"You don't need one in Florida or Texas. It's not a necessity," McCarney said. "Here in Iowa, you better have one if you're going to play football.
''That's something that's high on my list. Believe me, real high."
The football team can practice in the Lied Recreation Center, and while it's better than nothing, it's less than ideal. The building has only 60 yards of turf and McCarney said there are so many hazards it's too dangerous to have a full-scale workout in pads.
McCarney said players have run into the building's concrete pillars and have sprained ankles or bruised toes on the hard turf.
"It's scary," he said. "I hold my breath every time we go in there. I really do. It's dangerous in there."
Fullback Joe Woodley said he hasn't seen anyone run into a pillar.
"It's not really like turf. It's almost like carpet it seems like," Woodley said. "When we go in there, it's never a real high intensity practice."
A full-scale indoor facility would be even more useful this season because the Cyclones are eligible for a bowl and probably will be practicing in December.
McCarney said he hoped that would add impetus to his push for such a building.
"It really brings to light the need for it," he said. "Not that we didn't before. But if you have a chance to go to postseason play, you're practicing in December and we all know what that month can be like in the Midwest."
McCarney recalled the 1982 season when he was an assistant at Iowa and the Hawkeyes were preparing for the Peach Bowl. Iowa had no indoor facility then, so coach Hayden Fry had shelters built of 2-by-4s and plastic sheeting and put heaters in them.
"Just to have a place where guys could go to warm up and we couldn't hardly get them out," McCarney said. "It was so cold. He had to pull coaches out of there much less players. It wasn't conducive to good practices. Next year, we had an indoor facility."
McCarney was reminded that Fry had threatened to leave if an indoor practice facility was not built. Asked he if would do the same in his upcoming contract negotiations, McCarney just smiled.
"We're just going to try to win these last two games," he said. The Cyclones play at Colorado on Saturday.
Indoors or out, cornerback Ryan Sloth said he would welcome a chance to practice in December.
"I suppose we'll have to spend a lot more time over there if it snows or something like that," Sloth said. "But that would be fun - not having to just go to class and lift weights and think about next year, but have a chance to actually prepare for another game."