Brandon Blaney's history with Iowa State offensive coordinator Mark Mangino - dating all the way back to Blaney's time as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma - should pay dividends for the new Cyclone OL coach and his charges. Read what Blaney had to say about the ISU offensive line in this pre-season camp update.
On what he saw from the O line through two practices:
I'm seeing great effort. I'm seeing guys flying around. You know, we're making mistakes. I think that goes with any time that you're out there on the field for the first time but we're making our mistakes a hundred miles an hour. And the really neat thing about it is when we make a mistake or we get beat, it's not like it's sticking with us for two, three plays down the line. Okay, we made a couple of mistakes out there 11-on-11 and the neat thing about it was, it wasn't mistake then in succession, oh geez, here go. It was okay, focus in, let's get to the next play. Let's be in the moment right now.
On whether experience is playing into that:
Completely. I think so. It's an incredible group. And not only that but they're in their own way taking ownership into the whole unit. And when you have ownership within the group, you have a chance to be something special.
On having that much experience on the line coming in:
You know what? It's just about everything. It's neat to have the young guys, it's neat to watch the young guys to begin with get out on the field. Today we had a couple of guys that, Cole Anderson did a great job of improving just a few of things he had mechanics-wise. So it's fun to watch the young guys. But the old guys? You're focusing always on fundamentals, okay, you're always focusing on fundamentals. But the neat thing about it is, if you need to make an adjustment to the blocking scheme, or if something out there is not exactly connecting - there's a disconnect - it's easy quickly for them to get it addressed. Like you walk up to Tom Farniok and you're like, hey Tom, and right as you're at a coaching point, he's hey, I think we need to do this, this and this. And you're going, wait a minute, that's my job, that's what I'm supposed to do. And that's a cool thing about having an experienced offensive line.
On having a leading like Farniok on the line:
It's like having a coach. It's like having a coach out on the field. The leadership that he provides, not just to the offensive line but to the team in general, is exactly what you want right there. I think any time you want to do anything special, I don't care if it's football, basketball, business, what have you, when you have strong leadership, and it starts with the head football coach, it goes to the assistants and so forth, but when it's really internalized by the players and it's the standard is beared by the players, whoever that may be, you've got a chance to be something special.
On the process of integrating as a new coach:
I think number one as a football coach, at the end of the day, it's all about performance. No matter what my approach is, it's about how these guys perform out on the football field. And they're the ones that are either going to succeed or fail. Their success or failure is my success or failure. We're 100 percent in it together, okay. It's never going to be in my room, and on this staff, it's never going to be the players against the coaches. It's going to be all working towards one thing. So taking over and making the transition has really been easy because it's not like I'm sitting there trying to put my stamp on anything. It's not about me and it doesn't matter where I'm coaching or at what level, whether it's Pop Warner football, pro football, college football, it's not about me. It's about the guys that I'm coaching and what they accomplish.
On what he's teaching that may be different:
That's a good question, I really don't know and I'm not concerned with what was being taught in the past. There's been some really, and I've got to reinforce this, the coaching of my predecessors was exceptional. I didn't walk into a situation as a coach where, geez, I don't know if we're any good or not or anything like that. I walked into a situation where guys knew what they were doing to begin with. That's the mark of taking over a good situation and having good coaches in front of you.
On coaching terminology working with Mangino:
When it comes to between Mark and myself, the terminology, I've worked for Mark, I was his G.A. all the way back at Oklahoma. My language is his language. That's one of the neat thing about coming in as a position coach when you know the coordinator and you know his system. There's a little bit less of that feeling out that has to take place at that time. I think any time you're an assistant coach, or if you're even a subordinate within a company, if you're able to anticipate what the leadership wants and you're able to anticipate what they don't want equally, you're able to stay one step ahead. And now you can progress in all of the areas that you're responsible for.
On what he'd do differently with less experienced linemen:
That's a very good question. I really don't think my mentality would change. I do think you have to be flexible to what your situation is out there, okay. I think sometimes as a coach you be a little more, when you're trying to target a certain type of behavior early on, I think a lot of times you're like, that's wrong, that's right. And really in this game, yes there's wrong and right in terms of fundamentals and assignments, but sometimes there's that little gray area right there of, yeah that's wrong but your thought process is right on this. Or hey, A leads to B, now guess what, C is going to be over here and scoop that one because it might be D on the progression right there. I think when you have a younger group, and you have to tailor make that, too, with the younger players, sometimes you have to get from step A to step B before you can worry about D.
On what he's seen from Jake Campos:
A lot of development. I think the neatest thing about this year in college football that I think separates a lot of years in the past years is, we were able as a coaching staff to work a little bit with our players individually under NCAA rules. And it wasn't like practices or anything, it might just be taking a little bit of time to watch tape and that kind of stuff with the guys. It was unbelievable.
On where Campos' development has come most:
I'd say on his pass sets right now. He's a lot more assertive with his sets. There's a better decisiveness in his actions out there. You can tell that the game, and really that trend started way back in the spring, probably about midway through, that the game all the sudden slows down for the player. Now that might sound a little bit strange but you've got to remember they've got a lot of rules going on, there's a lot of fast guys out there. Things happen really fast and really loud out there, especially for a young player. As you get that experience and you get that confidence, it slows down. Ask any experienced player. It slows down and it becomes more clear and quiet mentally. You can start to see that happen with him.
On Wendell Taiese helping this year:
Well, so far, he's a strong player. I mean he is really strong. We haven't put the pads on so everything is hypothetical until we can go out there and swing. But the neat thing about it is watching him out there, he's got a lot of natural strength. Now we've got to get him acclimated to the offense, acclimated to the tempo that we're going, and a little more experience with the language that we're going to be using as an offensive line. But I have full confidence that he's going to develop into being a pretty good football player. Where he fits on the depth chart, well, that's going to be decided by the performance of all the people involved right there.
On Brock Dagel's progress:
Brock's coming along right now. I think he's a very conscientious person and he truly cares about his performance. So when you have somebody who does all of the little things off the field the right way that gives you a chance when you're coming off of an injury the way that Brock has so far. So I've got full confidence in where he's going.