Q&A: UI Quarterback Ricky Stanzi

Oct. 6, 2009

Editor’s Note: The following article first appeared in the Oct. 1 edition of the Official Sports Report (OSR) for the University of Iowa. OSR is a daily e-newsletter exclusively about the Iowa Hawkeyes. Click HERE to learn more.

University of Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi has led the Hawkeyes to nine consecutive victories, including one in the 2009 Outback Bowl, and a 5-0 start to the current season. In the first five games, Stanzi, an interdepartmental studies major from Mentor, Ohio, has completed 58.6 percent of his pass attempts and averages 215 passing yards per game.

Four Big Ten quarterbacks are named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list, but no Ricky Stanzi. Do you feel snubbed?
I’m not worried about it. I’m just trying to help our team out. That’s what I’m concerned with right now. The award I like to have is a team award, something we can all share together.

It’s third-and-10, what Hawkeye receiver are you looking for?
The open one, depending on whoever that is. Whoever’s open is the one I’m going to hit. Depending on a different number of things, whether it is the play or whether it be the formation, but I would rather go to the open one and hopefully he’s down field.

Strong arm or elusive runner? What makes the better quarterback?
The better quarterback is going to be the one that is balanced and a guy who can do an array of things well as opposed to doing one thing really well. If you have a strong arm, that’s great, but the accuracy has to play into that. If you’re a really quick runner, that’s great, but can you throw? Being a balanced person — any position — but mostly at quarterback because that’s the one I know, is definitely something I try to work on. Being able to work on everything and be balanced as much as I can. I’m not going to be the fastest guy on the field, I realize that, so I try to work on some other things to make them the strong points of my game.

What’s the funniest thing an opponent has said to you during a game?
I haven’t really gotten much of that. I don’t listen that well to the other guys. There really isn’t that much going on. I know I’ve been sacked before and guys will be like, `Stay down,’ or something like that. OK, whatever, buddy, I’m going to get back up. That’s something you get every game. There’s always a little bit of trash-talking. It’s fun when it’s your own guys in practice.

“I’m just trying to help our team out. That’s what I’m concerned with right now. The award I like to have is a team award, something we can all share together.”
UI quarterback
Ricky Stanzi

Did the thought ever cross your mind that you would never be the starting quarterback at the University of Iowa?
I don’t think it crossed my mind when I was being recruited, but I can tell you that when I got here it was kind of a shock. Not that I was expecting to play my freshman year at all, but you tend to doubt yourself sometimes and you have fear in certain situations about what you can do on the field and you start to wonder if you really belong. That’s something every young guy goes through and I can relate to them with that. That’s why it helps to have an older group now that has had tough times here growing up. That gives us a better relationship with our young guys. We can help lead them and help the team.

What is the biggest play you have personally been involved in as the Hawkeye quarterback?
My favorite one was the play against Purdue when I handed off to Shonn (Greene), he hit that one safety, spun around and ran into the end zone. Any great memory I have right now is of Shonn running the ball because he’s extremely talented, he was awesome to watch and had a lot of great plays — the Wisconsin game watching him come into his own as a running back was great to see. Everyone wants the best for Shonn because he is such a humble guy and such a team guy.

When you get a chance to watch the Hawkeye defense, who do you focus on?
I like watching Pat (Angerer) and (Brett) Greenwood. I have a lot of respect for Greenwood. He’s such a smart player. No one expected him to be in that position, but he came on so strong at such a young age and he was so smart. I really enjoy watching him play and I try to focus on him because he’s one of the better safeties and he’s a great guy to learn from playing against him because he disguises things well and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Brett and the time he puts in to learn the game of football.

When you face the UI secondary in practice, do you throw away from anyone in particular?
You can’t think that way because then you’re going to be shutting off plays that should be made. There’s not one guy. There are certain guys that are good at covering certain routes. Maybe there’s a match-up on a certain play.

What’s it like being recognized anywhere you go on campus?
I really don’t notice anything like that. No one really stops me when I’m going to school and says hi to me. There’s no one jumping up and down — they have better things to do than worry about what class I’m going to. There has been a time or two in class where people will ask if I’m the football player, but nothing out of epic proportions.

You return to your home state of Ohio on Nov. 14 when the Hawkeyes play in Columbus. Have you thought about that trip?
Yeah, of course I have. I’ve thought about all the road games. Obviously that one, being my home state, a lot of family will be there. That one will stick out at times when I think about the season. It’s going to be a great challenge for us as a team and that will be awesome that we get to go up to that stadium where so many good players have played and they have such a great team and respected coach. It will be a tough game and that’s what you look for as a football player — a good challenge.