Erik Anderson Preseason Q&A

<B>AMES, IA --</B> Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney named SAM linebacker Erik Anderson one of four team captains for the 2004 season on Monday. Shortly before he was named a captain, Anderson spoke with for a question-and-answer session.

CN: Comment on some of the other players on defense around you, and how they've looked.

Erik Anderson: I'm real excited about this defense. It's been great to get back on the field with these guys. It feels like a veteran group out there. I've got guys next to me that I've been around for a while. I don't think we can get much better than we have up front (with Nick Leaders and Brent Curvey). They're great players and great athletes. I'm excited about the front. In the secondary we have a lot of guys who came in and busted their tails in the summer.

CN: Is this defense more together in lieu of the Jason Berryman situation?

Anderson: We were a group together before and we still are now. We've had a lot of guys step up, and we're a great group together and have gelled over the last couple years.

CN: Although the statistics didn't suggest it, the feeling was you guys had a pretty solid defense last season but the group wore down over the long haul. How much confidence does this group return to the field with?

Anderson: I think we did work hard last year, and came to work every single week. We never felt like as a unit we gave up on any given Saturday. We're real confident in our offense this year. It's going to be a lot of fun seeing them get some drives to give us some rest. We've got a lot of guys coming back, too.

CN: Will you be ready for an increased role in your final season of college ball?

Anderson: Absolutely. This is the first year I was really healthy coming into training camp. I've had a couple surgeries and pulled hamstrings in a matter of three years. Hopefully my role will increase this year quite a bit.

CN: You're one of the few seniors on a freshman and sophomore-laden squad. What are your feelings about being an upperclassman and the responsibility that will go along with that?

Anderson: It feels weird, being a senior now. I walked on and was actually never in the 105 originally. They called me in because someone got hurt, or something. I ended up playing in every game my freshman year. It's nice to be a veteran now. I've learned a lot from guys like Jordan Carstens, Joe Woodley, and Kevin DeRonde. They really helped me come along as a young player, so I hope I can do that for some of the other young players here.

CN: Just how hungry are you to erase the memories of 2003?

Anderson: I've always felt like I wanted to win as bad as anybody, especially after last year. Being one of the seniors on this team, I really want to win as bad as anyone on this team. It comes with the territory. Last season was a shock to the system. Being able to come back, end it on a good note, and get some wins would be a good feeling.

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