Young Guns: Merrick and Shada Talk Michigan State

In some ways, youth was served on Saturday for the Iowa Hawkeyes, as sophomore Miguel Merrick made his first career start at strong safety. True frosh Adam Shada saw action with the first team when Iowa went to its nickel and dime packages. Merrick and Shada talk about their experiences from the game against Michigan State...

Adam Shada

Should we get used to seeing more of the dime/nickel coverages?

With those coverages, it is usually situational. If the situation dictates that we should use it, we will. Obviously, on 4th and 1 you are not going to use the dime. But, you can use it alot.

When you step on the field each time, is it a case of ‘one more chance to learn'?

Yeah, I guess. I think it is just one more time to execute. If I make a play, that is what I am supposed to do. Overall, it just makes me play better the more downs I see. However, when you don't make the reads and plays you have to learn from the mistakes.

Did you know you were going to get on the field that much?

I was not expecting too much time, but I just prepared as if I would be out there.

Is that the first time you have been involved in a dime coverage?

No, I was in on it against Arizona State. However, in HS we stayed pretty standard.

Did the scouting report dictate that they were going to be passing?

Yes, it did. It showed they run a lot of an empty set and four receiver sets. So we were expecting to put more DB's out there on 3rd and long as well as many other situations.

So, in other words, this was not just a game situation being dictated on the go?

It was more a game time type of thing. When you get down by a bunch you usually pass the ball to get back in. That was more of a game time deal than what we saw on type, obviously.

Miguel Merrick

Was it something from the scouting report that had you guys playing in five and six DB sets?

Yes, definitely. If you can remember from last year they came out in the first quarter with empty and 4 wide receiver sets. We knew that is what they were going to try and do again, given the small amount of success they had against us last year. It would be foolish of them not to try something that worked. But we were better prepared and stepped up to the challenge.

You were showing up to the line of scrimmage more than usual. What was that attributed to?

It is just me going through my reads and seeing run. That is the strong safety's job, baby, to hit people when you need to. If they run and you read it, you have to make that play because the corners are locked up with the receivers and usually are not as quick to read it as you are. Bob Sanders made a name by doing that.

Today was your first start, how does that feel?

It is one of the greatest feelings in the world. When you come to the University of Iowa you want to start. I got my chance and I just wanted to do the best I can do.

Do you buy into that whole 'next man in' thing?

I do not want to be the one to let the team down. My role this week was to step into Sean's (Considine) spot and help the defense.

What kind of advice did Sean give you before the game?

He just came up to me and said relax and go out there doing what you know how to do. Then Coach Parker came up to before the game and told me to go out there and have fun. That right there made me relax and get ready to go after it.

Did you have a little bit of the Bob Sanders' mentality in you today? Did you pick up anything from him being here with you the last couple of years?

I was his roommate last year. That is Hawkeye football right there. Bob Sanders came out and wanted to hurt people, that is breaking the rock baby. You gotta be ready to go around and plant guys.

What did the secondary have to do differently today than normal?

They came out and wanted to pass the ball. Our goal was just to defend, knock down, and tackle if we have to (laughs). It is not fun.

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