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They Said It: Alamo Bowl Coordinators

With the 2018 Alamo Bowl inching ever closer, the offensive and defensive coordinators for Iowa State and Washington State met with the media on Wednesday. Check out full highlights from Jon Heacock, Joel Gordon, Tracy Claeys and Steve Spurrier Jr.’s time with the media below.

Heacock on facing the best passing offense in the country…

JH: I think first of all, this offense is different than anybody really that we’ve played. I think the quarterback obviously well documented, going to be a first-round draft choice, tremendous player, tailback is a tremendous player, and I just think it’s a different offense, and unless you would just really view and see all the games, it is very different. They force you to do different things, will have to do some different things, and I think it helps us in honesty because we have seen parts of it, we have not seen all of it like you see with Coach Leach’s offense.

Gordon on how Iowa State’s offense has evolved this season…

JG: Well, I mean, it’s been a work in progress. You know, we’ve had guys, new guys step into new roles all year long and played with a couple different quarterbacks, played with a good group of running backs. We’ve had a bunch of wide receivers step up and do different things and new guys at the tight end position, and it’s really just been one week at a time, getting through an injury here or there at a position and going one week at a time and figuring out who’s ready to step up that week to try to help us win a game, and there’s been a lot of guys that have proved that they could do that.

Gordon on how the offense has battled through quarterback changes, injuries, etc…

JG: Well, having some depth for sure, I mean, we’ve got a great group of running backs in that room, and Coach Scheelhaase has done a great job of getting Johnnie Lang and Kene Nwangwu ready to go when their number has needed to be called. The same could be said in the wide receiver room with Coach Gasser and Coach Golesh in the tight end room. Our offensive line, we’ve had some guys that didn’t have a lot of experience coming into the year, and we’ve had some injuries there, as well, so it’s been a group effort. Our coaches have tried to do as much as we can one week at a time to get the guys that are healthy ready to go, and our coaches have done a really good job with that.

Heacock on how he would describe the perfect Iowa State defender…

JH: Well, I think these two guys sitting next to me (Brian Peavy and Willie Harvey) would probably be a good way to start. I think our guys, and I think I would just talk about our group as a whole. I think our guys, I think what we do is one thing. I think how our guys do stuff is what is different. In my 35 years, I think it’s built on trust amongst the players. I think these guys truly care about each other. I think our unit is different and such, and I guess I can speak because I’ve been doing this 35 years, I think our room is different from the standpoint that they really, truly care about one another. They hold one another accountable. Our defensive staff cares about each other. They care about those kids, give them an opportunity to have success. We practice extremely hard. We prepare extremely hard. So I think if I were starting to build one of our perfect defenders, it would be based on how they do the things, not what we do schematically. And I think that’s where I would approach what I think are these guys have led as leaders, tremendous work habits, tremendous practice habits, and like I said, they truly care about each other and our coaches care about them and they care about us. I think it’s more how you would build that group, that guy.

PODCAST: Why the outcome of the Alamo Bowl really matters

Gordon on Brock Purdy’s improvements through the season…

JG: We’ll worry about the spring when we get out of this game, but he’s gotten to the point where there’s play calls that he’s heard. There’s experiences that he’s had in games now, going for most of the year, and going into that first year, he didn’t have any of that. So just the opportunity to have some kind of comfort level, getting some experience has been huge for him, and he hasn’t been perfect, he’s been pretty good, but just continuing to learn about the offense and learn about defense. He’ll continue to go down that road when we get to spring practice, and I think he’ll continue to improve.

Heacock on how the offense can help the defense…

JH: Well, again, I guess I show my age sometimes. I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve always said we play the best defense when we’re standing on the side. My calls are a lot better. You know, I’m really smart when our guys are over there behind the bench. So that’s important. And our offense, I think the blessing for us has been we’ve been a team. Our offense has helped us. Our defense has helped us. Our special teams has helped us. And we’re going to have to help each other again on Friday night. That’s the only way we know how to have success. Again, we’re playing the best defense we can play, we’re error free over there where we’re standing. Them guys are behind me. They’ll help us. We have to help them and I’ve always said you have a great defense when your team needs you the most (indiscernible), and that’s what we’ve been working hard to do.

Washington State offensive coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. on Iowa State’s defense…

SSJ: Iowa State is a talented team. They started off the year 1-3 and 7-1 the last eight games, so they’ve got a lot of momentum. They’re kind of standard in the front, they play a three-man front and they mix it up in the secondary a good bit. Their leading tackler No. 12 does an excellent job flying all over the place. They’re a sound team. They tackle well. We’re going to have to play well and execute well to beat these guys.

Washington State defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys on Iowa State’s offense…

TC: Well, it’s a matter of with their size and their skill levels, having a running back and two big wide receivers and got a tight end that runs good as they make you defend everything. Vertically and horizontally, they make it hard to cheat anywhere and then mixing up their tempos on you, it’s a challenge, but each week is, and we’ve had good practices, but looking forward to it. But it will definitely be a challenge with their talent and some of the things they’re doing.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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