like any other week. I’m going to get ready to play just like any other week.”


What a hell of a way to put out a sports section.

This morning's local paper had a small insert that had this message for readers: Notre Dame results available on Web

Following that headline, the story said, "Tuesday night's Insight Bowl featuring Oregon State and Notre Dame was not finished when this edition of the Register went to press. A score and game story can be found at

For those of you who think that's a shabby way for The Newspaper Fewer and Fewer Iowans Depend On to treat its readers, here's what happened in the game at Phoenix:

This was the game that some Notre Dame players had dedicated to Ty Willingham, who had been fired as the Fighting Irish coach. It turns out that very few players were dedicating it to Willingham.

Maybe one. Maybe two.

Frankly, I doubt that Willingham cared. I'll bet he didn't even watch the game. And I know damn well he didn't read about it on the local paper's website.

Oregon State won, 38-21, giving Notre Dame's seven straight bowl losses. Kent Baer was serving as the Irish's interim coach. Baer will be in one of two places next fall: Either the line coach at Dowling High School or on the night shift at Firestone.

Vol. 4, No. 292
Dec. 29, 2004