Hawks Talk Michigan

The Iowa players rose up again after a tough loss last week in East Lansing. Read what Fred Russell, Nathan Chandler, Chris Smith, Nate Kaeding, Matt Roth, Robert Gallery, Ramon Ochoa, Bob Sanders and Jared Clauss had to say about Saturday's big homecoming victory against Michigan.


It looked like you guys came out with momentum in the second half.

We just have to feel them out. We've started off slow in every game that we played this year. We end up having like minus yards. Once we felt them out and made some adjustments, we got going.

You have back to back wins over Michigan now for only second time in school history.

Yeah. That's a nice feeling. Now I can go home...it's 50-50. We lost in Michigan. But we beat the big guys, so that's what counts.

Did you feel like you were wearing them down a little bit in the second half?

I just thought that we didn't get going in the first half. I just thought about last yeat how the running game got going in the second half. We just wore them down.

How big was that final drive that ended in the Ochoa touchdown?

That was real big. It took a lot of relief off of us. But then when them guys came back and scored, that had you biting your finger nails.

You had to be concerned when you were down 14-0.

Yeah. I got kind of nervous. But we just kept fighting, kept fighting. Like I said, I thought about last year and how we wore them down. That's what we did. We wore them down.

Were the play-actions confusing them?

The play-actions kill teams. They're so concerned about stopping the run. Little do they know that we've got other weapons.


Were you surprised that you were so open on those returns?

No. We practiced all week because we did have some miscues last week on returns. We practiced all week saying that there's no team that can stop us unless we mess up. The guys did a wonderful job blocking up.

For you personally, did this help erase a lot of the bad memories from last week?

Oh, I'll never forget last week. That's just the game. It did help, but that's still a loss in our column and you remember it for the whole year. To bounce back as a team and play a great Michigan team is just wonderful for us.


This is only the second time in history that Iowa has beaten Michigan two times in a row. You're a part of it.

We're just trying to get ready for the big games. Games don't get any bigger than Michigan. We came in ready to go today and pulled it out.

What we you guys thinking when the game started like last week's?

We just had to stay into it. Not giving up and looking forward and keeping things going and just have a positive attitude.

CHRIS SMITH: What did you make of that freaky punt formation?

I guess they've seen us on film coming. We do a pretty good job of getting the punt. I guess they were just watching film. It was a pretty good scheme. I pretty much got lucky in the one that I got to. I just ran in there when I had the chance. I kept tellimg my coach that I had a chance to get it. I just ran in there. When the punter tried to act like he was running out, he ran away from his blockers and I just ran to him. He tried to punt it, and I just put my hands up.

When you see the punter running, that are you thinking?

I thought they were going to fake. We kept thinking that he was going to run. They were just going to block and let him come around the corner. It was always like third and four, third and six. That's why we weren't coming at first.

Had you guys ever seen that before?

Nah. The last two weeks they've been coming out and punting and showing us something we've never seen before. That's a credit to our coach. Coach Wilson and everybody else on punt D. I guess we're doing a pretty good job if people are changing up their schemes to stop us.

Can you talk about the last couple of plays. You guys were in a three-deep, a man underneath. They really didn't have anywhere to throw it?

Yeah. That's what we were aiming for. We didn't want to see them throw one over our heads for a touchdown with three safeties back there. That's why it was put in there, to make the stops.

When did you know you were going to have the block?

When I saw him come around the edge and it was just me and him, I was like "I got a chance." Then I saw him turn his body to kick it. I just went and took the ball off of his foot. That's what we're taught every day. So I just went after it.


What was the reason for the slow start and how were you guys able to turn it around?

I had some problems lining up and adjusting. They were doing some different things. We got it corrected in the second half and came out and just played ball, emptied the tanks and got tha good win. We had trouble lining up at first. It was loud out there. Some of the calls were getting mumbled. We came out in the second half and we got those adjusted.

Did you wear them down?

Yeah. We definitely wore them down. Our defense, we fly around. So, in that second half that definitely plays to our advantage. Those big guys, they're going to wear down and they're going to get lazy and slower. We just pick it up in the fourth quarter. It has a lot to do with Doyle's conditioning. We just got after them in that second half.

Did you think 14-0 was too far back?

No. When our offense gets clicking, as you saw, they put up 30 points today. We just refuse to lose. The whole team bought into it. Once they got clicking, we got clicking. We said enough is enough and tried to limit their points. And the offense played great.


Coach said during the week that special teams were key. Did you guys take that to heart?

Yeah. It usually is when we're playing teams that are physically superior. When you look out there, they have the prototype receivers. 6-6. they run 4.4 40s and stuff like that. We have to pride ourselves in doing every little thing correctly. Whether that's punt, kickoff, every little thing we have to detail. That's hopefully going to make up for our disadvantage when it comes to physical ability.

Can you talk about back to back wins over Michigan for only the second time in school history?

It's pretty special. I can't really tell you how special it is, especially going into the bye week and coming off the loss against Michigan State. It was a tremendous win for our football team. I'm on a high right now. It's a pretty special game.

What was going through your head when you guys were down 14-0?

