Monday, September 12, 2005

McCarney 'Through Celebrating,' But Reporters Aren't Through Asking

Dan McCarney said he was “through celebrating.”

“The Iowa game is over,” he added. “It’s time to move on.”

But they wouldn’t let the Iowa State coach move on today during the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference.

Reporters wanted to keep asking about the Cyclones’ impressive 23-3 victory Saturday over an Iowa team that then was ranked eighth nationally.

“Did you expect to be ranked this soon?” someone asked McCarney.

“I didn’t even pay any attention to it,” he commented. “Somebody said something yesterday about us being ranked. Tom Kroeschell [Iowa State’s sports information director] came down and told us about it.

“I didn’t get too excited, and neither did any of the players. The season has just begun. It’s nice to see Iowa State’s name out there, and it’s nice to have some people say, ‘Hey’ you’re doing a nice job,’ and there’s some credibility and respect for our program.

“But we’ve got a long ways to go. Teams get ranked and they drop out real fast at this time of the year. Nobody around here is doing much celebrating as far as the rankings go.”

Iowa State is No. 24 in the Associated Press sportswriters’ rankings—still two spots below Iowa, which lost to the Cyclones for the sixth time in the last eight meetings.

So much for an over-abundance of respect, I guess.

Ironically, Iowa State wasn’t among the top 25 in the coaches’ poll, in which McCarney is a voter. Iowa is No. 21 in that poll.

Other rewards from Saturday’s victory found Iowa State defensive back LaMarcus Hicks being named the Big 12’s defensive player of the week and punter Troy Blankenship being picked the conference’s special teams player of the week.

McCarney was asked if he’s ever had a team play as physical as Iowa State did against Iowa, and he said, “Some of our best victories have come when we’ve been physical, and we played like that Saturday.

“I don’t know if we can play harder than we played Saturday. That’s got to be our strength. But we can play better. We sure as heck haven’t reached the top of the mountain.”

McCarney, who is in his 11th season at Iowa State, said he thought the “atmosphere in Jack Trice Stadium for the Iowa game was the best it’s been since I’ve been here.”

Indeed, in a way, the atmosphere was like an outdoor version of Hilton Coliseum, with 54,290 fans jammed into the stadium.

McCarney talked about the transformation of Austin Flynn from reserve quarterback to starting wide receiver.

“I’m happy for him,” the coach said. “It was good to see a quarterback [Bret Meyer] pass to another [former] quarterback [Flynn] for our first touchdown Saturday. Nothing surprises you about an outstanding young man like Flynn. He really has tremendous hands and understands coverages.

“He’s a good physical blocker now, and you don’t see quarterbacks do that often. He takes pride in being a blocker. I don’t know if there’s anyone on this team who is more respected than Austin Flynn, and it goes right back to how he handled being beaten out at quarterback.

“He didn’t look to transfer, didn’t call other coaches, didn’t try to get his release. He said, ‘What can I do to help this team and this program?’ He’s never looked back.”

Vol. 4, No. 375
Sept. 12, 2005