The Indiana offensive line is a deep and talented group that is led by four fifth-year seniors. One of those seniors, Wes Rogers met with the media this past Wednesday at the IU Football Media Day to talk about coming back for a fifth year, and what his expectations are for the Hoosiers offensive line in 2016.
Q - Talk about the offensive line and your role as the starting center.
Wes Rogers: I am real excited for it. I think I’ve got a lot of good seniors around me. We have four fifth year seniors and I think we’re going to have a lot of leadership. We’re really expecting high things from our offensive line this year.
Q - Do you look at your role any differently since this is first time you are starter at start of year?
Wes Rogers: No, I’m going to prepare the best I can like I always have. I have had a lot of problems with injuries in the past, but I’m really looking forward to just staying healthy and being the center of this offensive line and really leading these guys. Hopefully we have the best offensive line in the Big Ten.
Q - What do you view as your primary role as the center?
Wes Rogers: It is mainly just making sure we’re all on the same page. Even if it’s not the perfect call for any situation, as long as we’re on the same page and we’re all doing the same thing it’s going to be successful, at least a little bit.
Q - Has Dan Feeney helped you in your role?
Wes Rogers: Of course. It is a lot easier to play center when you have a guard like Dan Feeney playing right next to you. He makes those double-teams a lot easier. But he helps me out a lot by just calling things that he’s seeing, and what he thinks we should do in certain situations and on certain plays. It definitely helps that he is a fifth-year senior too. We both have been here for a while and he is obviously the most experienced (lineman) on our team.
Q - After battling different injuries talk about how you feel physically entering Fall Camp.
Wes Rogers: I have really been pretty injury free for a while now. I am feeling the best I ever have in a long time. I’m just excited to get camp started and get the season rolling.
Q - What has been the biggest change on the offensive line from when you got here until now?
Wes Rogers: I think it is really just mindset. We know that we can come out and play with anybody. We know that if we do what we’re supposed to do and what we’re coached to do that we’re going to be able to come out and run for 300 yards and protect the quarterback like we’re the best offensive line in the Big Ten. I think now that we actually believe that our play is starting to show that also.
Q - How much is consistency a part of what you guys are focused on this season?
Wes Rogers: We’ve had problems with that in the past where we’ve been real good one game and then down the next game. We’re just really focused on being the best we can on every single play. It’s not really that we’ve got to score, but we just want to be able to play and do our best and live up to our potential as an offensive line.
Q - How important is it for you guys to put in the work in the summer heading into Fall Camp?
Wes Rogers: It is very important. I think the running and the lifting just gets you more confidence knowing that I benched 40 more pounds than I did last year and I’m bigger, I’m stronger, I’m faster, I’m more athletic. I think it plays a big role in your physical play, but also your mentality of knowing that you are better than you were in the past.
Q - What is the excitement like? Is this like Christmas for you guys in August?
Wes Rogers: We’re all real excited to be back. When we started our meetings you could just tell that everyone is just itching to get back and get out on the field.
Q - How much did get the chance to finish out your career with Dimitric (Camiel) and Dan (Feeney) and Jacob (Bailey) factor in your decision to come back for a fifth season because it seemed like at one point you were leaning towards not returning.
Wes Rogers: It was those guys because those guys are my best friends. I have hung out with them every day for the last four-and-a-half years. We hang out outside of football. I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought about not coming back. After a week or two Coach (Greg) Frey talked to me and I told him I don’t know what I was thinking and I don’t know why I would ever want to leave. I am overjoyed that I came back. It would have been the worst decision of my life if I decided not to come back. It’s going to be big because it is the fifth year for all four of us and it’s the last go around. We’re done with summer workouts and we’re done with spring ball forever. We just want to have the very best football season we possibly can because we don’t know if we’ll be playing next year. It’s just crazy to think that the whole time we’ve been playing football this might be the very last time ever.
Q - You will have a new starting quarterback with Nate Sudfeld gone. Talk a little bit about the competition at that spot.
Wes Rogers: We’ve got three or four guys, especially from spring that are looking real good. I honestly could not tell you who is in the lead and who is second. They all pretty much share equal reps and they all are doing a real good job. We’ve got Zander (Diamont), we’ve got Rich (Lagow), we’ve got Danny (Cameron), we’ve got A.K. (Austin King), so we’ve got four good quarterbacks that all have made a lot of good plays and they are starting to make better decisions. I think towards the beginning of spring our quarterback play wasn’t as good as it has been in the past, but then at the end with the competition that they all have been sharing with each other, I think their play got a lot better. Honestly I don’t care who it is just as long whoever wins it is going to play well, and I think they will.