Sept. 27, 2011
OL Tray Allen
On what the line needs to have a good start to the game: We've been practicing for that this week. They kept talking about fast starts, even though our first drive was a three-and-out against UCLA and on the second drive we scored. We need to do that on the first drive. We've been preaching tempo and starting fast and doing what we have to do for our team. Being reliable with our responsibilities all week. We've been practicing really hard, and we are just ready to play Iowa State.
On the chemistry of the offensive line: We are gelling. We are getting more into the season and learning more about each other. I think we are doing really well with each other and the communicating is getting better. The offense is getting better and more fluent with this.
On the quarterback substitutions: I don't look up and get surprised, but sometimes when Case [McCoy] comes in the huddle I think back about Colt [McCoy] in the huddle calling plays, because they sound so much alike. [Case and David Ash] are both great quarterbacks though, and have been working hard. They both have been working with the "ones" and "twos" and they are working on their craft as much as the offensive line, the running backs and the receivers. Great leadership is coming out of both of them and they are learning everyday, which is great for our quarterbacks.
On the similarities between Case and Colt McCoy: They are very similar in that they come into the huddle and command attention. They get us fired up and promise that we are going to score on this drive. Case is a great leader, and I am really happy that he is our quarterback right now.
On how much Case McCoy and David Ash have grown since camp: I have seen a lot of growth, especially in two-a-days when they were having their quarterback battle and all of them have to step up and prove to the team and prove to [co-offensive coordinator] Coach [Bryan] Harsin who was going to command the huddle for the first game. They come in the huddle with great confidence. They call the play. They say, "Guys, let's go, let's get it. We are going to score on this play." They are just great commanders all time in the huddle.
TE D.J. Grant
On how the offense is looking: It's looking pretty good. Coach Harsin has been fixing some things up and getting us ready and prepared and getting us to where we can do what we have to do this weekend.
On what stands out about Iowa State: They are very aggressive and are a very outgoing team this year. They have a lot of confidence. They have been getting better over the years and that has shown out there for them.
On being stronger and having more confidence blocking after the injury: During my injury, I had time to sit out and gain some weight, get in the weight room and get more physically strong. I feel like I was always there mentally, [I] just had to get there physically. The injury gave me time to do that.
On how tight ends have allowed the receivers to get open: In the past years, we had much success with the tight ends getting the ball, which opens up the defense more and makes the defense have to defend the tight end. When we have tight ends that can run, and run good routes, the defense has to put more DBs [defensive backs] in the game, which will help the line game open up and have some of the receivers get out of double coverage and more into single coverage.
On the personality differences between Case McCoy and David Ash: Honestly, I don't even see a difference in their personalities. They both come out and work hard. They both lead differently, but they both lead the offense how it should be lead. As you have seen, they both go on and do what they have to do, and it's been helping us win. Case is more of a vocal leader and Ash is more of an "I'll show you and just follow me" type of player, and we pick up on that and go with our quarterbacks.
On having more options at tight end: It opens your mind up a little bit more about what's going on out there. It gets you more excited and more on your feet about what to do. Everybody wants more expectations put on them, because I know for me, it helps me to become a better player out there. The new offense is the best thing that has probably happened to me so far.
On having too many weapons: I never think you can have too many weapons as an offense. The more weapons you have, the better offense you have, because the defense has to deal with more.
DE Jackson Jeffcoat
On the team talking about having relatively few sacks this season: We do, but it's not frustrating because we're still getting pressure on the quarterbacks, we're still making plays and getting after it. So as long as we're still making plays as a team, we're happy.
On if the defense has the goal of getting a fast start against Iowa State: Of course, you always want to start off fast, but it's about your finish. We want to finish strong and not start off fast and then turn our pace down and not get after them later in the game. Because that's when games are won, in the fourth quarter.
On Iowa State also having been finishing out their games strong: They're a great team, so we've got to take that into account. They've been coming out well in the fourth quarter. They came back against UConn. So we saw that we have to play great in the fourth quarter.
On defensive coordinator Manny Diaz's feedback: He said we're improving, but we've just got to keep continuing to improve every week. Every week get better. You can't stay still. You're either getting better or getting worse. Never staying the same.
On if the defense is feeling a lot more comfortable than they did in the first game: [We're] a lot more comfortable. We're a unit. We're getting better with each other, getting better team chemistry. We're understanding what other people do on the field, and what everybody else's assignments are.
On what stands out most about the defense: Our will to keep fighting. We want to keep fighting no matter what the score is. We don't really look up at the scoreboard. We just keep playing, and just keep getting after it. We pride ourselves in playing hard and getting three-and-outs. Just keep on doing that. Even if we don't get a three-and-out, we're going to try and get them off the field or make a turnover.
On if he feels the team lost any momentum due to the bye week: No, I don't think we lost any momentum at all because the way that we practiced. We practiced like we're practicing for our team. We focused on ourselves. We were practicing against ourselves and getting ready for that. So it was just like we had a game that week. It wasn't really an off-week. It was a bye week, but we just kept focusing on ourselves
LB Jordan Hicks
On if it took some time for the defense to learn the new system: Yes, definitely the first few weeks. Especially the first week. It was the first time we were out there running his defense against another team. Now it's our defense. We've gotten a lot more comfortable, and it's definitely helped a lot.
On the communication and leadership from the senior linebackers: They've always been real spoken out there on the field. But we've found weaknesses where we need to communicate with the DBs. Maybe they weren't getting the calls, and so we were just learning week-to-week on who needed what, and what we needed to fix. It's gotten a lot better.
On if the team has been talking about Iowa State's second half comebacks: Not really. We're just worried about us, and worried about us starting fast. Obviously if we do that, we'll be in good shape.
On the focus of the defense leading up to the Iowa State game: Well, definitely stopping [Iowa State QB] Steele Jantz. He's good at extending the play. We have to get after him a little bit and be able to contain him and stop him.
On the difference between this year's team and last year's team at this point in the season: I think we have a lot more confidence. I think we're a lot more together. I think we're just trusting the system and going with it.
On the defense looking like a completely different team than they did in the season opener against Rice: It does. I think we look fast because our steps are a lot quicker. I think our trust in the defense has definitely increased a significant amount. We're just buying into everything and going for it.