Camp Central: Talkin' (with) the Hawkeyes

Aug. 4, 2008

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IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa staged its annual “Football Media Day” Monday at the Paul W. Brechler Press Box at historic Kinnick Stadium and the Kenyon Practice Field. As is the custom, much of the afternoon is spent visiting with the student-athletes who will represent the UI in the 12 regular season games on the Iowa Hawkeyes’ 2008 schedule. Here’s a sampling of what some of the Hawkeyes had to say.

WR #80 – Andy Brodell
(on his excitement for the upcoming season)
“I am excited for this year! We are going to have a better team than we did last year. We are, obviously, much more experienced on the offensive side of the ball, which is exciting. We are getting Tony (Moeaki) back, which is huge for our offense. In addition, our receivers last year got a lot of good experience. That will make things a lot more competitive during camp and will make us better as a team.”

(on what he expects from the offense this season)
“We have really high goals. We want to win the Big Ten and we feel like we can every year. We have the talent to do it; it is just a matter of staying healthy and working hard.”

(on being a senior)
“It has definitely gone by fast and I will be sad when it is all over. That being said, it is just motivation to have a good year and go out with a bang. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to come here and I am just looking forward to having a great senior year.”

QB #6 – Jake Christensen
(focus during camp knowing that QB position is up for grabs)
“My focus is just getting better every day. I have no doubts in my ability. It will be healthy competition but in my eyes I am the guy.”

(on his evaluation of his play last season)
“Obviously, it has been pretty well documented that I didn’t play as well as I should have last year. It was a learning experience. It made me that much better and I think it is going to make this entire team that much better. A lot of the guys were disappointed from last year, but we don’t get down on ourselves, we just have to improve.”

(on improving team cohesiveness)
“Improving our team cohesiveness will help a lot. Once you start playing with guys and start knowing what they like and what they don’t like you become more comfortable. That is a big part of it. Just like confidence and experience, that is right up there.”

TE #81 — Tony Moeaki
(on QB Jake Christensen)
“The media tends to go after the quarterback. He’s a great quarterback. That’s why he was our starter last year. In time, I think you will see improvement everyone on the offensive side of the ball. He’s a tough guy, no question, and you have to be tough to be a quarterback in the Big Ten.”

(on his health for the upcoming season)
“I feel good. I had the surgery in December and missed spring ball, but I was working hard with Coach [Chris] Doyle on my running and lifting. My left arm feels real good.”

(on the goals for the team)
“I think we can do pretty well for ourselves. If we come to practice and go after it hard each day with the right mentality to get better, we can be pretty good. Hopefully we can start off with a good camp to get us going in that right direction.”

DT #47 — Mitch King
(on the team’s makeup)
“We are a pretty young team all-around and it’s great to have their energy and enthusiasm out here. It’s a great way to start the year off. Everybody is working hard to get better every day.”

(on team unity)
“We’ve come a lot closer this past year as a team. There’s not one thing you can put your finger on, but you can just tell there are a lot of guys interacting with each other. It’s a lot different than past years.”

(on if there is pressure to lead)
“I don’t think it’s squarely on my shoulders. It is on everybody to lead. We’ve got a lot of young kids and we need those guys to step up and lead by example, too. I don’t feel any excess pressure, but there’s just as much pressure on us seniors as there is for a freshman.”

LB #49 – A.J. Edds
(on using last game of 2007 as motivation)
“Definitely, you look at a game like that and you have a chance to win your last game at home, the senior game, and go to a bowl. There’s no reason you can’t pull something out of as far as you haven’t arrived…the `hay’s not in the barn’ kind of thing.”

(on taking a role as a defensive leader)
“It’s more of a vocal role really, I’m more in a position, if I see a guy not doing what they need to be doing I’m in a position to kind of say something. Out of the fact that I played last year and I’ve been out there just naturally you receive more attention when you talk. When you say something, guys listen.”

“He’s brought excitement, knowledge. He’s brought a different way to look at things and he’s a fun person to be around. He’s is very knowledgeable and experienced, just a great person to learn from. Looking at all of the guys that he has coached, he definitely has a nice resume. It’s nice to learn from the best.”
Wide receivere Trey Stross on new UI coach Erik Campbell

DB #30 – Brett Greenwood
(on getting game experience last year)
“Definitely, it’s huge (having on-field experience). You can only watch so much film and you can’t really duplicate [experience] in practice or in the film room. Once you get on the field it’s a different game and you just have to get used to it.”

(what surprised him most)
“What surprised me the most was game day really, the speed of the game. Players are at the top level playing. Also getting used to the stadiums, I mean we play here at Kinnick a lot, but going on the road to Penn State, Purdue, getting used to those stadiums and those atmospheres.”

WR #86 – Trey Stross
(on Coach Campbell)
“He’s brought excitement, knowledge. He’s brought a different way to look at things and he’s a fun person to be around. He’s is very knowledgeable and experienced, just a great person to learn from. Looking at all of the guys that he has coached, he definitely has a nice resume. It’s nice to learn from the best.”