Every season there's point where you're going to go this way or you're going to go that way. It was kind of like at Penn State when they were coming back after we lost to Iowa State that way the week before. It was kind of the same thing here against Michigan where we had out backs against the wall. We came out there and we shifted the tide and got the momentum. Hopefully it can take us through the rest of the season.

Have you talked to Ramon about his game?

It's fun to see because Ramon is a great guy. He's a great story. He comes all the way from California. It makes it that much more special for a great person to do something like that.

How does this game rank with other games that you have played in your career?

It's up there. I can't think of one that's bigger, especially in the regular season. I grew up in Coralville on Saturday's listening to Keith Jackson and Brent Musberger and those guys doing games on ABC. Going into this game I took a couple of minutes to realize just how special this really was. This is really just an opportunity to live my dream as a little kid. I can't tell you how big this is in my career to have a performance like this in this kind of situation.

What was the celebration like?

It was pretty special. Tom Arnold came in (the locker room). Once Hayden made his way down, he made a real nice speech. It was a historic day and a real sentimental day for everybody.

Was this more of an Iowa win?

Exactly. We only had one turnover. We played excellent on special teams. We made a lot of big plays there. We squeezed it out on defense.


Where you worried about the slow start?

Things weren't going our way, but we knew we had to keep pounding. We knew at sme point that things would go our way. That's just the way our team is. We don't give up. We might not have the most explosive offense to start out with,but we know if we keep after it things are going to go our way.

Do you let it go through your head where this team might be without all of the injuries?

You might think about that for a second, but in college football you can't dwell on that. Guys are going to get hurt. Things are not going to go your way. You've got to play with what you've got. It doesn't do any good to think about what if somebody wasn't hurt because they can't play.

Is this a good time for the bye?

Yeah, I think it's a great time. It's halfway through the season at a point where we can get some key guys back that have been injured hopefully. It's a a good break between this game and Ohio State. A big game today, get a little break and get ready to go against the Buckeyes.

Are you guys up there in the class of the Big Ten with Michigan?

I don't think anybody will ever say that. But we as a team believe we are. We believe that we can play with anybody. Michigan is known for a great program and tradition and all of that. But we're building that here and we believe if we do things right we can beat any team in the country.


Should you guys be mentioned up there with the top teams in the Big Ten like the Michigan and the Ohio States?

You guys saw last week. We didn't take care of business. So, it's way too early for that. Coach Ferentz has stressed that we're in a key part of our schedule in the Big Ten. We get some things corrected this off week and get some guys healthy, it's Buckeye time and time to get ready for them.

Did you guys wear their O-line down?

I think we were just getting more comfortable with their schemes. They were keeping six and seven guys in. With Navarre, that's eight. We did blitz a lot today. But when we were in our base defense and rushing four guys against seven or eight, it's tough.

How key was it to take away they run?

Yeah. They had been talking all week about they were going to come in and run the ball well. That's our biggest priority on defense. Stop that and make them throw it. Teams are going to get yards. Teams are going to get yards when they throw the ball every play. Our defensive backs did a great job in that second half of keeping the guys in front of them and locking them down.


Did the offense take a step forward today? You said you took a step back last week.

That puts us right back where we were, huh? Yeah, I think today we executed our game plan for a full 60 minutes. There's a lot that's involved in that. There's running the clock out at the end. There's throwing the ball when you need to. Running it when you need to.

Are you settling in with these receivers now?

You spend time getting ready with a couple of guys and then they're gone. You have some new guys. It's hard to just right there in the moment make the transition. But these guys, they're great talent. That's why we got them here. They're really stepping up big time. We're going to get my brother a completion here eventually.

Was there a point when you realize the offense was clicking?

During the week in practice. We worked to hard during the week to just give up when we got down 14 points. We weren't going to just lay down for them. We got down 14-0. We stayed with the game plan. We just kept chugging away and it worked out for us.

You hit some boo birds after the first few three and outs. What goes through your mind during something like that?

We deserved to be booed. Three straight three and outs, we weren't looking good at that point. It's frustrating for the players as well. That's not our goal. We want to go out there and move the ball.

Can you talk about the touchdown to Calvin Davis?

That's actually a play that we drilled all week. We really thought that we were going to get it to the other side. They ran a little different coverage. I actually that that I was going to get Jensen in the flat. I thought that they were going to leave him all alone. Instead, three guys jumped him and Calvin did a great job of just sticking with his route. It's not quite like you draw it up. It took a little time but was wide open in the back.


Should you guys be mentioned up the there with the Michigans and the Ohio States?

I don't think that it really matters at this point. I think it will matter once November comes around. It's a lot harder to be ranked real high and then stay ranked real high.

Do you feel like you guys are respected?

Somewhat. But I think this game no one gave us a chance. Everybody pretty much said that we weren't going to win. They chose Michigan to beat us. But we expected that. It's just a better feeling when people feel that way because then you go in and show them you can do the job.

Where does this rank among the victories you've experienced at Iowa?

It's one of the best because to come in and win like this with those guys ranked the way they are. They have a great team.

How does you body feel?

I feel pretty good. I'm really excited because I was able to make it through a full game and be able to help the team out.

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