You can find all of my answers over at Wide Right & Natty Lite. Go check it out.
Give a brief assessment of your season thus far.
Two faced. Sometimes we look like we're world beaters, and sometimes we look completely incompetent at moving the ball (i.e. Iowa game). Even during our last game vs. a terrible Western Illinois team, the Cyclone came out and rolled 2 very quick TDs, then went into Big 10 mode.
What has been the biggest positive and biggest negative aspect from the first three games?
Biggest positive has been the secondary. We lost Leonard Johnson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with the very good Ter'ran Benton, and the dropoff has not been that noticeable. A lot of this can be attributed to the stellar play of safety Jacques Washington.
In looking at the Cyclones, it seems that maybe the biggest difference between Iowa St. from this year in comparison to year’s past as far as the defense is the quantity and quality of the defensive line?
Would you agree with that assessment and if not, what’s making this Iowa St. defense appear better thus far? Absolutely. Iowa State isn't loaded with top end talent, but with more depth on the defensive line than ever before, guys are able to give it their all for half of the snaps they would have had to play 2 years ago. DT Jake McDonough (when he's not producing songs for Tech N9ne) has been possibly our most improved defensive player.
Offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham has a tremendous mustache and he is also in his first year calling plays. Talk a bit about any change in philosophy and your thoughts on starting Steele Jantz over Jared Barnett, who seemed to look pretty good for a true freshman last year?
It's still my hypothesis that Tom Herman didn't leave for Ohio State, Paul Rhoads fired him for his inadequate mustache. Messingham's playcalling has been pretty good overall, but there are spots where his inexperience does show, especially in the red zone. The philosophy seems mostly the same, but simplified.
As far as Jantz goes.. He's the one that's more capable of winning a game by himself, but is occasionally prone to some of the most boneheaded mistakes known to any QB not named Ryan Leaf. Barnett is the "safer" option, but has not looked good in spot duty this year... like, at all.
How do you see the game playing out on Saturday and how would you attack Texas Tech, both offensively and defensively?
Offensively, I would attack Tech by gauging their aggressiveness through play actions for both the screen and downfield passing game. Iowa State has had 4 100 yard rushers in the past 2 years and Tech knows that. Getting the Raiders to soften on play fakes will open up the box to allow for more running later in the game. Iowa State is also rolling out nine different pass catchers, which should test the young secondary.
Defensively, forcing Tech to abandon the run has worked well in the past two years. Seth Doege is an experienced senior, so generating a quality pass rush is going to be essential to force him into reading his progressions and making the right choice. With All Big XII linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein free to roam in their zones due to Jeremiah George's emergence this could be very difficult for Tech if they get caught in 3rd and long situations.