What do you expect from the Buffalo defense?
Just as a unit, these guys come to play. I think they return 10 guys. So, they're not as young as the Miami of Ohio team was. I know their record is not as great as some of the teams we'll face this year, but as college football players you know you're never guaranteed a win on Saturday. I know they're thinking when they come to play anything can happen. That's why we have to watch out.
Looking at the tape from Week 1, what did you like about your performance and what would you like to change?
Physically my drops and sitting the pocket a little bit, I was drifting a little bit in the pocket. That's something that I need to work on in practice this week. As far as executing the game plan, our coaches to a great job preparing a game plan and I felt like we did a pretty good job of just staying within that and making the right checks at the line of scrimmage.
Did Fred Russell get you guys going with two nifty runs to start your first scoring drive on Saturday?
Yeah, and I think as a team we felt like we needed to respond being down 3-0 and not having a great first (drive). We felt calm. We just knew that we needed to go execute. Freddie is a great back. When there's holes, he gets through them. When there's not holes, he makes something out of nothing. Sometimes you need that to be done. He does a great job of doing both.
How much do you worry about spreading the ball around? Mo had seven catches and then I think the next guy had two. Do you want to improve on that?
We have guys that run certain routes that are sometimes more open than others. They just happened to give us Mo this week. I don't know if that was a great plan or not. We don't focus on one receiver. We have a progression every play. And Mo was the guy that was open. On the one that he caught over the middle for a first down on third-and-10, he was the third or fourth option on that play. He's good at getting open. That helps. When you drop back and he's finding open spots, he's going to get more catches.
Do you have pretty good chemistry with him?
There were a couple of plays where he and I kind of misread each other. We had good chemistry as far as working in the summer. Then he was kind of in and out of camp. I'm confident as we work together we'll get that back.
Did Miami take Ed Hinkel away?
Ed's job, he understands it. He has to go running every play like he's getting the ball. And a lot of times, it ends up pulling guys with him that gets somebody else open. He was giving me a little hard time after the game that he didn't get any catches. I asked him how many times he was open. He said "I didn't get open much." It wasn't because he wasn't running great routes. It was because for somebody else to be open we count on them guarding other people. On the touchdown catch that Mickens caught, there were two guys that went with Ed. That opened up Aaron with nobody around him. People look at that and they think that the receivers aren't running good routes or not getting seperation, and that's not always the case. A lot times our plays are designed for somebody else to be covered so that another guy can be open.
Did you develop a rapport with Ramon Ochoa last year with you guys running with the second team?
All three of those guys are real hard workers, in season and out of season, and committed to get out there and throwing every day. Razor is a great worker. He's got great hands. He's another guy that runs real good routes.
How do you keep people from outside the complex from influencing your ability to focus on Buffalo and not look ahead to Iowa State?
We feel that this a big week for improvement. We have some good things that we need to build upon. We have some mistakes that we need to correct. We understand that this is a huge week. There's no reason to look passed this weekend. We need to really go out and show that we learned from the good things and the bad things that we did in the first game.
Is that harder to do than say?
I don't think so. I think our team really is focused on this weekend. I don't feel like anybody is looking ahead. Maybe it's harder for people that aren't really excited about our opponent, but we are. We're excited about getting another chance to get another game under our belts. We don't take anything for granted. We know that we have to come and play our game.
Coach Ferentz pointed out that last Tuesday's practice didn't go as he would have liked. What happened to make him feel that way?
I'm not real sure what caused us to have a bad practice. It doesn't really matter. The fact is that we need to come and learn from that. We had two great practices after that Tuesday. We felt a little more focused. We really worked on our tempo. We really understood that that there was a game on Saturday that we needed to get ready for. It's concerning when you have a coach that's been in successful programs and he voices a concern with your practice because he knows what it takes to win. We felt like we needed to respond. We had two good days of practice and then a mental walk through on Friday. This week, we just need to have three good days of practice.
People see teams throwing for yards against you guys and think you're not doing your jobs as cornerbacks. Why is the pass efficiency defense the real statistic that counts?
That number tells the story. I mean anybody can go out and throw the ball all game. They're going to complete some passes and they're going to get some yards. But how efficient are they?
How much of the game plan calls for the corners to keep receivers in front of them?
That's very important. Once somebody gets behind you, it's probably a touchdown. If you let somebody catch a short route and you break back on it, it's not as bad. You can live with that.
How many times have you looked at your memorable hit from Saturday on tape?
I looked at it three times. It doesn't really mean nothing anymore. That game is over. Now we've got to focus on next week.
Is it hard not to look ahead to next week in Ames?
No. If you want to improve as a player, you go out week by week and do your best to focus on that week. If not, you're leaving chances for bad games or an upset.
Even if you guys are focused, people around the campus and state are ready for Iowa State. How do you fight that?
That's up to them. I can't control what they do. I know we're focused on preparing for this week.
What drives Jovon?
I don't know what drives him. But I'd like for him to continue it.
What did you think of his outfit after Saturday's game (red suit with red shoes)?
I liked it. Me, I like to be a little different than everybody else. And that's what that was.
Do you feel like some of the interceptions will be coming your way soon?
I feel like they're going to all of us eventually. It wasn't a coincidence that he got those interceptions. It's obvious that he knew what was going on and he works hard.
Have you changed your style over the years?
No. I think from punting when I came here as a freshman I've gotten more flexible and an understanding of the correct way to hit the ball.
How important is long snapper Kevin Worthy?
Being able to work with him the last three years and having some chemistry with him is great. If I didn't have someone like him back there, someone who is consistent and someone who I can rely on, then it would be tough for me to do my job.
You were a QB in high school. Can you still pass that ball?
Yeah, you never know. We'll see what happens in the future.
You've taken heat for your past struggles. Was the Big Ten award a kind of a reward for that?
Yeah, I believe so. Last year, I know I improved from my first year. Last year, I think that I was a lot better punter. There were some situations where I really didn't get a chance to put a leg into it because of our field position. I proved that (Saturday) that I do have a stronger leg. I'm more consistent and I'm ready.
Were you suprised to get the award and how did you find out about it?
I hadn't received any Big Ten honors yet so yeah I was a little bit surprised. But I did my job. When you do your job, you're rewards come. Coach Ferentz announced it in the team meeting.
Compared to two years ago, when you go to punt, how different are you mentally? Do you get nervous?
In certain situations. If I'm backed up near the end zone. But when you're standing on the sideline you just go through your reps and understand that this is what you do. You get one chance. In a way, I'm definitely more relaxed (than two years ago).
Did you ever doubt yourself when things weren't going well for you?
Sure you do. Just like in life, you've got to move on. When things go bad, the tough get tougher.
Have you changed your mental approach to help deal with being backed up in your own end?
You have to. Usually what I do is pick a spot out on the stadium in front of me and just say that I'm going to kick it to that. And just see where it goes.