Hawks Talk: Bye Week

The bye week came at just the right time for a Hawkeye team resembling a M*A*S*H unit. Iowa players ran through a non-contact workout on Tuesday and a few selected Hawks visited with the media before hitting the showers. Read what they had to say about injuries, the upcoming showdown with Ohio State and how they'll spend their free Saturday.

RAMON OCHOA:

What were the sidelines like down 14-0?

It was more like shock because we knew we came in prepared to play. We just couldn't get anything going. I didn't see a letdown in anyone. We never did give up.

How did you guys feel on Sunday after a pretty physical game?

It was physical. Like every Sunday, you're sore from playing a tough game. It's going to be like this for the next six games. All the rest of the teams we play are pretty tough.

How are you guys handling the bye week?

This is going to benefit us, I guess, because having a couple of players out it's going to help them recuperate better. Every team is banged up in the country now, so having a bye week in the middle of the season is good for us.

Is it good to think about Ohio State for two weeks?

We're not thinking Ohio State yet.

Seriously?

Well, we're thinking about them, but we're not preparing for them yet. We're going to take care of business right now and try to work Iowa versus Iowa. We'll try to make ourselves better. At the end of the week, we'll start on Ohio State.

How do you focus for this game? A lot of the attention last year was that this was the game that should have been played but wasn't.

It's two different teams. We were a different team last year and they're a different team this year. We're both good teams. We're just going to have to play our 2003 Hawks against their 2003 Buckeyes. It's going to be a tough game. We're looking for the Big Ten Championship so we're not going to go into their house, they're the national champions, and let down. We're going to be up for it.

Do you expect to have your good friend Mo back out there with you?

I hope so. I don't know what's going on there. I don't know when he's back. It was scheduled for Ohio State, so if he's back, awesome.

BOB SANDERS:

How were Norm and Phil in the locker room at halftime of the Michigan game?

They were fine. They knew that all we had to do was correct our mistakes. We knew what they were going to come out and do. You have to be calm. You can't overreact and flip out.

Do you think you'll be completely healthy by the end of the season?

I can't really say that. I don't know how exactly things will turn out. I'll be sore, but I'll keep pushing and keep going.

Are you guys working on ways to start faster?

That's been our focus from the beginning of the year. It's to go out and start fast and finish strong. But sometimes you end up not starting the way you planned on. As long as we finish strong every game, we're going to keep coming out and trying to start fast.

Is it good to have a couple of weeks to think about playing the defending national champions?

We're not going to start preparing for them right away. We're going to move slowly into it. We're going to do things regular. We're going to do the same thing. We're not going to change anything.

Will this week make a big difference for you health wise?

It will help me. I don't think it will hurt. I think it will help me sort of get back into things and rest a little bit here and there.

How frustrating is it for you having to play through pain?

It's something I'be been used to. It's something I've been doing since I was a freshman. It really doesn't bother me. As long as everything is stable and you know you're not going to injure yourself any more, I don't mind playing through pain.

How are you going to spend your Saturday off?

I don't know. Maybe watch some games. Just chilling out.

Is this a chance to talk to some of the people outside of football that maybe you don't usually?

Not really. Usually after the game you have a bunch of time to do whatever you want to do. It will be the same. Nothing will change. It's just we'll have a few more hours to just chill out. We won't have anything to do.

GRANT STEEN:

Does it help to have two weeks between Michigan and Ohio State?

The fact that we haven't played Ohio State for a couple of years might help out just to get some of these younger guys used to what they do. It's not real complicated. I'm sure they know that. Everybody knows that they're going to try three yards and a cloud of dust. Just like they did back in the day, that's how they're still doing it.

Do you remember playing against them?

Yeah. It was a shellacking out here in Kinnick. They just had more talent and ability. We were still pretty young in the system. It was tough, but I think we've got that straightened out now.

Do you like having them on the schedule?

Oh definitely. They're the returning co-champs. We didn't get a chance to have a true champion last year. That will be in our minds and I'm sure it's on their minds too. We've got a little something extra to settle besides the 2003 season.

Are teams doing different things than you guys are seeing on film?

A little. You kind of get a good feel for a team and what they've been doing and then they come out and they make adjustments, just little things that you're not really expecting. We've just got to be ready for anything instead of keying on their tendencies from the previous games.

So are teams adjusting to what you guys do on defense?

I mean I think so. I don't know what the other coaches have been saying, but I feel that they're doing some stuff to try to exploit some of our weaknesses.

Is their adjusting to you a sign of respect?

I think that teams give up on the run a lot more. I was expecting Michigan to just keep grinding it. But they threw, what, 50 passes? It's tough. You want to get in there and bang heads. But when you're forcing them out of the run, you're doing a good job of making them one-dimensional. So, that's good for us.

Do you think the Buckeyes will throw it 50 times?

I doubt it.

Would you like that?

No. We want a nice, physical game. That's what they want. That's what we're looking for too.

What are the big plans back in Emmetsburg this weekend?

I'll watch the game (Friday) and probably come back here Saturday afternoon. I'll just go home and relax more or less, maybe golf a little bit.

NATHAN CHANDLER:

How do you approach the bye week?

We'll take it this year. Last year, we were healthy and on a roll at this point. This year, we're banged up pretty bad. We're going to be getting some guys back throughout this week. Even the guys that have been playing get their legs back under them. We take the beginning of the week and focus on fundamentals, just get back to the basics. Toward the end of the week we start focusing on Ohio State and getting a couple of extra days of rest.

Do you feel like you'll have Mo back?

I don't know. As a quarterback, I kind of prepare not to have him. Then it's great if we get him. I have confidence in the guys behind him. They stepped up last week. We've really been impressed with how they've come to play.

Is he chomping at the bit to get back out there?

Yeah. He was pretty down before the Michigan game. He really wanted to be a part of that game. But this is another big game, another chance, and he's got a little bit more time to get back for it.

Are you guys glad that Ohio State is on the schedule?

Yeah. We welcome every challenge that's in front of us. In the Big Ten there's not many easy games anyway. But Ohio State presents a challenge, and we're looking forward to it.

Are you going to take some extra time to watch some film on them?

Yeah. Usually we start on the Tuesday before the game, but we'll start at the end of this week. We'll get extra days in and hopefully it will pay off for us.

Do you take some time this week to get away from football?

I kind of enjoy football. So I'll probably watch some of the games on TV. I'll might go buy some winter clothes and do all the stuff you don't normally have time for. You know, get your car oiled and lubed.

Will you hang out with your brother?

Yeah. He's got the freshman life. He's going to school all of the time. But on the weekends we hang out a lot.

What's it like having him up here?

It's great. Being five years different, we never really hung out much even when I was in high school. Having him here and having him be kind of on the same social level for the first time in our lives, it's great to just take him around and hang out with him.

You being here, was that a big reason he came here?

When he started looking at schools, Iowa probably wouldn't have been one that entered his mind down in Texas. Having me here kind of made it an option for him. We didn't take him just because he was my brother. He went to the camp here and he tore it up and earned that. I didn't want to influence him too much because I was only going to be here for one year. But I told him what I felt about the place, the atmosphere, the fan support, the coaching staff, the character of the team. I wanted him here bad. I tried to stay out of it as much as I could. It's just a great opportunity to get him up here and spend some time together.


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