Quotebook: Offensive Players

IOWA CITY -- Players on the Iowa offensive discuss their season-opening victory against Miami (Ohio). Read comments from first-time starting quarterback Nathan Chandler, receiver Mo Brown, running back Fred Russell, true freshman fullback Champ Davis and starting fullback Edgar Cervantes, who was relegated to special teams on Saturday.

QB NATHAN CHANDLER:

What did you think about your first start?

It was exciting. After the two-a-days and the camp we had, it wasn't nearly as hard as the practices.

Can you talk about the touchdown passes?

My first one (to FB Aaron Mickens) that was about our third option. I went through the first two guys and Mick just opened up out there. It was pretty easy. I just kind of dumped it to him. The second one was the play that we ran when I fumbled. We felt like if we waited a little bit longer, it would open up. The next time, I waited longer and it opened up and Mo was wide open.

You had some guys draped on you didn't you?

I think so. I'll have to watch the film.

Did you want to run on that one?

I was wanting Mo to open up. I felt like once he got passed the safety that he'd be there. I was trying to buy some time. That's a three-step drop. That's not a lot of protection. They did a good job of holding them off.

Were you any extra cautious out there today?

No. We went out and we tried to drive the ball. We had to be smart. There were a couple of times where we were backed up against our own end zone. When you're in that situation, we want to just make sure we get it out, first of all. We played with what we had.

Does it feel good to get this game under your belt?

Yeah. A win is a win. It's good to be 1-0. Miami is a good team. We're excited to be 1-0.

Did you feel any pressure coming in? There is a lot of talk that you have to replace (Brad) Banks.

You put pressure on yourself. You want to perform well. And you want to win. More than anything else, we just wanted to be competitive and give it our best. You can live with the results.

Can you talk about your ability to buy time in the pocket?

We had a great pocket today. I probably had happy feet early on.

What do you need to improve on for next week?

That was probably the main thing. I was running out of the pocket a few times when I could have hung in there. Our line was doing a great job today. I have to have faith in those guys. They did really well. I had a lot of time back there. I just need to make use of it.

How would you describe your style as a quarterback?

As a quarterback, I'm a competitor. I don't know what I'm going to end up doing in a game. I don't know if it's going to be drop-back passes or sprints or nakeds. We did a little bit of everything today. But I've got great teammates around me. As a competitor, I just want to make use of those guys. Those great athletes and the offensive line doing their job, we can move the ball.

What was the difference between playing at Kinnick and at Passadena City College?

Well, there was about 50,000 more people.

What did this do for your psyche?

I don't have to carry this team. I just have to go out there and do my job. That's what the coaches have been stressing. We've got a good team to work with.

Was there a time when you felt like things started to click?

Yeah, the second drive. That's what we are all about as a team. We were running it well. We were executing the pass plays well. We got away from that a little bit, and then there were glimpses. We were backed up in our own end zone a couple of times. In the second half, as the game went on, I just felt like as an offense we just got more and more comfortable. I'm excited to keep this rolling against Buffalo next week.

Other than the win, what did you like most about your first game?

Personally, as a team, I felt like we came together today. It was kind of an up-and-down game. But through those ups and downs, our team came together. It was just great unity. It was awesome.

Some people might say that you outplayed Roethlisberger today. How would you respond to that?

I don't know. He went against a great defense. I know that feels because I was against them in camp. It was awesome to have those guys hold them to three points. We'll win a lot of games if they continue to do that. FB Edgar Cervantes:

Are you nicked up? Is that why you didn't play on offense today?

No. It was just some other stuff. I missed a couple of practices. But the other guys stepped up out there, Champ (Davis) and Aaron Mickens did a great job out there.

So it wasn't an injury that kept you out? It was something else?

Yeah, I just missed a couple of practices.

Was the special teams' duty a way to get back in good graces?

I didn't play a snap at fullback. The special teams are my roots. That's where it all started.

How do you think your replacements did?

I thought they did a very good job. Champ played like a veteran out there.

What do you have to do to get back in the lineup?

I'll be back this week.

So it's all done?

Oh yeah, I'll be back this week. FB CHAMP DAVIS:

What was that like for a true freshman to start his first game at Iowa?

I loved it. To hear the fans cheering and hearing the fight song, I really liked that. I was nervous, but it was a good nervous.

When did you find out you were starting?

(Friday night) in positions meetings I found out. I had to adjust quick. I had to get my mind right.

What went through your mind?

I've got to stick my nose in that play book to make sure I know what I'm doing out there. With us young guys, there kind of almost looking for us to make mistakes. But just because we're inexperienced, that's not an excuse to make mistakes.

How would you evaluate your performance?

I thought I picked up the blitzes pretty well. I need to get lower to make sure that I make that first contact and drive my legs. I need to get under defensive guys' pads.

Did you think you would be playing fullback when you got here?

I really was not totally positive of what I was going to be playing when I came here. I played a little bit of fullback in high school. So when they put me at fullback, I kind of knew what to expect from the position. I was really just hoping for an opportunity.

Did you want to play right away?

Yeah. I did think that I wanted to help the team out in any way that I could.

Do you think you'll stay at fullback?

I really couldn't tell you. After I get done with Coach Doyle, I might be something completely different. I've been at fullback since I got here, and that's where I'm going to be for the rest of this season. So, I'm going to concentrate on that and go from there. WR MO BROWN

How was the offensive tempo today?

It's the first game. It's high tempo. It's game time. It's always high tempo. We were at the right pace all day. I mean, our tempo could be better, but it was pretty high.

What did you see on your touchdown reception?

I didn't think that (Iowa quarterback Nathan Chandler) was going to throw it. But he put it up there and it got in the end zone. It was a simple slant play. It took a little longer than usual. That was the route.

What did the ball look like coming at you?

It was floating, but it came down in my hands. That's the good thing.

How bad is the pain in your back?

Right now, I'm not playing with too much pain. But in preseason camp, there were times when I could barely walk. I'm fine now.

Has that affected your conditioning at all?

No. I got conditioning this week.

How much practice did you miss?

I missed a lot. Through camp I probably practiced about four or five practices. That was it.

What are they calling your back injury?

They don't really know.

What did you think of Nathan's ability to improvise?

That's all about being a new quarterback playng in your first start. There's going to be some rough times, but he's a leader. And he led us to victory.

Did he seem in control out there?

He was in control. As the game went on, he gained more control. He talked to us a bit more. That was a good sign.

Was he quiet at the beginning?

Yeah, he was pretty quiet at the beginning, but as we went on he pumped us up. He told us what we needed to do - "You've got to get into the end zone" and stuff like that.

How much did he follow the play book?

Overall, he did pretty good. We had a couple of miscommunications, but that's his first start. RB FRED RUSSELL:

You got caught twice from behind. What happened?

The guy is fast. It's a little bit different when you've got the ball in your hands running because you're not using the full form of running. I seen that I had run past one guy, but I kept in the back of my head that they had a guy that ran a 4.28 (40).

So you knew that Darrell Hunter ran that fast?

Yeah, I knew of him because of the scouting report. Then we watched him on film. He looked real fast.

Did you feel him coming?

What it was is that you don't want to make a long run and have somebody hit you from behind and then fumble. My main thing was just to hold on to the ball. The second time, my main thing was to stay inbounds because I ran out against Penn State and that cost us some time.

You hadn't been hit since Jan. 2. What did the first hit feel like?

It took me until the middle of the second quarter before I felt right. Once you see me out there smiling and having fun, then that's when I'm feeling comfortable out there.


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