“He (Campbell) has us do a couple different things to think about. For example, the different ways of running your routes and keeping stuff vertical, so everything you do is threatening your deep route. No defensive back wants to be beat deep so if you make a re-route look that way they’re not going to know what you’re doing and they’re always going to be guessing.”

“It’s been a nice transition because he’s made it smooth for us. And it’s all under Coach Ferentz, so it’s not like we have a new offensive philosophy or anything, it’s just hearing a new voice. And the new voice has excitement, he runs around the field a lot and keeps us going.”

(on experience with injuries)
“Last year was definitely hard on the receiving and tight end positions. But we got everybody back healthy and we have a lot of depth this year so it’s going to be nice to know that if anybody goes down we have somebody that has already had in-game experience to back us up.”

(on playing time last year)
“I expected to play. I started the first game and probably should have started all the rest of the games but I was hurt and I was only practicing 20 percent of the practices last year. Andy (Brodell) got hurt and he didn’t get to come back and I got hurt and I fortunately got to come back so I was happy, at least, that I got to play as much as I did. I always expect to play, that’s why you come here.”

#5 P Ryan Donahue
(on improving in the offseason)
“I definitely think that the offseason has helped me improve. It’s a great opportunity to get more time to work on things. And last year during the beginning of the year I was inconsistent, I was young and it was a big atmosphere, it was very exciting. It was a learning experience in the beginning of the season and towards the end of the season I started to pick it up a lot and I worked more on my form and blocked everything else out and when I blocked everything else out good things started to happen.”

(on perfecting form)
“All the necessary resources that I need I have here at Iowa. I talk to Jason Baker and the coaches. They all help me with my form and anything I need. Any tips I need, I can get. There is no one else better to learn from then Jason Baker. He’s one of the highest paid NFL professionals and that’s not for no reason. He’s definitely has some great tips.”

(on progression/learning)
“When you first start off, during the day, you’re not working to get everything quick and everything in motion right away. You just want to start off getting your form right, getting your steps down and after that, then you can work on timing because then you go with the team. When your with the team that’s when you concentrate on doing your form right as well as the speed. Really, you want to try and do it naturally as fast as you can.”

#55 LB — Jacody Coleman
(on getting initiated into the program last year)
“I came in the summer, before the season, so that helped me out a lot. They say some freshman don’t really fit in but to me it really helped coming in the summer before two-a-days because when the season started I already knew how the workouts were, so for me that really helped out a lot. I got to talk to the players and get to know them in the summer and you get used to the workouts, so all that really helps.”

(On attitude of linebackers)
“Attitude really is just to get better. Everyone comes out to practice to try and get better as a whole group. We have a lot of depth as linebackers so we feed off each other like that so we really do just come out here to get better each day.

(on major eye opener of Big Ten football)
“I think the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin game was really the eye opener for me. When they put me in and I got two tackles in the backfield that really opened my eyes to what Big Ten football is. Since I haven’t played a whole season yet I can’t really say what a whole season is like.”

#71 OL — Seth Olsen
(on experience, offensive line quality)
“We have some experience more than we did last year. We’re just looking to build on to that and see improvement on our younger guys and older guys in general.”

(on sacks)
“It is a team game, and when he (Coach O’Keefe) says it’s everybody’s deal, it could be the line not protecting long enough, QB not getting the look, the receiver breaking the route, but each play it’s one guy. So if we can correct one guy, we obviously need a bunch of corrections to drop the sacks but we can improve in that area this year.”

(on Shonn Greene coming back)
“I know he’s a heck of a player. If you watch film from two years ago, he split time with Albert and Damien and I don’t think anyone argued about what kind of caliber player they were. When it comes to special teams he’s a ball hog, always around making plays, so anytime we can add a player like him to our team it’s going to be good for us.”

DL #53 – Matt Kroul
(On sharing the leadership role with Mitch King)
“We started three years ago, we just started our senior year here now. We’ve kind of grown to our positions. We obviously don’t talk about it much, but you still realize it. It’s something you take in stride, and you do your best you can to lead.”

(On Christian Ballard and Adrian Clayborn taking starting roles as defensive ends)
“We have two new D-ends stepping in this year so I’m excited to see what they bring. Obviously, they’re big guys, I think they’re right around 285 so hopefully we’re not the small line anymore in the Big Ten. We’ll see what we can do this year and keep improving every day we come out. They realize that they have to step up, that they can’t sit behind in that second spot. They know what they have to do and they know that it’s going to be tough. They’re going to take they’re hits at the beginning of the season but as long as they keep improving and keep going strong, they’ll be fine.”

RB #25 – Paki O’Meara
(On competing for the running back position)
“You know, just put my head down and just give it everything I got, and we’ll see what happens. The other guys coming in have the same idea too and they’re definitely gunning for it so it’ll be really good competition.”

(On the experienced offensive line)
“It’s a big confidence booster when you see the guys in front of you doing well and playing well. They looked pretty good in practice today, so it’s definitely a confidence booster.”