How have you been able to overcome slow starts?
Through your career, you develop confidence that no matter how it starts, if you just keep chugging away, things can get turned around. I have that confidence when I look around the huddle at my teammates. With that said, it's not something that you want to make a habit of. There are a lot of things that we're going to look at this week in practice and try to get straightened out, especially with the beginning of the games.
At the beginning of the season, I guess there was a question, at least in the public, that Drew Tate was on your heels. It seems like it's your team now. Does that go into your thinking at all?
There is a certain amount of security that helps you when you go out there and try to make big plays. And when bad plays happen, you don't have to worry about being safe or whatever with your throws. But a big part of our offense is just taking care of the ball. That's something that I definitely want to get fixed this week in practice.
Are you excited about the possibility of having Mo back?
Yeah. When you look at our team, maybe Ramon Ochoa is a guy that you guard against, think about doubling or something like that. With Mo coming back, people can't focus on Ramon. I worked with Mo on Sunday, and he's really coming along. We're excited about getting him back out there.
Coach said that he's going to bring him along slowly. Are you wishing that he would just let him play the whole four quarters?
I don't know how we're going to use him this week. The one thing that we don't want to have is Mo to come back early and get re-injured. We'll use him in whatever we're able to this week and just hope to build on that every week.
Do you need to get reacquainted with him?
Mo is the type of receiver where basically anybody can go out there and throw him the ball and he'll make you look good. So, there's not as much of that with him just because of the ability he brings.
What did you guys work on this Sunday?
The stuff that he's really holding back on is the cutting. He can run straight. That's never a problem with injury. He was running hook routes and comebacks. He looks great. I don't know how he felt the next day. But he looked good to me.
Is that all he needs to do, just be there?
He could have been there the last couple of weeks. We need him to play at a high level. Otherwise, we've got guys that can do that for us. Whatever capacity we're able to get him back in this week, we're still going to have a lot of the guys that stepped up in past weeks. They're still going to need to come through for us.
Is it kind of strange to look at your wide receiver depth chart every week and not know who's going to be on there?
Yeah. We've had a lot of guys step in there. We're happy with the way it worked out for us. A lot of guys...Calvin Davis has just gotten better every week. Ramon Ochoa is a guy that we expected to make plays this year, and we've actually relied on him very heavily. He's come through for us.
Have the injuries at WR and on the OL hurt your development as a player?
I haven't progressed the way that I had hoped to, but I don't see that being on other players. That's just something that I maybe need to focus on, especially this week in practice. After a victory like Penn State, which was a big game for us, obviously there are some things that I can clean up. This is a good week for me to do that.
What kind of things have you seen in your game that makes you say that you haven't progressed like you wanted to?
Obviously, you're always striving for the perfect game. That's probably not going to happen. But I'd like to be getting closer and closer to that. This past week, individually, I wasn't stepping toward that direction. The great thing is that we came out with a win. And that is the main objective of every position on the team is to be good enough to win. I just hope to kind of get back on track and start working toward getting closer to that perfect game.
When you're the quarterback, do you feel like you're kind of running for office?
On media day, I guess you feel like you're kind of running for office. You get to give the same answers over and over again. You smile a lot. I think there are two grades for a quarterback: There's good enough and not good enough. So, you either come out and you won and you were good enough, or you lost and you weren't good enough. It doesn't matter what other stats you have. With that said, when you go into a week of practice, whether you were good enough or not good enough, you're always trying to get better. What's great is when you were good enough and you still have a lot of things to work on. And I think was the case this weekend.
Is the confidence there when you guys are behind?
After that Michigan game, the confidence is there a lot.
How did you feel on Sunday?
I felt sore. But I'm feeling real good today.
Can you see where this offense has improved?
You can tell that Coach Ferentz and the coaching staff do a real good job in keeping players prepared because a lot of younger guys are stepping up.
Is there something wrong with the Iowa offense?
I feel that we can do a lot better. But it just comes with practice and us gelling together.
How do you guys keep from overlooking a 1-8 team?
Think about how we were like 1-8 and 3-8 and whatever else two or three years ago. A lot of us older guys know how it feels to be on the bottom.
Will you express that to the younger guys?
Yeah. We'll express that to them if we feel like they're not getting the job done. It's not a fluke. Look at what happened to Wisconsin last week when they were playing Northwestern?
Are you kind of glad that Jon Beutjer's not playing in this game so you guys can avoid the circus?
No. I had talked to Jon a few weeks ago. I was looking forward to him playing in the game. I haven't talked to him since they announced that he's out for the season. But, I'll give him a call sometime soon.
Do you feel sorry for him a little bit?
Yeah, I do. I know that he was probably looking forward to this game.
Are you amazed with how many tackles you're getting?
It feels great knowing on Saturdays that we played well. And playing well is getting a lot of tackles and winning. Getting a lot of tackles and losing, that's not my game.
People talk about you and Abdul as being first-team, all-Big Ten candidates. Do you buy that?
I really don't have any thoughts on that, I guess. We've been playing fairly decent, but we need to be more consistent every week. We need to be a little better with our mental aspect of the game.
Do you guys feed off of each other?
We're just trying to be competitive. If we're competitive as a defense and try to get to the ball and run to the ball as fast as we can, we're all going to be making plays.
Was it good for you guys to see Wisconsin go down again Northwestern with Illinois coming in here?
Yeah. Illinois has had a bunch of injuries similar to us. They're going to be a team like us, coming in with some replacements. You have to be ready for that and who's coming into the game.
Is it hard not to look at the 1-8 and be a little overconfident?
In the Big Ten, you can't really look at that. Every team is good. Any team can beat you.
In a way, is it easier not to have to deal with the Beutjer distraction?
I don't think we'd see it as a distraction. I think our team is good enough that we can just get past that and just look at the game. They're a good enough team where we don't have to worry about Beutjer. We have to worry about their offense and how many points they can score.
Would it have been more motivation having him playing?
I don't think it really would have affected (the situation).