Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Parker Hesse is a redshirt junior on the University of Iowa football team. The defense end was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media as a sophomore after collecting 37 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and five sacks. He recently sat down for a Q&A with hawkeyesports.com.
What have you been working on the most this offseason or is there anything specific you have been making an effort to improve on?
“The offseason is to work on strength and conditioning with Chris Doyle, to work on becoming a better athlete. As a player, the things I have worked on are to be more disruptive as a pass rusher.”
What are your individual goals heading into this season?
“Most of my goals aren’t pertaining to me as in numbers and stats, the reason I love playing football is because it’s a team game and I love sharing experiences with the people that I have become so close with. Right now the No. 1 is to win a Big Ten Championship.”
What was your biggest takeaway from last season and past experience that you can use this season?
“One example from last year is you have to always be on top of the little things throughout the year. It goes to show that when we focus and concentrate we can accomplish a lot, but if we let those things slip, it can come back and cost us. You have to make the decision every day that you are going to show up and get the job done.”
What kind of relationship do you need to have with the other guys on defensive in order to be successful?
“That’s something that is special right now, the defensive line is a tight knit group and we all enjoy each other’s company and spend most of our free time together. Overall, that is going to help us this season. It will make it easier to rotate guys in and out; the closer you are with your teammates you leave more on the line for them.”
What would you say is the most challenging part of your position?
“The way we play our defense at Iowa, we use a lot of heavy techniques and take on blocks. We have a great offensive line so in practice we go up against guys that are good at what they do, which pushes you and helps you develop as a player.”
Being from Iowa, what makes being a Hawkeye special?
“Growing up in Eastern Iowa, playing for the Hawks is always the dream, you watch them on Saturdays and go outside during halftime and pretend like you’re playing for them. It’s a dream come true. You get to represent the area where you are from and defend its reputation in front of the whole country.
Do you have any pregame rituals?
“I don’t do anything to weird or noteworthy, I have a routine and I stick to it. I’ve been doing it since junior high ball so I try to keep it the same.”
What was the most exciting thing you did this summer?
“I hung out with the defensive linemen on our time off. Drew Ott got married, and we all got to go to that. Ragbrai went through my hometown and my mom volunteered me to help set up and I ended up having to set up the whole stage. It was fun; I got to do it with some of my buddies.”
What is it like running out of the tunnel in Kinnick Stadium on game day?
“It’s hard to describe, there’s nothing like it. It’s something that I’m trying to cherish as much as I can.”
What is your go-to karaoke song?
“Your Man by Josh Turner because his voice is so deep in the beginning if you hit the first line as deep as you can everyone just starts laughing so it doesn’t really matter how you sing the rest of the song.”