HOUSTON--Iowa State coach Dan McCarney has always been one of the most quotable coaches in the country and a media favorite. He's more open and honest with the media than perhaps any other coach in the league. But what McCarney told the press about quarterback Bret Meyer during Iowa State's Tuesday media session caught just about everybody by surprise.
"He's got class, he's got integrity. There are certain guys you would love to have your daughter date and Bret Meyer is one of those guys," McCarney said, before issuing a warning. "I've got an 18-year old daughter and a 16-year old. Stay away from them."
"On Saturday afternoon, you want to line up with him in a football game and on Saturday night, you'd love to have him take your daughter to the prom."
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Meyer met that comment with a humble smile and dropped his head. But he later acknowledged the high praise from his coach.
"It's great. Coach Mac is one of the most respected people around the state of Iowa and around the nation," Meyer said. "I think anybody who's ever played for him will tell you he'll do anything to help you out. I'm not just saying that, I really mean it. He would help out any player. Definitely, to hear that from him, it really means a lot."
As a redshirt freshman, Meyer started 12 games and led a Cyclone team picked last in the North to a co-division title and an Independence Bowl win.
"I sleep a little bit better at night because of this guy next to me," McCarney said. "We were 12th in the country in turnover margin with a redshirt freshman as a quarterback. How many times do you see that?"
And Meyer still has three more years. The most logical comparison is former Cyclone and current Seattle Seahawk Seneca Wallace.
"The intangibles are so similar to Seneca Wallace," McCarney said. "He's his own harshest critic and he is a great young man."
Meyer himself shies away from that comparison.
"It's flattering to be compared to a player of that caliber," said the Atlantic High School alum. "But I'm not trying to be Seneca Wallace. I'm trying to be my own player. I really don't want to be compared to anyone else."
Defensive lineman Nick Leaders and linebacker Tim Dobbins had to face Meyer every day in practice when the signal caller was running the scout team two years ago as a true freshman. They saw Meyer's ability almost immediately.
"When I first got here, I thought he was a great quarterback," Dobbins, a junior college transfer prior to last season, said. "On my first practice day, everything was just moving so fast, I couldn't keep up with it and he was already at that level. He already had me sold right there."
"He's unbelievably mature for a freshman, going to be a sophomore," Leaders said. "He was that way as a freshman when he played on the scout team. He gave us fits all year, him and Todd Blythe together. There were two weeks where we played Missouri and then we played Texas. You could kind of see the similarities to a Brad Smith and a Vince Young and you can see the way that he could mold into that kind of quarterback by the way he can take off and run the QB draw or he can throw on the run, all that kind of stuff."
Smith is perhaps the only current comparison to Meyer. As a redshirt freshman, he burst on the scene, becoming just the second player in the history of Division One football to pass for 2,000 yards and run for 1,000 in the same season. Smith is now entering his senior year at Missouri. By the time Meyer is ready to exhaust his eligibility in 2008, there's no telling how he'll compare. Leaders doesn't think it will take that long.
"He's got all the tools to be unbelievable, his potential is unlimited," Leaders said. "He's going to go out and prove that he deserves to be on the same page as Brad Smith and Vince Young and Reggie McNeal, quarterbacks like that."
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